Biblioshelf Musings – The Savage Garden

Hello Bibliofriends,

There are so many hectic things going on in my life right now that I’m getting waaaayyyy behind on all of my scheduled blog posts! 🙈 Normally, I get into a good habit of scheduling posts a week or two in advance but with a house clearance and Parents’ Evenings at work there has been very little time for reading or blogging! 🙃

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills is a book I picked up at an English language bookshop whilst visiting my friend in Lanzarote. I was immediately sold by the fact that the story is set in a large Memorial Garden near Florence in Italy (my favourite city ever!) and bought it straightaway. I’ve been trying to get through my gigantic, colossally mammoth large collection of books as part of my house clear-out so it seemed a perfectly good time to pick this one up.

Book: The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Publication Date: 2007
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 388
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The story of two murders, four hundred years apart – and the ties that bind them together.

From the author of the acclaimed national bestseller Amagansett comes an even more remarkable novel set in the Tuscan hills: the story of two murders, four hundred years apart-and the ties that bind them together. 

Adam Banting, a somewhat aimless young scholar at Cambridge University, is called to his professor’s office one afternoon and assigned a special summer project: to write a scholarly monograph about a famous garden built in the 1500s. Dedicated to the memory of Signor Docci’s dead wife, the garden is a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills, and classical inscriptions. But during his three-week sojourn at the villa, Adam comes to suspect that clues to a murder are buried in the strange iconography of the garden: the long-dead Signor Docci most likely killed his wife and filled her memorial garden with pointers as to both the method and the motive of his crime. 

As the mystery of the garden unfolds, Adam finds himself drawn into a parallel intrigue. Through his evolving relationship with the lady of the house – the ailing, seventy-something Signora Docci – he finds clues to yet another possible murder, this one much more recent. The signora’s eldest son was shot by Nazi officers on the third floor of the villa, and her husband, now dead, insisted that the area be sealed and preserved forever. Like the garden, the third-floor rooms are frozen in time. Delving into his subject, Adam begins to suspect that his summer project might be a setup. Is he really just the naive student, stumbling upon clues, or is Signora Docci using him to discover for herself the true meaning of the villa’s murderous past?

My Musings

Now I’m not just saying this because it’s set in Italy but the setting and the Memorial Garden featured in this novel really hooked me in – right from the map of it on the very first page! The fact that the whole plot basically spirals out of the design and layout of a garden was a pretty unique concept and it’s probably this element of the story that I enjoyed the most.

Like with my love of treasure hunts and all things Robert Langdon-esque, the way each of the statues and groves related to Greek mythology and provided clues for the murder mysteries at the centre of the plot was intriguing – whilst the references and links to Dante added that extra layer of geeky literary goodness.

Overall, the main character Adam was a good narrator. He didn’t reveal all of his findings directly to the reader which made the suspense and guessing last a little longer, but he did reveal enough to let you wonder how he was going to then ‘tell-all’ to the other characters in the story. There was enough action and character conversation balanced with Adam’s internal dialogue to keep the pace moving quick enough. What I also loved was the way that the story didn’t just end as soon as the culprits had been discovered, there were additional twists near the end of the story which made me respect the whole book that little bit more.

If you’re on the lookout for a gently suspenseful mystery filled with a little Dante, a dash of Greek mythology and set against a glorious Tuscan landscape then you might enjoy spending a little time with The Savage Garden!

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

#SixforSunday – Children’s Books I’d Love To Read

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

We are continuing our Celebration of Children’s Books this November with a post today all about children’s books I’d love to read! We have just rebanded all of our books at school and my class has so many in there that I’d love to read. I’ve given up trying to look at the amount of books on my TBR as I just keep adding and adding and adding to it! I wish I had about 8 heads so I could read 8 books all at the same time! 😂

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot.

Books That I’d Love To Read

The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

So I must confess that I have “borrowed” these books from our school library because I really need to read them before the new series comes out! Thankfully – and almost unbelievably – I have managed to avoid all spoilers for the series so I really need to hurry up and read them before something spoils it for me!

