Book Review · Yearly Round Up

5 Mini Reviews and a Goodreads Goal

Happy New Year!

Since starting my new job, I’ve had very little time for this blog (bad Hannah) and only slightly more time for reading. It’s been hard to fit it into a new routine and I’ve struggled to find the time to just get on with it like I used to.

That didn’t stop me from completing my Reading Challenge, though. In 2018, I managed 50 books, in 2019 I managed 67 (the 62 from Goodreads, plus the five reviews below that I just never sat down to write properly).

2018-19 Books

New Years are all about those New Starts … but in order to start clean and fresh, you need to clear out the cobwebs. These books are definitely better than cobwebs (!) but I think you know what I mean – tie up loose ends, tidy shelves tidy mind etc

This year I’m setting myself a goal of 60 books – something I think I can beat again, but I need to give myself the chance of beating it!

So here are the reviews I need to clear …

The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow –  5 stars

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This was a light and enjoyable fantasy, of a story within a story and worlds beyond worlds. It was enchanting and magical and had a fairy tale like quality, of quests, adventures and hidden agendas. January herself was a great character, with her own foibles, but also with the kind of hidden strengths and general nouse that makes for a great heroine.

SLAY – Brittney Morris – 4 stars

SLAY

There were so many great things about this book – girl gamers, issues of racism and sexism and of elitism within particular races – but what stood out especially was the inability of one person to speak for an entire culture, no matter how well-read they are. This was a strong and powerful story, that spoke of a great deal of pain, of the power of cultural heritage, and the fear of misrepresenting it. The main character was frighteningly wise beyond her years, and the actual gaming mechanics were quite simplistic, but the message itself was so important.

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen – Ada Bright and Cass Grafton – 2 stars

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Set in Bath, with a time-travelling Jane Austen and a dishy Mr Darcy style character, this book really shouldn’t have worked so hard to sell itself. Instead, I felt like I was dragged into some sort of painfully tedious romp, that went on for far too long, considering the story it was trying to tell. It was also an incredibly fractured novel – the change in story partway through, with an alternate ‘what if there was no Jane Austen’ universe, made the whole story disjointed and, quite simply, odd. There was the potential for a great Jane Austen retelling, with a cameo appearance from the author herself, but it was clear the authors were trying to do something a little different, but just weren’t able to pull it off.

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry – Caroline Roberts – 3 stars

Pudding Pantry

If you’re looking for a light Christmas read with zero risk, a warm and cosy feel and a considerately rendered farming community, then look no further – this will do the trick. Although the Pudding Pantry at Primose Farm was an initial success, it is now winter and custom is drying up. Luckily Rachel has a new idea to drum up business … now if only she knew how to deal with her budding relationship with the farmer next door! Cute and relatively harmless, this series is enough to thaw my romance-sceptic heart.

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire #2) – Natasha Ngan – 3 stars

Storm and Shadow

This was both an easier and a harder read than the first book in the series. As Lei and Wren have now left the court of the Demon King, there is less structure, and a wider cast to deal with in the outside world (including some characters that I personally found irritating. Sorry leopard boy). I also still have misgivings about the whole caste system, but I can overlook that. The travelling plot, and three clans to visit structure, made this feel like the painfully slow second book in a series (and it was). However, the continued development of Lei and Wren as characters was excellent. Both of them are so well-fleshed out, and their relationship is so realistic that if this review was on character alone it would be 5 stars. However, like all decent second stories, this needed to happen, and it has set up a final show down in book three that I have every confidence will be EPIC.


So there we have it – 5 reviews done, one Goodreads Challenge completed, and a new one set.

My plate is now clear, except for the 40 ARCs that I have not yet read … oops.

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