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Book Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 2 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: July 2016 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


Another close-to-perfect read, Paper and Fire was a superb sequel in The Great Library series, one that is on track to become a favourite.

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Book Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 1 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: July 2015 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


Ink and Bone is a fantastic entry in The Great Library series that enthralled me right from the very beginning and didn’t let go.

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Book Review: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Book Review: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

ARC received from publisher, Gollancz, in exchange for an honest review.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Genre: Urban fantasy, historical fantasy, young adult

Published: 24th September 2020 by Gollancz (UK) and 22nd September 2020 Katherine Tegen Books (US)


The Left-Handed Booksellers of London was an enjoyable urban fantasy romp in an alternate 1980s-London which left me wanting more from this clever and fascinating world of magical secret service booksellers.

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Book Review: Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Book Review: Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been in the mood for anything wintry, and this book seemed like just the thing. It’s young adult, which I’ve struggled with in the past, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I’m so glad I did, because Wintersong is a beautiful story. A retelling of the movie Labyrinth, it’s a captivating take on the Goblin King and his Underground, with music at its core.

“You are the monster I claim.”

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Book Review: The Sisters of the Winter Wood

Book Review: The Sisters of the Winter Wood


The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Sisters of the Winter Wood was incredibly promising. It’s a heavily Jewish book with lovely fantasy overtones. There are shapeshifters and mysterious newcomers peddling forbidden fruit and a deeply atmospheric forest, as well as a central sibling relationship and deep religious questions to ponder. It sounded made for me. So made for me that I ignored the fact that it’s YA. I should’ve known better. While I enjoyed the plot and the structure, the usual YA all-consuming romances and the characters’ inner struggles with coming to know and accept themselves were cloyingly overabundant and negatively impacted my reading experience. However, I feel like this is on me, not the book. I should know by now that YA usually doesn’t work for me. I was almost as disappointed by this book as I was by Uprooted, which I think is comparable in setting and atmosphere.

“To love means to sacrifice everything that you are.”

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Book Review: Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

Book Review: Asperfell by Jamie Thomas


Asperfell by Jamie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from Asperfell, but those expectations were far surpassed. This debut novel is a bit of a slow burn, but it’s incredibly well written. The grammar and formatting are positively immaculate, which speaks highly of Thomas’s professionalism as an author; it’s obvious that she invested a lot of time in editing and perfecting Asperfell before introducing it to the world. And her way with words is impeccable. Actually, I would even say that the setting and writing reminded me the tiniest bit of Guy Gavriel Kay, who is a phenomenally talented craftsman of an author. It also had a Regency tone and flair to it. If Guy Gavriel Kay and Jane Austen teamed up to write a young adult fantasy novel, it would look something like Asperfell.

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Book Review: Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Book Review: Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Claim the stars.”

Have you ever loved an author so much that you’re actually afraid to read anything outside of the series by them you’ve come to adore? That’s how I feel about Brandon Sanderson. I love everything about his Cosmere, and all of the series that comprise it. From Mistborn to Stormlight, from Elantris to Warbreaker, he’s crafted some of the most unique magic systems I’ve ever witnessed, and I love that such wildly different series all tie into a bigger picture that is still being woven. Because of my deep adoration of the Cosmere, I’ve been hesitant to read Sanderson’s other works. I read the first Alcatraz book and thought it was fun and cute, but that’s as far as I’ve been able to go. His young adult works, The Reckoners trilogy and Skyward, gave me even more pause, because young adult is a genre that is very hit-or-miss for me. There are so many tropes that have been done to death in the YA genre: love triangles and a special girl who refuses to realize she’s special being among those most often used and happen to be my least favorites. Thankfully, neither of those were present in Skyward. Actually, there wasn’t any real romance. Which I found very refreshing for a young adult book.

“You find a way, and you defy them. For those of us who don’t have the courage.”

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Book Review: Starsight (Skyward, #2)

Book Review: Starsight (Skyward, #2)

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

My rating:  5 of 5 stars

Series: Skyward (Book 2 of 4)

Genre: Science fiction, young adult

Published: 26th November 2019 by Gollancz (UK) and Delacorte Press (US)


Starsight proves once again that Brandon Sanderson is a masterful storyteller across genres and age groups, and who simply excels at writing sequels. 

I’m actually at a loss as to how to start or write this review without sounding like a broken record. As far as I’m concerned, Sanderson is a genius and he has never failed to deliver a captivating story, whether he was writing adult or young adult, fantasy or science fiction. And after reading so much from him and listening to him talk at signings and interviews, I honestly believed that it comes from his passion in just wanting to tell good stories. Notwithstanding the excellent worldbuilding and fantastic magic systems he is so well-known for these were, first and foremost, stories about people.

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Book Review: The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2)

Book Review: The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2)


The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Pullman has created something so special with Lyra’s world and the mythos of other worlds he set up in the original His Dark Materials trilogy. La Belle Sauvage, the first installment of this spin-off trilogy, took us back to Lyra’s beginning, giving up the wild story of her infancy and the two children who rescued her. This second installment fast forwards to years after the events of the original trilogy, when Lyra is grown, having just tipped over the cusp of adulthood. The final events of that first trilogy haunt her still, but she is convincing herself more and more that those events aren’t quite true. As she falls into the trap of rationality Pantalaimon, her dæmon, rebels against her loss of imagination. From there, the plot goes wild.

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Spellslinger (Spellslinger, #1)

Spellslinger (Spellslinger, #1)

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Spellslinger is delightfully fun and engaging read with some serious themes that fit the young adult genre.

I would probably sound like a broken record, but I reiterate that I’m generally not a reader of YA books. So far, the ones that I’ve enjoyed are those written by authors who’ve already carved a name for themselves writing adult fantasy books. One of these authors is Sebastien de Castell; his adult fantasy series, Greatcoats, was one which I loved. In Greatcoats, he balanced a dark and personal tale of a broken man caught up in his past with humour and wonderful characters. For Spellslinger, the tone was somewhat similar but clearly targeted at a younger audience.

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