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The Cruel Prince Review

Taken From Entertainment Weekly

I would like to start this review by saying I read this book for the first time last year (2018) and re-read it this year. However, for whatever reason, I forgot just about everything. All I remembered was the first chapter.

That being said, I absolutely loved this book! Although Jude wasn’t my favourite character, I really enjoyed the way she narrates the story. Maybe that sounds paradoxical, but there you go. On Goodreads, I gave The Cruel Prince five stars because of the twists, the writing style and the characters. Everything I would want in a book was in this one. The romance was particularly interesting because it didn’t seem forced.

Sometimes I read books and the romance is there because the author wanted romance there, and no other reason. Holly Black, however, put a great spin on it, and it seemed more natural, but still unnatural. I don’t know how else to explain what I’m thinking, and I know I haven’t done it well.

For the entirety of the book, Taryn infuriated me. The most irritating character I have ever read about. The only redeemable quality she had was that she was Jude’s sister. But, she needs to get her act together. Because she is annoying.

The most interesting thing about this book was the moral rules of those in Faerie. They have intensely strict morals, but their rules are not ours. This is not a spoiler: the book opens with this. Madoc kills Jude’s parents and didn’t think it was ideal, but it wasn’t wrong in his world. BUT, he felt honour-bound to take care of the children he had just orphaned.

Holly Black’s writing style is incredible, and I have loved her books since I read The Spiderwick Chronicles when I was a child. (If you haven’t read those books, go and do it. Thanks.) Her use of words, her choice of words, is sensational. Every word is there for a reason, and the tension builds slowly which I loved.

Although, in the beginning, the book was slow, the second half makes up for it, and gives us more. It was amazing.

I will say, though, I really, really don’t like Dain, or Balekin. They are beyond enraging, but to a lesser degree than Taryn. No character will top Taryn’s ability to irritate.

I will read The Wicked King (obviously) and I have just preordered it, and ordered a few of Holly Black’s other books.

Rating: 95%


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Why I am giving Are You Well? away for free

It has been my dream to be an author since I was very, very, very young. I was five or six when I learned books are written and don’t burst spontaneously out of the ground, and land on bookshelves. I remember that moment well: I loved writing at school. In school, it was my favourite thing to do, and I would often spend my breaktimes and lunchtimes in the library writing, neglecting homework.

I knew I wanted to be an author. It was what I longed to be more than anything else. In fact, I had no other idea of what I could spend my life doing. Simply because I enjoyed nothing as much. Nothing came close.

I finished three first drafts before I was seventeen, edited one of those to death (and it was still awful, by the way). I believe finishing the first draft is one of the hardest parts of the writing journey, followed closely by editing. Since I had finished three first drafts and written maybe eight short stories which will never see the light of day, I knew I could be an author.

Fast forward two years and two months, Miscellany was complete, it had been fully edited after going through, no joke, eleven rounds of revisions and edits. That number is the entire anthology, by the way. I don’t know how many times I edited each story individually. I hit publish.

Following this, I had pretty good success in terms of sales and reader response. Although the reviews are only coming in now, I received so many DMs from people telling me how much they loved my writing style, and that made my day every single time.

HOWEVER, I became used to the consistent sales which came at first. Over the previous two months, November and December 2018, the sales quickly plummeted. All at once, the joy I had been experiencing, the pride I had had, disappeared.

Why?

Because I believed that people must have been buying Miscellany because they felt sorry for me and wanted to uphold my self-esteem – far too much of which I had put into the sales of that anthology. I forgot about the love I had for writing and longed for the sales to pick up again.

I thought people must have stopped liking it, knowing that I only hit Amazon Bestsellers Lists in the UK, and the United States because of the generosity of readers. I believed my writing was terrible, and I had failed on epically.

I was devastated, to be honest. Looking back, I just wish I could shake myself, tell myself to get a grip because I didn’t want to write to become rich, to hit bestsellers lists, to get film deals, or anything. I wrote because I wanted to write, because I loved to create stories.

So, I asked myself the following question: “Would you still write, if you didn’t make any money?”

The answer was an unconditional “yes”.

In a huge fit of inspiration and motivation, I wrote Are You Well? and put it through maybe six rounds of revisions and edits. Every second I spent writing the story was amazing. I hadn’t had that much fun writing since I was writing Lady Tabitha’s Revenge – the first story in Miscellany.

I knew I was going to release it for free. My cover designer is currently working on the cover, and I should be getting the concept on Monday. Obviously, as soon as I have the final cover, I will share it everywhere.

I don’t know how many downloads Are You Well? is going to get. I don’t know if it’ll get any. But, honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. I really mean that. I had so much fun writing it, and I am so proud of it.

