Biblioshelf Musings – The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

Hey Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings are about The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl. This book had me sold at ancient fairytale curses and an elite school setting so I was thrilled when my ARC request was accepted! It’s put me right in the mood for this spooky Halloween season!
Huge thanks to NetGalley, Laura Pohl and the publishers SourceBooks Fire for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.

Book: The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
Genre: Teens and YA / LGBTQIA+
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 (UK release: November 26th 2021)
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages: 400
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Once Upon a Time meets Pretty little liars.

Four troubled friends, One murdered girl… and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed.

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle.

This contemporary take on classic fairytales reimagines heroines as friends attending the same school. While investigating the murder of their best friend, they uncover connections to their ancient fairytale curses and attempt to forge their own fate before it’s too late. 

My Musings

My university dissertation was based around fairytales so I absolutely jumped at the chance to be able to review this book straight from the mention of ancient fairytale curses. The Grimrose Girls is a fast-paced adventure set in a highly prestigious boarding school; it gave me all of the dark academia vibes and its links to some of the more ancient, classic fairytales gave this story a powerfully dark and gripping atmosphere.

For me, the best thing I loved about The Grimrose Girls was that Laura Pohl sort to showcase the original fairytale stories in all of their dark, twisted glory and break the glass slipper mould of ‘Disney-fied Happy Endings’. From The Little Mermaid and Snow White to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the ancient curses connecting this group of characters revealed the origins of these stories in their most brutal forms. It was quite a refreshing take on a genre which I love so much.

The characters themselves were each intriguing in their individual ways. I had so much fun working out which fairytale fate each character was destined to take up, some were slightly more obvious than others. Through Yuki, Ella, Rory and Nani, we are given a range of identities and representations to connect to. Be it parental expectations, grief, sexual identity or just working out who the hell you’re supposed to be whilst growing up – there were plenty of cultural and lifestyle character facets here to bring about diversity amongst this group of girls. It was interesting to see the range of emotions each one went through as they dealt with the death of a friend and sought to reforge and re-establish their fractured friendships. Even though the setting isn’t actually a single-sex girls’ school and there a couple of male characters in the story, sometimes the catty dialogue and humorous interactions between the girls sent my mind right back to my own education at an all-girls’ school!

I have to admit, I wasn’t totally aware that this book was going to be a series when I first started reading so the cliffhanger ending right at the end was abrupt in the best possible way. Although one or two mysteries get solved within the final pages, there’s still so much more to come from this fantastic plot. I’m already eagerly awaiting the sequel as it feels like these girls are just getting started on their epic fairytale-debunking quest!

Why Should I Read This?

For the representation of original fairytales in all their twisted, brutal glory.
For a diverse range of fierce female characters who bond together to overcome an ancient evil.
For the dark academia vibes of The Grimrose Académie setting.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | | Goodreads | Author’s Website | Sourcebooks Fire | NetGalley

Connect with me here:

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

Biblioshelf Musings – The Violent Season by Sara Walters

Hey Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings are about The Violent Season by Sara Walters. I first heard about this book through the SourceBooks Fire newsletter. They included a brief sampler and after reading the blurb and the first chapter or so I requested an eARC through Netgalley which was thankfully approved!
Huge thanks to NetGalley, Sara Walters and the publishers SourceBooks Fire for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.

Book: The Violent Season by Sara Walters
Genre: YA / Thriller
Publication Date: October 5th 2021
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages: 320
Rating: 📚📚📚📖

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

An unputdownable debut about a town marred by violence, a girl ruined by grief, and the harsh reality about what makes people decide to hurt each other. The Violent Season is a searing, unforgettable, and thrilling novel that belongs on shelf with Sadie and Girl in Pieces.

Every November, the people in Wolf Ridge are overwhelmed with a hunger for violence–at least that’s the town rumor. Last fall Wyatt Green’s mother was brutally murdered, convincing Wyatt that this yearning isn’t morbid urban legend, but rather a palpable force infecting her neighbors.