The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

We recently bought a new house and the lady who lived there had left all of her stuff due to her being in a care home. Amongst the shelves of railway books were the original Famous Five paperbacks. I never really read anything by Enid Blyton as a child but it would be lovely to make my way through this series.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I have never actually made my way through all of the Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve definitely read The Magician’s Nephew and I think I’ve read a majority of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe but I really do want to read the rest of the series to see if I can identify all of the religious symbolism in it.

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

I thought it best to include a fairly contemporary read and I’ve heard so many good things about this book that it makes me want to see if I can read it and link it to our Curriculum somehow.

Wonder by R.J. Palachio

I haven’t read this yet and feel like it’s one of those Kid’s Lit staples that you have to read at least once. I think it kind of marks some sort of turning point or acceptance to discuss disability/differences in children’s lit that we hadn’t quite experienced before.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I recently watched the Artemis Fowl movie on Disney+ and now I have that need to read the entire series! It was really fun!

Which children’s books do you have on your TBR list?
As always, leave your links below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#BookTag – Outstanding Blogger Award!

Hi Bibliofriends,

Earlier this month I was nominated by the wonderful Alicia @ Colourful Bibliophile for the Outstanding Blogger Award. This is a completely new one for me so I’m so thrilled to get my first nomination!

  • Link to the creator’s original award post.
  • Answer the questions provided.
  • Create 7 unique questions.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers. Neither the award’s creator nor the blogger that nominated you can be nominated.
  • At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award!

Alicia’s Questions:

Good news! You can now communicate with animals, aside from your pets what animal are you talking to first? 

Perhaps a leopard or a panther – some kind of spirit animal rather than something like a squirrel!

You can make any ONE fictional character (books, movies, video game, etc) come to life, who are you choosing?

Just one – from that broad a range of sources?!?! Perhaps James Halliday from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – just so that he can create the OASIS and I can be a part of it. What a dream!

If you were a God/ Goddess what would you be Patron of?

Books is the automatic answer here right? Either that or something totally out there like Pokémon or waterfalls! 😂

What 3 songs would you use in a soundtrack to your life?

Awesome question!
Florence + the Machine – Shake It Out
Dolly Parton – 9 to 5
Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There
Such a random mix! Haha!

A new species of animal has been discovered, what does it look like and what is it called?

It lives in the darkest depths of the rainforests so nobody has ever seen it’s real form. Some people think it is made of shadow although lucky eyewitnesses think it may look a little like a Niffler…
It eats lies, justice and inequality (and other general worldwide bullshit really) therefore it has been named Inprobumbra Comedenti 

You’ve found an enchanted doorway that can take you anywhere. Where are you going?

Middle Earth – ASAP please!!! I’d love to tour The Shire, see the elves in Rivendell wander the glistening streets of Gondor.

Space Travel is now available to everyone & the first Space Rollercoaster has been invented. Would you ride it?  

Hell yes! I am such a rollercoaster-junkie! Space Mountain is one of my favourite rides at Disney World so if it’s anything like that then count me in!

My Questions:

  1. TV networks are down; you can only have access to one streaming service, which are you picking and why?
  2. You are stranded on a desert island and can only have 3 unread books from your TBR – what are they?
  3. If you were Prime Minister / President for the day what law would you pass and why?
  4. If you could dive into the world of any book/film which would it be?
  5. Your favourite beverage to drink while reading?
  6. You can bring back one mythological creature to live on Planet Earth – which would it be?
  7. Favourite thing to do when you’re not reading / obsessing about your TBR / blogging?

I am nominating:

YOU – I am so rubbish at tagging people to take part in things (it gives me such a complex! 🙈). So if you’re reading this and you feel like giving it a go then consider yourself tagged! ☺️

Have a good week Bibliofriends!

T xx

#SixforSunday – Children’s Books I’d Love To Jump Into

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

We are continuing our Celebration of Children’s Books this November with a post today all about children’s books I’d love to jump into! One of the biggest reasons I love to read is that ability a book has to make me escape into a completely different world. That’s been a particularly crucial part of my reading in 2020. There are so many fictional worlds I’d love to jump into so it was quite hard to pick just 6 children’s ones for this list this week!

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot.

Books That I’d Love To Jump Into

The Wizarding World – Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I can’t make this list without mentioning the Wizarding World – it gave me such a home away from home in a bookish sense and will always remain one of my comfort reads for ever. Muggle be damned, I’d be escaping to Diagon Alley at the first opportunity I got!

