My posts may contain Amazon Affiliate links, if you buy something through these links it doesn't cost you anything, but I may make a small commission which helps to keep this site up and running.

27 May 2020

Book Review: Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart

I got Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart in a Fairyloot box years ago, and for Reasons (yeah, idk either) I didn't pick it up. Even though it sounds right up my street and I've recommended it to people.

When my original read for Medievalathon's duology prompt fell through, Grace & Fury is what I turned to. And wow. It blew me away.

Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart coverAdd to Goodreads button
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace - someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Amazon UK | Amazon US

Source: Purchase, Fairyloot

5 Word Review: Family, loyalty, survival, manipulation, rebellion.


Content warnings: Gore, violence, threat of sexual assault.

I have no idea why I waited so long to pick up Grace & Fury, but now I'm pretty furious at myself. Because it was absolutely excellent. And I can't believe it took Medievalathon for me to pick up.

From the very first lines, I was addicted to this book. I couldn't put it down. I sat and read all day, I needed to know what was going to happen.

When it comes to the characters, I am very much team Serina. She is an EXCELLENT example of how strength is not always physical. She is smart, and calculating, and although she has been trained her whole life to submit to men and authority and the perfect Grace, she had a backbone of steel. She was absolutely my favourite character, and it hurt to see her life shattered.

Nomi? Well. She's selfish and dangerous. She doesn't think about the wider picture, or what the consequences of her actions would be. She is so frustrating. And even at the end, when she starts to wake up properly to reality, I'm still not a fan. For all that Serina thinks that Nomi is smart and tough, she really isn't. That award goes to Serina, who thinks so little of herself.

I loved the exploration of society through fashion and customs. It was subtle, but it helped build the world so well. I loved the descriptions of clothing, from gowns to rags. Everything felt so much more real.

There is some excellent court intrigue and all sorts of plotting. I loved the hope in the story, how Serina and Nomi kept fighting because of that shred of hope, a distant what if.

I just... This book. It's amazing and I loved it, even if I didn't like all of the characters. If anything, I loved it more for that.


What was the last fantasy you read?


25 May 2020

Book Review: Claiming Her Billion-Dollar Birthright by Maureen Child

Back in March I was pretty ill, just out of hospital, and feeling very sorry for myself. While I was browsing the Mills and Boon website I stumbled across the Dynasties bind ups, and I couldn't resist the sound of them. So I put the first one, The Jarrods, in my basket.

Claiming Her Billion-Dollar Birthright by Maureen Child is a gorgeous read with one of my all time favourite romance tropes. It's a young women finding herself and falling in love in a gorgeous, remote, luxury resort. Pure escapism.

Dynasties: The Jarrods: Claiming Her Billion-Dollar Birthright by Maureen Child cover
Add to Goodreads button
The revelation turned Erica Prentice's world upside down - by birth, she belonged to a wealthy Colorado dynasty and her real father had left her a fortune. And the Jarrod family attorney, Christian Hanford, was there to show her the ropes.

As Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome escorted her around Aspen, Erica was in for a second shock - her fiery attraction to the strictly off-limits attorney.

Fraternizing with the Jarrod heiress could get Christian fired.

Which would she choose: duty to her family dynasty... Or desire for a dynamic bachelor?


Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, responsibility, honesty, passion, love.

You know when you pick up a book and it's exactly what you need? This was exactly what I needed.

I read this book in the garden, in the shade of a blossom tree, drinking sparkling grape juice from a champagne flute. Something about this book just called for relaxation and a touch of extravagance.

Reading Claiming Her Billion-Dollar Birthright, I wanted so badly to be at Jarrod Ridge. It sounds incredible, the descriptions of it pretty much took my breath away. The views, the resort itself, the food and drink. Urgh, can I go there please and thank you.

The Jarrod family very quickly worked their way in to my heart - I think my favourite of the family was Melissa, she's just so genuinely lovely and good and a decent human. Erica is very much out of place, and Melissa makes her feel so welcoming. Such wholesome.

I really liked the relationship between Erica and Christian. I liked the mutual respect and the back-and-forth and the build up of passion. I loved the little misunderstandings and the way they wanted to hold back but found it impossible. This is a fiery romance, and totally addictive.

Each book in the series, and the anthology, can absolutely be read as a standalone even as it follows the family.

I absolutely loved the first story in Dynasties: The Jarrods, and I will absolutely read on. I can't wait to find out what's in store for the rest of the family.