This year, Wyatt fears the call of violence has spread to her best friend Cash–who also happens to be the guy she can’t stop wanting no matter how much he hurts her. At the same time, she’s drawn to Cash’s nemesis Porter, now that they’re partners on an ambitious project for lit class. When Wyatt pulls away from Cash, and spends more time with Porter, she learns secrets about both of them she can’t forget.

And as the truth about her mother’s death begins to emerge from the shadows, Wyatt is faced with a series of hard realities about the people she trusts the most, rethinking everything she believes about what makes people decide to hurt each other.

My Musings

When I first heard about this book, it sounded like an eclectic mix of The Purge mixed with a science-fiction worthy violence-virus which infected a town each November leaving a lot of devastation in it’s wake. In truth, the main focus of this book is really about the emotions and trauma we feel when we experience pain, hurt and suffering at the hands of the people we love, or even ourselves.

This novel definitely earns it’s place amongst the thriller section of the YA genre. We are led on a spiral of events and revelations which keep twisting and turning as the novel progresses. I kept coming up with little theories about who did what or which characters I could trust but then as the plot got deeper I found myself constantly changing my mind! The pace kept me on my toes right up until the very final pages and the ending left me with with a haunting sense of foreboding which is perfectly in-keeping with the upcoming spooky season.

As the leading character, the story is told through Wyatt’s perspective and everything that happens in the story we witness simultaneously through her eyes, emotions and actions. This made her narrative particularly powerful to me as the pain and suffering she experiences comes across so raw, brutal and honest. Some of the things that her character went through made me feel for her and at times I just had to stop and think about how some of these things are the harsh reality of life for people all over the world.

In places, you experience the flip-flopping of Wyatt’s personas – from that tough-girl stance of self-belief and personal empowerment, to the crippling feelings of anxiety and doubt that you put on yourself when you’re facing inner turmoil. Walters’ writing really communicated those feelings of suffering strongly enough to make me consciously feel them.

In some ways, Wyatt almost takes on the role of unreliable narrator too, which may seem odd given that I’ve just described her perspective as brutally honest – however… Wyatt’s recollection of her Mother’s death is hazy and some parts of it have been blocked out of her mind completely. As she gradually begins to remember more and and reconnect those lost memories, we also start to find out how she genuinely believes that there is some strange and mysterious sickness causing the season of violence each November. On the one hand you want to believe her, but then on the other hand – some part of you starts to doubt whether she’s not just creating a false narrative because she can’t bear the actual reality of the truth. The depth of Wyatt’s character is so wide that I think it’s the part of this book that I liked the most.

The relationship between Wyatt and Cash takes many turns during the course of the plot. I feel it’s safe to say that this is an extremely harmful relationship which comes with several trigger warnings. This is countered slightly through Wyatt’s reconnection with Porter who, although has secrets of his own, forms as the counter to Cash.

The Violent Season is a powerful standalone thriller which transforms an urban legend into the harrowing reality of just how deeply grief, trauma and violence can affect a person, especially when it is dealt out by the ones we love the most.

Why Should I Read This?

For a slightly unreliable yet brutally honest main character who transports you from her deepest pit of pain to a place of self-love and empowerment.
For the nod to Great Gatsby in the middle of the book.
For an interesting concept of how violence can be construed as a sickness.

Read a sampler:

You can read an excerpt of this book here:

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

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Biblioshelf Musings – Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is Black Flamingo by Dean Atta.
I heard so many amazing things about this book and when I heard that it was a novel in verse form, I knew I definitely had to read it!

Book: Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Genre: YA
Publication Date: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Pages: 368
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

This is not about being ready, it’s not even about being fierce, or fearless, IT’S ABOUT BEING FREE.

Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat and black heels.

One more step will see him illuminated by spotlight.