Cheltenham Racecourse – The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop by Clare Balding

As a massive horse-racing fan I’d be desperate to jump into Charlie Bass’s world! This year has been the first time I’ve missed the opening meeting of Cheltenham for the 2020-21 Jumps Season since I can remember. Racing is such a different world at the moment (like most sporting pursuits I imagine) and I can’t wait until we can all be back watching those parade rings again with my Racing Family!

The Hundred Acre Wood – Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

I absolutely love walking in a forest, particularly during the Autumn when the leaves are a riot of colour. The Hundred Acre Wood must be one of the most famous literary forests but I’d really love to have some tea and ‘hunny’ with some of Christopher Robin’s best friends.

Isle of Berk – How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Vikings – Check
Dragons – Check
Give me my passport to the Isle of Berk! I can’t imagine a better place for a dragon worshipper like me to spend time!

Narnia – The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I think Narnia is one of those typical fantasy worlds that I imagine would be featured on a ‘top fantasy places to visit before you die’ series. To eat Turkish Delight with the White Witch and take a selfie with Mr. Tumnus by the lamppost… I imagine it’d be bookish heaven!

The Chocolate Room – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I have such a sweet tooth that the idea of being able to visit the Chocolate Room or even just the entire Chocolate Factory then I’m definitely jumping right in! It’s one of my all-time favourite settings and one that I love to use as setting descriptions in our KS2 English lessons!

Which children’s books or settings would you want to dive straight into?
As always, leave your links below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – A Life On Our Planet

Hello Bibliofriends,

This week’s review was incredibly difficult to write, or even just to arrange my thoughts into text, so apologies if it’s a really long winded one! Seeing David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet on NetGalley, the sheer prevalence of his notoriety and the subject matter of the book immediately intrigued me and it became one of those titles that I just had to read.

It’s very rare that I choose to publicly post about current affairs or political issues, but conservationism, sustainability and the preservation of our planet is a matter which is really close to my heart. I can’t seem to watch Blue Planet or wildlife programmes about pangolins etc. without getting incredibly upset at how some people abuse our incredibly amazing natural world. Sadly, like other issues facing the world, I feel that it is also a matter which different people of different generations from different nations will have contrasting and contradicting views about. We are not yet a united force when it comes to discussing the future of our planet.

First off, I feel the need to separate this review into two parts – one, to review a non-fiction book as I would review any other non-fiction book; then secondly, to review this book based on the worldwide renown of its author, the message he conveys and my own personal response to it. It seemed a little unfair or confusing to intertwine the two. A big thank you to Ebury Publishing, NetGalley and Sir David Attenborough for providing me with a complimentary e-book in exchange for this honest review.

Book: A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision For The Future by David Attenborough
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publication Date: October 1st 2020
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Pages: 272
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

In this scientifically informed account of the changes occurring in the world over the last century, award-winning broadcaster and natural historian shares a lifetime of wisdom and a hopeful vision for the future. 
See the world. Then make it better.

I am 93. I’ve had an extraordinary life. It’s only now that I appreciate how extraordinary. 

As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world – but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day — the loss of our planet’s wild places, its biodiversity. 

I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. It is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake — and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right.

We have one final chance to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited.

All we need is the will to do so. 

My Musings

As a non-fiction book, A Life on our Planet is incredibly well structured. Broken down into separate parts, the author lays out his experience of living and travelling around the globe, then he explains the current problems facing our planet and finally, he lays out the steps we could take to go about fixing things for future generations. The cyclical nature of A Life On Our Planet allows the reader to absorb the key messages being explained whilst also posing an outlook of hope for readers in what is a relatively large and heavy concept to contemplate.

The book immediately offers the reader a narrative and thinking point centring around Pripyat (Chernobyl). In Part 1, the author then proceeds to summarise his years of experience in his field, intertwined with a witness statement about what he has observed through the decades of his life. With facts regarding population change, carbon presence in the atmosphere and the percentage of biodiversity left on the planet, these chapters easily highlight to the reader the pace of change which has happened during the author’s time spent navigating the globe as a broadcaster. They offer a context and background which I found particularly useful given my own fairly limited life experiences and knowledge of certain events that took place in different continents or happened before I was born. 