Someone asked me why I am releasing it in the first place if all I have said so far is true. The reason is that I want to release it knowing it won’t generate any income for me. Regardless of the number of downloads I get, I won’t earn money, and I am perfectly fine with that fact. In fact, I’m thankful.

Are You Well? gave me back my love of writing.

The story releases on January 29, 2019, and I can’t wait.

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Moon Struck Review

Moon Struck by Ben Alderson and Danielle Rose

Thank you to Ben and Danielle for sending me an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Anyone who follows me/knows me is aware that I adored Crimson Bite. Moon Struck, however, topped Crimson Bite in every way a sequel should. The development of the characters, the pace of the plots, the twists – one in particular – and the shifts all added up to Moon Struck being the standard of sequel every author should strive to create.

My hatred of George’s mother deepened with every scene in which she appeared. Ugh, I’ve never hated a character so much in my life. She is vicious, selfish, menacingly calm and emotionally manipulating.

Again, the worldbuilding was fantastic, and everything started to tie in with everything else. I haven’t enjoyed a world this much since I read Harry Potter. If it wasn’t for the fact that I would die instantly, I would love to live in Hillcrest.

I really liked how the friendships in this book were explored and pushed to their limits in such an authentic way. You know how sometimes you’ll read a book and the friendships are either underdeveloped or unrealistic? That is not this book.

This series is quickly becoming one of my all-time favourites.

If you are debating reading it, stop it. Buy the books, read the books, review the books, and tell everyone you come into contact with to do the same.

My excitement for Hex Bound is growing every single day.

Rating: 99%

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz Review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

I have always said that I’ll never give a book 100%, and so the first thing I need to say is this: I was wrong.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, written by Heather Morris, tells the story of Lale Sokolov, who was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau – the most infamous Nazi Concentration Camp – where he was given the job of tattooing the prisoners’ numbers onto their arm as they arrived. That’s all I’m going to say as it is not my place to tell his story.

I’ve read several reviews of this book where people have been intensely critical of the writing. Personally, I found the writing style, void of fancy words, void of any attempts to spruce up the writing, to add her own emotions into it, to be the most respectful way of telling this story.

In my opinion, to have added anything flowery would have been detrimental to the impact of Lale Sokolov’s – and millions of others – story.

Heather Morris didn’t try to sugar-coat her words in the telling of history. I found the entire book to be incredibly difficult to read – not because of a lack of understanding, but rather through the unwavering depictions of the brutality. I cried several times while reading, and have thought about it constantly since opening it for the first time.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, although heart-breaking, has a beautiful theme of the surviving nature of love, and its ability to give the most horrific of circumstances a modicum of hope.

Lale and Gita’s mutual adoration gave the two of them a reason to survive, something to long for: a life together outside the inhumane monstrosities of the camp, a life without barbed-wired fences.

This book is one of the most important I have ever read, and will ever read. Going straight into my Top 10 Books of All Time, I know I will return to its pages time after time. Reading of the horrors of the Concentration Camps is never easy. However, when you realise every picture of a prisoner was someone who had a life before the Nazi started persecuting, people with dreams, hopes, family, friends, it becomes even more essential that this is never repeated.

I don’t think any book has ever put my problems into ‘Big Picture’ perspective as this one. Not only did it break my heart, it reminded me of all the things I have to be thankful for.

An instant classic. I cannot recommend The Tattooist of Auschwitz highly enough.

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Crimson Bite Review

I was lucky enough to receive an arc of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Crimson Bite is an instant top three of 2018 for me, which I was not expecting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read books by both authors, and loved them, so I thought I would enjoy the book. But, I did not realise how much I would adore it. Usually, however, novels about vampires or witches don’t really interest me because a lot of them seem to be overly similar.

THIS BOOK, THOUGH! There were so many things I loved! I want to, first of all, make sure I get one thing out the way. I hated the mother in this book. Like, properly despised her. I don’t think I have ever reacted so strongly, so negatively to a character before in my life. She is just an awful, for lack of a better word, person. Vile. Vicious. Hate her. Whiny and annoying.

What I enjoyed the most out of this book was the friendship between Savi and George, how it works when you are incredibly close with someone, but scared they’ll judge you. How keeping secrets work. Everything about the friendship was so authentic. Although they are furious at each other for portions of this book, they still love each other and want to help, and put themselves in danger.

Sometimes I read books where the world building is lacking in every way. Crimson Bite was different, and you can tell Ben and Danielle put a lot of effort into making sure everything made sense. Despite this, the world-building is seamlessly weaved into the story. I was really interested in the history and the treaty.

I instantly related to George. I took a little longer to get behind Savi, but when I did, I loved her. I can’t really pinpoint what exactly I disliked about Savi. It doesn’t matter, though: my dislike for her only lasted the first few chapters.

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. Buy it. Read it. Recommend it to others. Buy the book again. Read it again.

Rating: 95%