True Loaf by L. Austen Johnson

True Loaf by L. Austen Johnson

*I received a free copy of this audiobook through NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Rating: 3/5

This (very) short story by Johnson is inspired by Balkan Folklore, it follows Riley a bakery worker, who there she receives a strange request from an unusual man. Whilst seeking out the uncommon ingredient he requested she learns that things are not always as they seem to be and that fae may in fact be real.

As a nice touch the author partnered with One Tree Planted, meaning for every audiobook sold within the first year of release, one tree will be planted in North America.

The first thing that struck me was the beautiful cover, which at first glance I assumed to be a children’s book although it is actually aimed at teens, YA, and new adult readers. It was a very short story, and as a result it left me with more questions then it answered. I didn’t particularly enjoy the narration, although I did get used to it after a few minuets, for me the tone of voice the narrator chose to use didn’t match the feel of the book. It was an interesting story, with a fairly simple plot, the ending was not hugely predictable but it left the novel feeling unfinished for me.

Overall I really liked the idea behind this novel, and it is marketed as a short story which it certainly is, however, I do feel with a little bit of expansion this novel could have truly been brought to life.

Book Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Book Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

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Rating: 3/5.

When Iris assumes her grandmothers home in the country, an unexpected inheritance, it brings back a lifetime of memories. Unsure whether to keep the home or sell it she decides to visit the house, staying for a week to make her decision. The move is bittersweet and Iris finds herself torn between forgetting and remembering, with a chance encounter with a childhood friend leaving her wondering if they could become more.

The Taste of Apple Seeds is Hagena’s debut novel and bestseller. Although I actually had not heard of this novel before, when I noticed it on my local libraries app I was initially captured by the cover and the feelings of autumn and warmth it conquered up for me. I greatly enjoy novels that have a historical element, even if it is more recent history, anything that hints at nostalgia is an instant to-read in my mind. Hagena utilised creative imagery to bring her story to life, although I did find myself feeling a bit lost in the plot from time to time, and I did not particularly relate to the main character Iris, who was written in such a way to make her appear larger than life but to me, that left her feeling unrealistic.

Overall I enjoyed reading this novel, I didn’t feel much of a connection to the characters, but that’s not always necessary for me to enjoy a book. I am rating it three stars because although I think this is a good overall novel, it was missing something for me.

November Reads

November Reads

Sitting down to reflect on what I read last month and it seems unreal it’s December already. This year has passed in a Covid fuelled blur. In a year where everything felt scary and bleak I have rekindled my love for reading. Books are not only a hobby for me but an escape as I know they are for so many of us. With that in mind, here are my November reads:

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber.

Rating: 5/5.

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This short story follows Ashley a graduate student living in California and her journey home to spend Christmas with her family in Seattle. Unable to get a flight back home she opts for the rental car, the only issue Dash a former intelligence officer has his eyes on the car too. Luck is on her side as Dash is also heading to Seattle, they decide to share the ride and this is where their journey truly begins in more ways than one.

I really loved this short novel, it was so cleverly written and kept me engaged throughout. I certainly started off my Christmas reads on a high this year.

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Rating: 5/5.

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Set in 1940 London, Emmy is doing everything she can for the war effort, she dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent a dream she had all but given up on until she sees a chance to get the perfect job, or so she thinks, at the London Evening Chronical. There she works as a typist to Mrs. Bird, an advice columnist with very strict rules on what she will and will not advise on but Emmy’s conscience won’t let her ignore.

I really enjoyed this novel, getting a glimpse into what women’s live were like during the war was fascinating. Whilst the men were fighting on the battlefield women too were fighting their own battles back home. Overall a great novel, well written, gripping and engaging throughout.

After the Fire by Will Hill.

Rating: 4/5.

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“The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade. Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences. But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths. Then came the fire.”.

I really enjoyed this novel, the blurb didn’t give much away which is why I chose to copy it for you all to read above, but I liked that I was going into the book learning new things with every page. I had no clue where the story was going or what would happen, it was full of twists and turns, and so well researched that it felt real. The only reason I gave this 4/5 instead of 5/5, was because there were pages I sped through more interested in getting to the more juicy ones.

No One Here Is Lonely by Sarah Everett.

Rating: 3/5.