In Part 2, the author makes the reader aware of the multitude of problems currently facing our planet. This is backed up with scientific research and theories as to how these issues came about, as well as what may happen if we continue to ignore them and go about living our lives at the pace and rate which we are now accustomed. A helpful, comprehensive glossary at the end of the book makes any technical language easily accessible and the gentle, explanatory writing style of the author succeeds in its aim to be informative without being too advanced or alternatively, patronising. Broken down into thematic chapters, the individual elements of the narrative become understandable and it was clear to see how each layer of the author’s argument reinforces and builds upon that which came before it. 

Finally, in Part 3 the author references countries across all continents of the globe which are starting to take action to try and fix the aforementioned problems. This knowledge from different nations reinforces how well-researched, informed and connected he is in this particular field. He lays out a roadmap for how together, as a whole planet, we can take steps to try and prevent a future mass extinction on Earth. A closing reference to Pripyat again in the Conclusion brings the author’s narrative full-circle, nicely rounding off his argument and in a sense, proving exactly the witness statement which he is championing. 

As far as non-fiction books go, I found A Life On Our Planet to be incredibly well-written, well-researched and with a voice which enables me to get on-board and believe the narrative the author is laying out. It is informative, without being excessively scientific and for me, struck the right balance between facts and personal opinion. His message is clear and it is a vital one which needs to be read.

I feel incredibly lucky to have seen Sir David Attenborough in person as part of an interview at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. To me, he has one of the most iconic voices (quite literally!) and influential expertise when it comes to discussing our natural world. 

There is no doubt that his early connections with the BBC have taken him on a life adventure that most of us can only ever dream of undertaking and have opened doors to places, peoples and sights not available to the rest of us. He himself admits that he would not be where he is today without the vast range of researchers and scientists behind him who do all of the crucial, technical aspects of the work; it is this humble approach and almost grandfatherly nature which see him adored by millions. 

In A Life On Our Planet, it feels like David Attenborough is using his lifetime of privilege, experience and notoriety to shine a light on a crucial matter that seeks to affect the very core of all life on Earth. 

Changes happening on a planetary level (sea temperatures warming, carbon in the atmosphere rising, ice-levels melting) are so abstract to measure and witness through day-to-day living. It is only now that the pace and rate of changes happening on our planet is being noticed and realised. It is only now that we can measure the impact of humanity’s presence on Earth through the last few centuries and predict an accurate timeline for the continuing rate of change in the future. That being said, the references to Chernobyl and Attenborough’s plee that we rewild the world brought one very recent event to the forefront of my mind.

The current global pandemic saw the world come to a pause and in that standstill of humanity, nature and the wild flourished. Canals in Venice ran so clear that fish and swans could be seen swimming in them (and even dolphins and an octopus!); skies were so blue and clear now that air quality had improved with the fall of emissions from roads and airways; seismologists recorded lower vibrations thought to be due to the lack of people moving around – it took a global pandemic to show us that nature and planet earth would thrive just as well without us!

Regardless of political agendas or personal beliefs, it is becoming evidently clear that our time for positive change is running out and it feels that it takes a guy like David Attenborough to write this book, make this plea and cry out how very close we are to the tipping point before people start to take notice.

This book needs to be read.

It is not long. It is not arduous. It is not confusing or taxing. What worries me most is that the place where change is needed the most, as Attenborough details, is the top tier of our societies – those people in power writing manifestoes, running governments, heading global corporations need to be held accountable and spearhead the campaign for change in order for the rest of us to be able to assist facilitating the change that is so desperately needed.

All creatures great and small live on this planet together and now we, as the supposed intelligent species that we are, need to work together to ‘rewild the world’ and make sure that it survives to see a new century and a new era.

I have to climb down off my soapbox now before this rant goes on forever and hits 1500 words but I can’t urge you enough to read this book! Even just a part of it – its message is so incredibly vital to the future of our planet and it will take an effort by every single one of us to make it happen.
Feel free to drop me a comment or ask me any questions about what else is in the book. This is a deep, yet important issue and I’m always happy to chat about it!