He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours …

Can he emerge as The Black Flamingo?

My Musings

The Black Flamingo is such a fantastic book. I’m a teeny-weeny bit obsessed with flamingos so I found the title itself incredibly intriguing – I just can’t believe it took me this long to actually get around to reading it! The verse structure was one of my favourite things about this book and is (in part) one of the contributing factors to its uniqueness. It really emphasised the poetic nature of Atta’s writing and complimented the pieces of poetry, written by the character Michael, which were dotted throughout parts of the story. Those poems really helped to express Mikey’s raw feelings and added a more private perspective of his character’s inner mindset – almost like a stream of consciousness. The illustrations also made it a brilliantly immersive read.

The coming of age element and transformation of the Michael’s character as he goes through the different stages in his life was poignantly written. His journey is fraught with obstacles and questions which he asks himself – mistakes he makes, stereotypes others put on him before he can really find out who he truly is and where he belongs. This raised awareness of many themes including race, poverty, lgbtqia+ and all of the chaos that comes with surviving high school, university and entering the real world.

The drag show towards the end of the story and Mikey’s transformation into the black flamingo is a real ‘butterfly coming out the cocoon’ moment. It has a real celebratory feel and the pride of the main character just leaps off he page as Mikey owns the stage with his feathers. The Fierce poem was a particular highlight as it speaks to everyone and is so relevant to all people regardless of their gender/racial status – we all want to be that little bit fiercer just like the idols he writes about in his poem. Incorporated into Mikey’s show was a whole host of real-world people and influencers who have contributed to the lgbtqia+ movement and the attention and awareness raised here was such a touching tribute.

I really enjoyed how Black Flamingo felt autobiographical but still retained the magic of fiction and poetry combined. It reminded me of a fantastic stage musical I once saw called Everyone’s Talkin’ About Jamie – the songs were so catchy and the whole storyline was incredibly uplifting.

Overall I loved everything about this book. From the message it conveys to the way it has been and all of the high heels, stardust and feathers in between – the Black Flamingo really is one multi-faceted gem of a read!

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | | Goodreads |

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Biblioshelf Musings – The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is about a fantastically rich, character and culture driven YA fantasy called The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. I first received this book as a physical ARC in June 2020’s FairyLoot box and it has taken me until now to finally get around to reading it – although what better time with its release date set for this week! With a premise of Children of Blood and Bone meets Black Panther, I definitely went in with high expectations and – there were definitely not disappointed!

Book: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Genre: YA / Fantasy
Publication Date: February 4th 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 432
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

My Musings

One of the 2021 reading goals I wanted to set myself was a quest to read more diversely. Spending so much time with my head in the pages of authors such as Cassandra Clare, Sarah J Maas and Holly Black was lovely (and great for my ‘modern fantasy must-reads’ game), but with more prominent and widespread news coverage about issues surrounding race and diversity – now was as good a time as any to kickstart my goal with The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna.

There were so many things I enjoyed whilst reading this book, but the biggest one by far was the group of characters. These girls were pulled together from all across Forna’s fictional kingdom of Otera and were made up of all different heritages, classes and backgrounds. I loved the way their friendship knitted together as they showed each other their vulnerabilities and then supported and empowered each other to become fierce, strong warriors. You can’t help but have empathy for these girls, especially people like Deka and Belcalis whose sufferings are so brutally told – then admire the loyalty people like Britta, Asha and Adwapa show to Deka even at a time when they may be unsure of her motives.

The beginning of the novel is pretty much atypical of other YA fantasies – you can see what is coming and where it’s going, but when the group of alaki (the girls whose blood runs gold) get to their training camp, the author really kicks things into gear and the story begins to unfold in a riveting fashion. I loved learning about the mythology surrounding the alaki and it was on the deathshriek raids where I found the world-building to be particularly strong – there were a couple of particularly amazing scenes in temples which really appealed to the wanderlust in me! 