Dynasties: The Jarrods: Claiming Her Billion-Dollar Birthright by Maureen Child mood board


What's your favourite romance trope?


22 May 2020

Book Beginnings: Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart

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 Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart.
Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart cover
Serina Tessaro stood on the steps of the fountain in Lano's central piazza flanked by nine other girls her age, all in their finest gowns.
I got this book in a Fairyloot box years ago, and even though it sounds right up my street I just haven't picked it up yet. This is standing in for Song of Sorrow for Medievalathon to fulfil the duology prompt.

I've only read the first chapter so far, but it's off to a strong start. I like the slow glimpses of the world as it builds around us, and it's got me pretty excited for what is to come. I love the writing style too.

I love the cover for Grace & Fury, the fiery tones of the figure, the delicate details. It's pretty stunning. My hardback is very pretty under the dust jacket too.

It took far less time to get dressed when there weren't corsets, endless rows of buttons, fragile lace, or high heels to contend with.
This is from page 56 in my finished hardback copy.

This line hits. Like, BAM.

I can't wait to get this far, although in picking out this quote I think I've spoiled it for myself a little. Regardless, I can't wait to see what takes Serina to this place.


What are you reading this week?

20 May 2020

I Listened to the Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Audiobook

Earlier this month, the news broke that there would be a brand new Percy Jackson adaptation. And I am excited. I read the series as an older teen years ago and I really enjoyed them. They were exciting and friendly and exhilarating and addictive. I know I reread them in my early twenties too.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief coverAdd to Goodreads button
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God. I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That's when things started really going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends, and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I've stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

Can Percy find the lightning bolt before a fully-fledged war of the Gods erupts?


Source: Library | Purchase

5 Word Review: Power, secrets, bravery, friendship, family.

Content warnings: domestic abuse

I got rid of most of my books over the years, but I still have a copy of the first one because nostalgia. I decided that now was the perfect time to jump back in. I was having a bit of a bad time with my brain when it came to reading, so I hit up a digital library and got the audiobook out.

The audiobook is about ten hours long and is narrated by Jesse Bernstein. I think they did a wonderful job. I listened at 2x speed (it's a processing thing, any slower and I can't take it in) so it was a nice way to pass a couple of afternoons when I wasn't up to much else.

I think more than anything I enjoyed the nostalgia of my listen. It still holds up amazingly well, the story is pretty timeless. I love it when a book I loved when I was younger isn't dated by the details.

I love the exploration of family and friendship in this book. There is a lot of self discovery, and a lot of that revolves around the discovery that friendship isn't always what you think it is, and that things change. I love the themes of loyalty and sacrifice and support.

I'm now super excited for the new adaptation, and I'm going to continue on my audiobook journey.


Have you read any of the Percy Jackson books?


18 May 2020

Book Review: A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes

Back in March I was pretty ill, just out of hospital, and feeling very sorry for myself. I put out a shout on Twitter asking for historical romance recommendations from Mills & Boon and this was one that came up.

And I'm so glad it did, because A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes was perfection. It honestly ticked all of my boxes and is one I will reread again and again.

A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes coverAdd to Goodreads button
Lost in the Highlands... Found by the laird!

Far from her home in France, Marguerite Vallon escapes her arranged marriage to a man she despises. 

Stowing away in a stranger's cart, she finds herself headed deep into the Highlands with Ewan Lochmore, the new Earl of Glenarris! Ewan vows to protect her.

But maybe the freedom Marguerite has been searching for can be found with this rugged warrior...


Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, responsibility, honesty, passion, love.


Content Warning: Thread of sexual assault.

This was such an excellent slowburn historical romance. It took so long for them to even kiss and it was exquisite. Honestly a pretty perfect historical romance. The build up had me rooting for the characters and falling for them even as they fell for each other.

I loved the writing style itself, the lush descriptions of everything from gowns to mountains, castles to glens. Even the weather came alive as I was reading, and I felt cold and damp under a blanket. 

There are excellent villains too, in the rival McCrieff clan, which were very multifaceted. It's not just a bad man doing bad things, there's depth to the villainy. It was unexpected and very much appreciated.

There was a thread of mystery that wasn't resolved, and I did find that a bit frustrating. Not to give any spoilers, but I wanted to know the secret of why something happened, and it was never revealed. It just... Seemed forgotten about. I can forgive this however as the characters themselves were pretty frustrated at it too! It's not enough for me to knock stars off, and this was a five star historical romance.