T xx

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Penguin – Ebury Publishing | Waterstones | Goodreads |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

#BookTag – Sunshine Blogger Award

Good morning Bibliofriends,

The lovely Ahaana at Windows to Worlds who tagged me in the Sunshine Blogger Award. I absolutely love this tag and the way that it changes with each person’s questions.

(1) Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
(2) Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
(3) Nominate 11 people and ask them new 11 questions.
(4) Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their posts.
(5) List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award in your post.

Ahaana’s Questions:

When did you start blogging?
I think I technically started blogging in 2017 when I was using a different blog title and identity called Cotswold Bookaholic. Blogging wasn’t something that really stuck back then and I couldn’t really find my blogging voice or purpose so eventually it fizzled until around 2019 when I relaunched as The Biblioshelf. 

Why did you start blogging? What made you?
I think I started blogging just to become part of a community and get involved. None of my family or friends enjoyed the types of books or even enjoyed reading as much as I did so I had to find other people to share that with! The blogging community has been so wonderful to me and I love that it is such an inclusive place to be a part of and share our love for all things bookish!

What’s your favourite part of being in the blogosphere?
Without a doubt, the amazing community and books, books, books! There are so many wonderful books and authors I’ve been introduced to because of the blogging community and for me that’s really the heart of why we’re all here in the great blogosphere!

What genres of music do you listen to? Any favourite artists/songs?
My iPod is so varied that a random shuffle can bring out Bob Marley followed by Dolly Parton, Eminem and Pavarotti. I don’t have one specific genre that I like listening to Florence + the Machine would definitely be my desert island discs or the discography that I’d be saving from a burning building. I’ve been on every tour and have every single album and remix going!

What’s your favourite book genre?
I think it has to be fantasy. It’s the one I gravitate to the most. There’s just something extraordinary about the magic, elves, witches, dragons and mythological creatures that make me wish I really did have a fictional worlds passport to escape reality on Earth sometimes.

Where’s your favourite place to read?
In bed or in the quiet, cosy spaces. I love the ideal of being able to read in coffee shops and things but I always get distracted by people watching so I need somewhere to read with minimal distractions as possible!

What do you dislike about blogging in general?
I sometimes wish I had the creativity to come up with lots of different posts and content rather than just keep posting tags, memes and reviews – that’s more of a personal goal rather than something I necessarily dislike. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it to.

Do you prefer dogs or cats?
I am definitely a dog person! I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a dog in our house. They’re like family and I’d hate to be without them!

Which book is closest to your heart? Why?
This one is so tough. I have a few books that make my ‘God-Tier’ and they include: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, The Throne of Glass Series and Ready Player One.
The most recent addition to this tier was The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwa because it absolutely stole my heart. I think it’s the way that Addie and Henry’s personalities, attributes and deepest desires reflected my own. They really resonated with me in a way that not many characters have ever done – so that book would have to be my pick! I love it so, so much!

What other hobbies/talents do you have besides blogging?
I have a large amount of useless knowledge and absolutely love pub-quizzes and gameshows. Before becoming a teacher, one of my hobbies was line-dancing (it’s where the country music influence comes in!) and I did choreograph some of my own dances which were published online.
Hobby-wise nowadays two sports I love watching and am involved in are Rugby Union and Horse Racing. I’m a member of both my local sports venues for those and am also an owner in several horse racing syndicates.

Do you have a pet? Or do you want one? Which one?
I’ve had so many pets over my childhood (chickens, ducks, geese, a rabbit, fish, greyhounds) but my all-time favourites are our dogs! We’ve had Cavalier King Charles Spaniels ever since I can remember – they’re more like family than pets!

My Questions
  1. What is your favourite type of blog post to write?
  2. Are you a mood reader or do you follow a set TBR?
  3. Do you have a ‘God-Tier’ of all-time favourite books and what is on it?
  4. Pick three authors to invite to a fantasy dinner party.
  5. What are your most anticipated reads for 2021?
  6. Do you have any special editions of books/series?
  7. What is the longest book you’ve ever read?
  8. Which season is your favourite and why?
  9. Have you ever DNF’d a book?
  10. Name the best thing you watched on TV/Film recently.
  11. If you had a spirit animal / familiar what form do you think it would take and why?

My Nominees

I’m rubbish at nominating people for things so I’m tagging YOU! If you feel like having a go at my questions for the Sunshine Blogger Award then consider yourself tagged! 😉

Happy Tuesday people!

T xx

#SixforSunday – Children’s Books That Would Make Brilliant Graphic Novels

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

We are continuing our Celebration of Children’s Books this November with a post today all about children’s books that would make brilliant graphic novels! Being totally honest, I don’t really read Graphic novels – they aren’t ever a genre that’s really been on my radar until recently so I must apologise to any authors/fans in advance if any of the following are already graphic novels!

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot.

Books That Would Make Brilliant Graphic Novels

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

I read this with my Year 6 Class as part of our steampunk topic and we absolutely loved it. Bunzl’s writing gave me such vivid images in my head of the world of Cogheart that I think it would be perfect for a graphic novel.

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Karen Millwood Hargrave

The setting and world-building in this book were so inventive that I’d love to see it in the imagery of a graphic novel.

Spies by Michael Frayn

I remember studying this in High School and I became so engrossed in the whole plot and the storyline. It would be nice to have this as a graphic novel so that I could dip back into it whenever I have time without reading the whole book all over again.

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders

I cam across the Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by pure coincidence but it’s another one where the world is so fun-filled and fabulous that I’d love to see someone draw it out in graphic novel form – just to see those decorative chocolate moulds!

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

I think I read Eragon on holiday and became so entranced with the whole idea of dragons hatching from eggs – it really reignited my love for fantasy fiction. The trouble I have is that I haven’t read the rest of the series yet and I can;t quite remember all of the crucial details from the story – having it in graphic novel form would give me the perfect recap so I can finish the Cycle!

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is one of those books where I have seen the film but haven’t yet read the book. The whole idea of being able to read a story into existence is so magical and I thoroughly enjoyed the film so much that I’d love to read a graphic novel version of it!

Which books would you want to be transformed into a Graphic Novel? What are some of your favourite graphic novels?
As always, leave your links below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#Friday56 – A Curse of Ash and Embers

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier. This was a really different style of witchy read and I loved the world building and magical characters created.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

I tried, I really did, but it was too late.
The black shadow moved faster than a thought. In an instant it was wrapped around me, and I was swept to an empty, dark place. Dark and cold, so very cold, a cold that felt like needles dragging over my skin, a cold that pierced me right to the heart.

A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier

If you’re a fan of slow-paced, dark and sinister fantasies with wickedly created villains and a gruelling fight between (a morally-grey) good and evil then you might find something to enjoy in A Curse of Ash and Embers. You can check out my full, spoiler-free review here.

Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

Biblioshelf Musings – A Curse of Ash and Embers

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Musings review comes from my first accepted ARC from Edelweiss! I’m still trying to get to grips with the system and formatting of the site but I was so thrilled to finally get off the mark with A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier. Many thanks to Edelweiss and the publishers at Harper Voyager for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book: A Curse of Ash and Embers by Jo Spurrier
Series: Tales of the Blackbone Witches (#1)
Genre: YA / Fantasy
Publication Date: November 3rd 2020
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 367
Rating: 📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.

Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.

When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

My Musings

Originally published in 2018 and set for rerelease on 3rd November 2020, A Curse of Ash and Embers forms as the first novel in The Blackbone Witches series by Jo Spurrier.

The world of the Blackbone Witches is by far my favourite part of this book. It is so cleverly created and is filled with really imaginative and fascinating forms of magic. I absolutely loved the wicked creatures and demons that were constructed out of bits of nature and old broken bones. They were ominously sinister, like something leaping right out of the horror genre and what’s more, they were believably scary and made me want to hide behind the sofa when our main characters were confronted by them. There is also a freakishly demonic tree (which I hope never to come across in my life!) and an adorably intriguing group of sprites which built up a wonderfully multi-layered world in my head.

The story is told from Elodie’s perspective, however I was much more interested in the parts of the story which were filled with Aleida, Attwater and Laurel. These are the magical creatures/beings around which much of the drama, action and magical elements within the story unfold. Aleida is mysterious and reminds me of those morally grey characters who aren’t necessarily good but aren’t all that bad either. Her presence offered a stark contrast to the rather homely and naive Elodie, through whose perspective the story is told. I felt like I was waiting for the arrivals and interactions of the otherworldly characters to brighten up the storyline and incorporate that fabulous world-building and magical antics into the plot, rather than just living through Elodie’s rather provincial life as housekeeper/assistant.