In her author’s letter at the end of the novel, Namina Forna explains to the reader that this book is an examination of patriarchy. She outlines the questions that she wanted to try and answer through her narrative and boy-oh-boy did she deliver on them. This story is all about the idea of the ‘Goddess’ and how women have been continually supressed by a male-dominated world, practically forcing themselves to become monsters and demons just to survive. Whilst the sad reality is that this is probably a more true-to-life reflection of what some girls and women may face in cultures and civilisations left in today’s world, the incredible storytelling of the author has managed to address this in a creative and magical plot which provides an intriguing and interesting story.

After the ending, I’m still left with so many questions about where this story goes now. Whilst I could predict parts of what happened and what was revealed at the final showdown, I’m definitely intrigued and curious to see how the next instalment plays out and what else lies in store for Deka and her fearsome group of friends!

Why Should I Read This?

For a well-paces, character-driven plot where you can really get inside the mind of Deka, the MC.
For an empowering group of women who support each to overcome the stigmas and suppression enforced on them by the patriarchy.
For a lavishly dark, rich fantasy stepped in West-African culture and magic!

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

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

Biblioshelf Musings – The Island by C.L. Taylor

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings are all about a YA Mystery/Thriller set in a beautiful Thai paradise! Think phobias, secrets, lies and intrigue – this book definitely kept me on my toes and turning page after page. 

This is my first review since I can actually remember! To be honest, I wasn’t reading much towards the tail end of last year and even though my reading has picked back up again, I just haven’t been in the mood to really ‘review’ what I’ve been reading. The Island by C.L. Taylor was a Netgalley arc I received in October and read cover to cover within 2 days. It’s out tomorrow so I thought now would be the perfect time to upload and share my review. Huge thanks to NetGalley, C.L. Taylor and the publishers HQ for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book: The Island by C.L. Taylor
Genre: YA / Mystery
Publication Date: January 21st 2020
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Pages: 384
Rating: 📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

My Musings

When I read that this book was like Lost meets The Hunger Games – I was sold! The beautiful Thai setting was the perfect world for me to escape into when I wanted a reprieve from the cold, wintery landscape outside. I could practically see the crystal blue waters and hear the macaques and jungle birds as they drifted through the trees. 

Tropical paradise aside, it took me a little while to get to grips with who was who in the band of 6 main characters. The perspectives shift quite quickly which was a little confusing to start with but I soon got into the rhythm of it. The format definitely helped draw out the suspense because the actions and events were coming from changing viewpoints. It was tricky to decide which narrator/character was giving you the honest truth but that made me more invested in the story.

The Phobias each character had were a real plot driver to carry the story forward and reveal more clues about what was really going on compared to what was perceived to be going on. As each character had to face their phobia, you were able to whittle down who could possibly be the one behind all of the drama. Then particular events near the end have you not only questioning what you thought you knew already, but also questioning what you thought you had read. These little red herrings continue to mind-trick you into narrowing down the list of suspects and their motivations whilst also keeping you engrossed in the plot. It’s probably the setting and mystery that kept me turning the pages rather than the actual characters themselves.

References to grief, guilt and PTSD are dealt with sensitively in a way which doesn’t necessarily dive right into the traumatic heart of its core but still help to raise awareness of these conditions well enough for a teenage / YA audience.

In a way, The Island totally reminded me of Lord of the Flies in the sense that these friends are stuck on this beautiful island which seems to be filled with horrors caused by one of their own. It’s definitely the new Lord of the Flies for a modern YA generation. One thing which could be said about The Island is that it seemed (in my own mind) to be a bunch of fairly privileged teenagers on a paradise island almost bemoaning about their lot in life whilst at the same time struggling to reconnect with each other now that they’re getting older, growing apart and dealing with the aftermath of events which have led to mental health issues. If you’re looking for diversity and complex world-building then I’m not sure that this book will appeal to you, but if you’re looking for thrills, spills and a multi-layered mystery (with a hint of paradise!) then this modern day Lord of the Flies may be right up your street.