I loved the epilogue at the end, seeing how things had progressed for the characters. Often epilogues in romances have me rolling my eyes, but this one had me smiling. I was so invested in Ewan and Maggie that I grinned like a Cheshire Cat reading it.

A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes is a fantastic historical romance, I read it at exactly the right time for me, and it was a bit like a tonic. I felt better just for reading it, and I couldn't put it down.


What's your favourite historical romance?

Book and a bath, A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes

15 May 2020

Book Beginnings: Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan

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 Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan.
Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan cover
This is not a love story. I hate to be the one to break the news, but epic love stories don't end with one partner decapitating the other.
The wonderful Kelly at This Northern Gal sent me Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan for my birthday. It was one of the books on my bookish wishlist that I was most excited about, so I used the Orange on the Dust Jacket prompt from Medievalathon as an excuse to start it first.

Straight off, I love it. I love the tone of the writing, I utterly adore historical deep dives, and especially if they're about women's history. I love the critical analysis of the bias of historical sources and the political agendas that drove them.

The cover is gorgeous and striking with the bright orange text over that famous 16th century portrait from the National Portrait Gallery.

Historians have delighted in casting Henry VIII as the ultimate one-dimensional Tudor villain almost as much as they have Anne Boleyn, simplistically explaining away his actions as those of a narcissistic pampered prince.
This is from page 56 in my finished copy.

There are the first lines of Chapter 3, so not far in at all.

I like that this isn't just wholly about Anne Boleyn and her portrayal, but of those around her too. I like the looks at contemporary and modern portrayals, and how they're picked apart.

I'm up to this part now, as I type, and I'm excited to read on.

What are you reading this week?

09 May 2020

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, and outfit yourself with clothes, weapons, and even animal companions. You start as a prisoner with nothing, and then build yourself up with each new read. It started on May 1st, but I was late to the party so I'm starting now.

I got very over excited and carried away and extra a little bit enthusiastic about this readathon and commissioned some artwork of my character from Franki, so now I'm extra accountable to my TBR.

Medieval-A-Thon TBR


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

Books Rank 
 0 Prisoner
1 Peasant 
2 Squire 
3 Knight 
4 Noble 
5 Prince/Princess 
6 King/Queen 
7 Emperor/Empress

Medieval-A-Thon rank

The Prompts

I think that the prompts are excellent, there is truly something for everyone. The prompts are fairly open to interpretation and I'm excited to see how far I get on my journey.

Choose Your Wardrobe!

  • A book that has yellowed over time
  • A PRISTINE book
  • A shiny book
  • A book with your favourite colour on the spine
  • Under 300 Pages
  • Green on the dust jacket
  • Dragon on the cover

Medieval-A-Thon Prompts - Choose Your Wardrobe

Choose Your Weapons!

  • Something pointy on the cover
  • Start of finish a duology
  • A romance
  • A heavy book
  • A book you have HIGH expectations for

Medieval-A-Thon Prompts - Choose Your Weapons

Choose Your Pet Companion!

  • A scary book
  • A book high on your bookshelf
  • Buddy read with a friend
  • A book title that begins with a "C"
  • A tall hardcover
  • Orange on the dustcover

Medieval-A-Thon Prompts - Choose Your Pet Companion


So that's the prompts. 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 noble rank, and anything past that is a bonus. So which prompts will I be tackling, and what's on my TBR?

  • A book with your favoruite colour on the spine
    • The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
      Red is my favourite colour, but it took me a ling time of staring at my shelves to decide what to read for this one! It was a birthday gift from Donna at The Untitled Book Blog.
  • Start or finish a duology
    • Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
      This book has been on my TBR for far too long, especially considering how much I loved State of Sorrow. Perfect excuse!
  • A romance
    • A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes
      I just happened to see the tweet that sparked my interest in this readathon as I was about to pick this book up, so it seems just right that I read it for this prompt. Also in RPGs I pew-pew, of course I was going to get the bow.
  • Orange on the dust jacket
    • Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan
      This book has a fanastic bright orange font, and I'm eager to read it! It seems pretty timely as the anniversary of Anne Boleyn's execution is in May. It was a birthday gift from Kelly at This Northern Gal.

There we have it! I may pick myself up an additional animal companion or outfit or set of weapons, but this is what I'm aiming for. Wish me luck! Check back at the end of the month to see how I did and what's happened to my character.


What's on your TBR for May?