Because of that, I much preferred the final half of the book to the second half. At about halfway through, the plot and characters seemed to be fully established enough that the pace of the novel lifted as the drama and magic began to snowball. Beasts came out of the woodwork (literally), ghosts came back from the past with a vengeance and we were catapulted forward into what was really quite a darkly interesting and exciting magical world.

Overall, there were many things I enjoyed whilst reading A Curse of Ash and Embers. It offered me a rather different, enchanting world to explore with some really quite grizzly, foreboding villains. The struggle and harsh realities of the battle between good and evil was definitely felt through the storytelling and the wide range of magics and characters woven between the pages.

Why Should I Read This?

For an intriguing magical world filled with steampunk-esque ‘constructs’, a hellish witch-villain and ethereal sprites.
For the morally-grey Aleida who brings a new style to the idea of witch-kind.
For a cleverly crafted plot.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Harper Collins | Goodreads | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

#BookTag – The Netflix Book Tag!

Happy Tuesday Bibliofriends,

I saw this great tag on Witty and Sarcastic Book Club blog and as a recent Netflix convert I thought it would be the perfect post to do for Tag Tuesday! I was going to do a Book answer and a Netflix answer for each prompt but as I’ve pretty much been binging different seasons of the same TV shows, they mostly would have come out as the same!

Things I’ve been loving on Netflix: Money Heist, The Crown and The Umbrella Academy (almost finished that series) and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (it was so weird but so fun!).

Things I’m excited to watch soon: Emily in Paris, Enola Holmes and finally getting round to watching the Shadowhunters series!

Original credit for this tag goes to A Book Lovers Playlist

Recently Finished- the last book you finished

All the Wandering Light (Even the Darkest Stars #2) by Heather Fawcett – this series is really wonderful and the setting is so unique – loved it! 

Top Picks- A book that was recommended to you based on books you have previously read

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I still haven’t read it yet!

Recently Added- the last book you bought 

I bought several if that counts…? I never buy just 1 book at a time! 😂 And by several, I mean 5!
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Popular on Netflix- Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have no interest in) 

Two I’ve read are The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (AMAZING!!! 😍 – review here) and The Queen of Nothing (Folk of the Air Series) by Holly Black.

Two I have no interest in are finishing, these were much harder to pick! To All the Boys I Loved Before series – I only ever managed book 1 but it’s just not a series for me. Then maybe Daisy Jones and the Six – it just just doesn’t call out enough to me to buy it and read it even though I know lots of people have loved it.

Comedies- a funny book

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I listened to it as an audiobook and it was made even the more funnier by the incredible narrator Martin Jarvis! Loved it!

Dramas- a character who is a drama king/queen 

Dare I say Rhysand from ACOTAR series… if you know, you know! 😉

Animated- a book with cartoons on the cover

I don’t know if these count as cartoons in the traditional sense by Hag: Forgotten Folk Stories Retold has some freakishly sinister looking pictures on the front cover!

Watch It Again- a book/series you want to reread

Oh my, so many!
The Throne of Glass series – because I love it so much and I feel like I need to read it again slowly rather than just hurtle through it to find out what happens!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – because it’s my favourite book of the whole year!

Documentaries- a non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone 

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough. I recently finished this (review to come soon) but I think it’s so vital people read it. Yes there are some holes there and it has its issues and counter arguments like any political/global issue does but I feel that our planet, our animals and our environments need us to be the positive voice that protects them rather than carries on destroying them.

Action and Adventure- an action-packed book

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – The pages are packed with 80s references, Easter Eggs and pop culture. It’s one of my all-time favourites and could so easily have been in my ‘Watch It Again’ list! I’m eagerly awaiting Ready Player Two which is hopefully coming out later this month!

TAG – you’re it!! Feel free to have a go at this tag yourself and link it back to my blog if you want! Drop me a comment and let me know which Never Have I Ever you’d be most guilty of!

Have a great week friends!
T xx