Why Should I Read This?

For a compelling mystery complete with shifting character perspectives and tropical island vibes.
For a dark, twisty set of phobias which come to life one by one.
For a layered plot filled with mind-tricks which will keep you flipping page after page.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Harper Collins – Listen/Read a Sample | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter | Author’s Website

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:

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Biblioshelf Musings – The Inheritance Games

Hello Bibliofriends!

I finally managed to make it into a real-live Waterstones shop a couple of weeks ago and came out with an absolute armful of books! I love those tables where they have the ‘buy one, get one half price’ deals (even though I miss 3 for 2 more). When I saw The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes on one of those tables, I knew I had to buy it as I’d read lots of great reviews from some of my fellow book bloggers!

Book: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: YA / Mystery
Publication Date: September 3rd 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 400
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

An utterly addictive and twisty thriller, full of dark family secrets and deadly stakes. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

She came from nothing. 
Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future.
Then an eccentric billionaire dies, leaving her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything. 
Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited. 
It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives – 
a family hell-bent on discovering why Avery got ‘their’ money.

Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all. 
Soon she is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing.
But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

My Musings

There’s no doubt about it, if you liked the film Knives Out then there is a 99.9% chance that you’ll end up loving this book! It gave me so many flashbacks and feelings that led me to draw so many parallels between the two. 

I loved the way that Avery entered into the family and the inheritance as a complete unknown. My quizzical mind was already trying to find the breadcrumb trail of clues and solve the puzzles before they were revealed by the author – and on the whole, my attempts mostly backfired (except for one aspect, but that may be because I am a huge fan of Mr. Stink by David Walliams and I couldn’t help but associate two specific parts of both those books together).

Avery is a really easy character to get along with. The opening scene immediately made me like her and I enjoyed reading the story unfold from her perspective. Those Hawthorne brothers… 👀Having four of them brought lots of fun to the story as each of them had their own unique dynamic which would have been just too much for one or two other main characters to handle on their own. I have to admit, I did enjoy the very incredibly light love triangle that seemed to be hinted at, without it ever being really carried out. 
On the whole, I think each of the characters were developed well, giving me enough information about them to get to know them as part of the story, but not too much that it detracted away from the main plot. 

I am such a nerdigan for anything involving a treasure hunt, riddles, quizzes, puzzles or games of any variety so the premise of The Inheritance Games was right up my street. I’m so used to those ‘high stakes’ kind of mysteries and conspiracies such as Dan Brown and Scott Mariani, that I feel I would have liked a few more challenges within the story, but I guess it’s definitely a YA version of a mystery as opposed to something which is geared up to a more adult audience.This was such an enjoyable read for me that I read the whole thing in under 24 hours – I can’t quite remember the last time that happened! It was an incredibly fun read and the ‘big reveal’ at the end leads it nicely on the sequel which I am very much looking forward to reading.

Why Should I Read This?

For an intriguing mystery and gradually-revealed plot that will have you devouring page after page.
For Avery, who proves that smart girls have courage and integrity and can still come from disadvantaged/challenging backgrounds.
For a manor house filled to the brim of exciting clues and puzzles waiting to be solved.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Penguin | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

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

Biblioshelf Musings – Given to the Earth

Hello Bibliofriends,

I read Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis (book 1 in this duology) when it came out back in 2017. It was one of the first books I ever received in my FairyLoot subscription and I became totally enamoured with the world featured in the story. As part of my 2020 reading mission to finally tick off some of those unfinished series, Given to the Earth was put on the August TBR list.

I originally intended to reread the first book in the series before attempting the finale however, with many books piling up on my shelves I settled for just reading the last few chapters of book one before embarking on the sequel. Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead for Given to the Sea, so if you haven’t read that yet and intend to… approach with caution!