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Meet Eden, a typical teenage girl on the crisp of adulthood, she had her best friend Lacey and the guy she’s had a crush on forever, Will. When Will dies, and Lacey and Eden begin growing apart she finds solace in “In Good Company” a digital service offering AI companions fuelled by the audio uploaded by it’s users, one of them being Will. Although he’s not here anymore she can call up the line any time and here his voice, even talk to him as if he was.

I honestly didn’t know how to feel about this one, it was a great original idea, but I must admit I found it a little creepy. I also grew frustrated with Eden as the novel went on. However I did enjoy it overall, and I think it taught me some things I didn’t know about grief too.

Another Cup of Christmas by Jenny Kane.

Rating: 3/5.

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Set in the cosy Pickwicks café in Richmond we follow those who work their as they prepare for a Christmas fundraiser to help support the hospital that helped their cook and part-owner Scott when he was injured in an accident. Waitress Megan is in charge of organising the event alongside Nick the ward administrator, so far they’re co-workers but could they be more?

This was a lovely short story, full of all the good things, and by that I mean food, Christmas and romance. It was a very short read at 65 pages long but it didn’t feel rushed and was full of character.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen. M. McManus.

Rating: 2/5.

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Set in the small town of Echo Ridge, where Ellery’s aunt went missing at seventeen, and just five years ago the homecoming queen was killed. An outsider Ellery moves to the town to live with her grandmother, but it’s a town filled with secrets, some more deadly than others.

I have really enjoyed other novels by this author so I had high hopes for this one, sadly I just couldn’t get into it, I didn’t find the plot particularly engaging but the authors strong writing style helped me see it through.

October Reads

October Reads

Wow, how is it November already? This year has been a blur. As we get further into the academic year I haven’t been able to spend as much time reading as I would like to. My goal for this month is to find more time to relax with a good book. I had planned for this post to go up yesterday but thanks to a monster migraine all my plans got put on hold. Anyway it’s here now, without further ado here are my October reads.

The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse.

Rating 5/5.

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This was the first book I read this month and wow did I start the month off with a bang. This is book is haunting, mesmerising, thrilling, I can’t even put into words how much I loved this. It does tackle some dark topics, but it does so with realism and sensitivity. The novel is set in the 1960’s and follows twins Maisy and Duncan, at the being of the book they are sent to live with their grandmother after there mother is sent to an asylum. They are given freedom and make new friends, everything’s going fairly well, until one day Duncan doesn’t come home. Soon after the bodies of other young boys are found in the local area, crushing the polices hope of finding him alive. Again, such a great read.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.

Rating 5/5.

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Another five star read, the blue castle follows Valancy Stirling an unmarried twenty-nine year old striving to escape her strict household and fine the true love she has waited her whole life for. This novel has been on my reading list for far too long, and I regret not reading it soon. It’s an enchanting tale, a really cosy read for cool Autumn nights.

Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read.

Rating: 4/5.

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This is another novel in the Fairacre series, in which Miss Clare looks back on her life growing up in the countryside. I really enjoy these novels, they’re the ones I go to when I wanted to feel comfort, something that I feel often since the pandemic started. It’s nice to just escape reality for a while.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas.

Rating 3/5.

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Two cheerleaders were killed in an driving accident, then two more were murdered but since the man who committed the crime was shot at the scene, the families are left with no answers. Then the last death, Monica’s sister, who took her own life. Everyone around her wants to remember but Monica just want’s to forget, but things aren’t what they seem and soon everything starts to unravel around her. I actually started this novel back in March, read a few pages and tucked it away in my bookshelf. I enjoyed this novel, it was well written, and an interesting plot.

Thanks for reading! What novels have you read this month? Would you recommend them? x

August Reads

August Reads

Check out my August reads below, ranked highest to lowest rating:

The Girl from Galloway by Anne Doughty

Rating: 5/5.

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It’s 1845, in County Donegal, Ireland and one day Hannah McGinley’s daughter comes home disheartened that her school may have to close as one of the teachers is moving away. Despite her busy schedule, Hannah steps up, but times are tough and can she support her family and the school?

This was my favourite read this month, it was beautifully written and filled me with the sense of nostalgia I constantly search for within the pages of novels. Strength and determination underpin every chapter, as we watch this family, this community fight to not only survive but to thrive.

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

Rating: 5/5.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here asks readers the question, “what if you aren’t the chosen one?”. It follows Mikey a normative kid about to graduate highschool who’s trying to muster up the courage to ask out his friend Hanna.

I loved this book, it was a very close second favourite of the month. Some people get drawn in by book covers, but I am by titles. “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” rolls of the tongue, it speaks to readers or at least to me. I haven’t read anything like this before, it explores the narrative of  fighting the bad guys, but from the eyes of bystanders.

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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Little Women follows sisters, Meg, Jo and Beth taking the reader on a journey of their lives, those in it and where it leads them.

This is a novel that I have been meaning to read for a while, I had high expectations of it and whilst it was not a bad book, it was amazingly written and Alcott brought the characters to life, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

 

The Market Square by Miss Read.

Rating: 3/5.

The Market Square (The Caxley Chronicles, #1) by Miss ReadThe Market Square gives readers an insight into the history Caxley and the lives of those who live there. Caxley is a market town close to Fairacre where Miss Read’s Fairacre novels are set. It is also often referenced within her Fairacre novels as a place the people there travel to occasionally.

I really enjoyed the novels I have read so far by Miss Read so was excited when I saw this pop up on my local online library. It was well written but for me didn’t have the spark of the Fairacre series.

 

Heavily Meditated by Caitlin Cady.

Rating: 2/5.

48848535. sx318 This is a book about Meditation, from the perception of Cady. I personally have been meditating for four years now, so I like to think I know a bit about it, but still you can never know too much.

What first interested me about this was the idea it was a beginers guide, a way to help introduce more people to meditation, which is amazing. If you have never tried meditation I would recommend giving it a go, it’s not for everyone but if it works for you it can bring meaningful peace and change into your life.

I personally didn’t enjoy this book, it does provide some infomatiom but I found it felt empty, the book lacked substance for me. I don’t dislike Cady’s writing style and I did enjoy hearing about how meditation has enriched her life. Overall this just didn’t resonate with me, and that’s okay, it’s not a bad book, it just wasn’t for me.

 

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Rating: 5/5.

When Mila’s best friend Riley dies suddenly, she refuses to believe she took her own life, but dying shortly after two other girls from the academy are found dead it seems everyone thinks it was a suicide pact. So Mila does the only think possible in this situation, she calls on her witchcraft knowledge, a craft herself and Riley used to enjoy, to bring Riley back to life. Things don’t go exactly as planned, but she doesn’t let that get in the way, can she discover their true killer before it’s too late?

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Torn by Cat Clarke

Torn by Cat Clarke

Rating: 3/5.

“She wasn’t supposed to die”

Alice King is part of a cruel prank, meant to teach Tara a lesson, but it goes terribly wrong. Intending to give Tara a fright, as revenge for the way she has treated others, they end up doing something far more sinister. But now Alice must find a way to live with their secret, but can she?

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Needlemouse by Jane O’Connor

Needlemouse by Jane O’Connor

*I received a ebook copy of this novel for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Sylvia is infatuated with her boss, a professor at the University she works at, she has been waiting eagerly for the chance to make a move, and for him to leave his wife to make it safe to do so. Yet keeping his attention isn’t always easy, and Sylvia makes light work of doing everything she can to keep others from getting in the way. A new PhD student changes everything, and Sylvia’s steps to keep her out of the way become more and more frantic.

Things must change, whether Sylvia wants them too or not.

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A Forest for Calum by Frank Macdonald

A Forest for Calum by Frank Macdonald

*I received a ebook copy of this novel for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2/5

Unfortunately due to an issue with downloading this novel I was only able to read parts of this book, therefore I will only be reviewing the first few chapters.

This novel explores the ever changing world Roodie and his family and friends live in. It explores a time very different from now but also very alike in many ways.

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This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

*I purchased this book for myself.

Rating: 3/5.

“You are cordially invited to tell the truth, or face the consequences…”

This is tale of lies and the devastating consequences they can have, our story takes place one year after a terrible death. A surprise invitation arrives in the mail promising a prize of $50,000, all invitees attend, but somethings wrong and by the time they realise their mistake it’s far too late.

The truth can free you, but it can also be your downfall.

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