Book: Given to the Earth
Series: Given Duology
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genre: YA | Fantasy
Publication Date: 10th April 2018
Publisher: Putnam’s Childrens
Pages: 368
Rating: 📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa’s marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she’s untouchable. But being Queen hasn’t stopped her heart from longing for the King’s stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn’t stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.

While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra’s leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri. 

As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.

My Musings

OK, first off I feel like I need to address the elephant in the room with this series: the narration.
The Given duology is told from the perspectives of around 6 different characters. Some of the characters have 1st person narration so we read the chapter directly through their eyes; the rest feature third person narrations and we witness the events as an outsider to the story. Although there are character headings at the start of each chapter, there is no pattern as to who talks when and the constant flipping between narrative voices has been a bone of contention between some readers. For me, I wasn’t particularly bothered or distracted by this. Did it make me feel more distanced and less connected to some characters…? Yes, especially coupled with such short chapters. However, it clearly wasn’t enough to put me off reading this sequel and finding out how the story set up in Given to the Sea ended.

The main reason I liked this duology was for three very specific creatures/beings that form part of Given’s world.
> The Tangata cats are vicious and travel in packs called clowders. They are feared by many but the feature of one Tangata cat was a particularly memorable aspect of the story.
> The Indiri are a race of people, of which only the twins Dara and Donil remain. They have spotted skin like that of leopards and have magic that can connect with the earth and nature. I found them to be really intriguing characters and it was Dara’s narrative that I was especially drawn to in this sequel. Her journey, after the events of the first book, leads her upon an unexpected path which kept me guessing as to how it was going to be resolved.
> Finally, the Hadundun trees which soak spilled blood from the earth and have razor sharp leaves were such curious additions. It is their role within the story that ends up shaping certain character’s actions and consequences.
It is these creations which mostly drew me into this series and made me want to read until the very end. Their presence makes the vaguely medieval-style setting come alive and is one of my favourite aspects of the whole duology.

The plot itself was fairly straightforward. In dealing with the aftermath of the events from book 1, the characters now need to find a way to either deal with the consequences or find an escape. At first, this seems like a fairly simplistic trajectory, but typical complications along the way result in a tension-building, action-packed resolution with some shocking twists that I wasn’t quite expecting! There is tragedy, which I probably would have been more heartbroken over had I built a deeper relationship with the characters, but it still feels as if the author was prepared to take some risks with how certain characters fared during the ending of this series and I have respect for McGinnis in doing that.

Overall, Given to the Earth was a very satisfying end to a series which keep me guessing and entertained until the very end.

Why Should I Read This?

For: intriguing creatures and beings which make a plain(ish) world quite unique.
For: a love triangle where you genuinely don’t know which one you’re really rooting for.
For: a fulfilling and enjoyable (and in one case – brave!) ending to a series.

If you enjoyed Given to the Sea then you’ll probably be content with the ending to this series. It’s a hard duology/book to review and describe – a little vanilla, but the good kind…with the bean, and I definitely like it!

Find out more about this book here:

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#SixForSunday – Favourite Characters in a Series

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

I can’t believe we are nearly at the end of May. It seems that so many things have happened this month yet it has been relatively chilled at the same time.

This week’s Six For Sunday is all about my favourite characters in a series. I am a massive fan of all of the big-name series out there which made it slightly difficult to pick just one favourite so there may be a few ‘special mentions’.
For those who don’t already knowSix for Sunday is a weekly list-based meme created by Steph @ALittleButALot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme.

  • Severus Snape (Harry Potter)
    There should be absolutely no surprises here. He is dark, complex, sneaky and loyal and although many people disagree, I still resolutely champion him as a flawed hero.
  • Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass)
    When she was first introduced there was no way that I would ever say Manon was my favourite character, but as the series developed and the layers of her character unfolded, she really grew on me. The kinship she had with her coven and her dragon Abraxos was endearing even thought you knew that she had a heart shrouded in steel. Such a great character to read about.
  • Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)
    What a character arc this guy goes on. I mean, Ian McKellan’s portrayal of him in the films is one of my key reasons for choosing him rather than the writing of him but for me he is one of the greatest wizards in literature.
    Special mentions from this series must go to: Arwen, Aragorn, Eowyn, Elrond… perhaps just everyone (apart from Saruman obvs!)
  • Nina Zenik (Six of Crows)
    There was so much I loved about Nina’s character. I especially loved how the relationship between her and Matthias’ unfolded. For someone who could be pictured in a superficial way, she had so much depth of character that you knew never to underestimate her by her appearance or looks alone.

    “No, I don’t mean in the big ways.” Nina’s eyes took them all in. “I mean the little rescues. Laughing at my jokes. Forgiving me when I was foolish. Never trying to make me feel small. It doesn’t matter if it’s next month, or next year, or ten years from now, those will be the things I remember when I see you again.”

  • AIDAN (The Illuminae Files)
    Now AIDAN isn’t necessarily on here because I champion him as a character – in a way he can be seen as one of the villains of the series. The reason he makes my list is because of his sheer audacity and resolve. He’s one of the most unique characters I’ve come across and definitely deserved his place on my favourites list.
  • Cassian (& Azriel) (ACOTAR)
    These guys have bromance down to a tee. They’re such a pair that I couldn’t separate them from my favourites list. I love the humour they bring the tale and they way they support the rest of their group. They bring some pretty special moments to the series and I love them for it.

There we go, tell me your series faves! Here’s your change to fangirl/boy about them! Are there any of my characters that you just can’t stand? As always, leave your link below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx



#SixForSunday – Series I’m Dying To Read

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

Well this weekend has seen a first for me – I celebrated my birthday in Lockdown on Friday! 🎉🎈🎂 It was quite strange not to be able to physically go out and spend time in the sunshine with family and friends as I normally would, but thankfully the joys of technology still enabled me to catch up with them and celebrate.

As a treat to myself and from birthday money generously gifted from family, I went on an almighty book splurging binge! I’ll be doing a haul post at a later date but let’s just say that all the space I cleared out from getting rid of the books I’ll never read again has quickly been filled!

That brings me onto this week’s Six For Sunday prompt which is ‘series that I wish I could get into’. There are loads of series I haven’t been able to getting round to starting purely because I can’t keep up with having so many different ones on the go at once. Here are the ones that I’m dying to read after I’ve finally finished the ones I’ve currently got on the go. Heading links should go to the series page on Goodreads.
For those who don’t already knowSix for Sunday is a weekly list-based meme created by Steph @ALittleButALot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme.

  • Nevernight – I feel like there’s so much hype surrounding this series and after loving The Illuminae Files I really want to explore this trilogy. Something tells me I may need to fully concentrate on it which is why I’ve been so hesitant at picking it up.
  • Shades of Magic – For the exact same reasons as above, the Shades of Magic series is one that I really have to pick up very soon. I’m really intrigued to see all the different versions of London and can’t wait to get into this world.
  • His Dark Materials – I read the first book Northern Lights as a child and to be honest, although I remember the gist of the story, I really want to go back to the very beginning so that I can finally read the next instalments. Especially as his newer works in this cycle have been widely praised.
  • Crescent City – This book is now finally sitting on my shelf (birthday treat!) and I know I’ve been saying that I’m holding off starting new series, I don’t think I have that much resoves when it comes to new SJM material.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy – I’ve been recommended this series so many times and there is a very exclusive set of this trilogy coming out very soon which I am keeping everything crossed that I can get my hands on!
  • Children of Blood and Bone – Yet another hyped up series that’s on my list and seems to offer something really dark and different!

There we go, what series are you waiting to buy or get started on? Do you have any anticipated series debuts coming out later this year? As always, leave your link below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx