🎅🏻December TBR!🎅🏻

It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaasss!!! Or at least it’s December. Look I’ve waited until December started and we’ve all had such a bad year that we deserve to enjoy something! But yes, this means it’s time for my final tbr of 2022! 😲

In the twist of the decade I’ve actually kept this months list short so let’s dive in!

First up are the book box books. Goldsboro GSFF box for this month with be The Immortality Thief by Taran Hunt which is another Sci-Fi book. 100% here for squeezing in some more Sci-Fi before the end of the year! And Illumicrate is giving us The Luminaries by Susan Dennard as a Daphne Press book. I’m excited to finally try out some of Dennard’s writing!

Then onto the books I already own. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang is the last book on my “12 in 2022” instagram list, where I had people pick 12 books for me to read this year. After adoring Babel I’m so so excited to dive into more of Kuang’s writing! A Chinese history inspired political fantasy? Exciting!

The Spear of Truth by Caroline Logan was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and I need to get to it before the year is out! This is the final book in the Four Treasures series which follows a grumpy grandpa of a young girl who is coerced into being a bodyguard for some selkies! Scottish mythology combined with YA fantasy and I adore the series. I’m so excited and so nervous for this series to end!

My boyfriend adores the Discworld series, and yet after I’ve moved in with him I’ve not read a single Discworld book! So Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett is going on my December tbr. This series is a classic in the fantasy world and I’m excited to dive back into the madness!

The final book on my tbr is a reread, and that is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I’m going to be getting the train to my parents house on Christmas Eve, and this seems like the perfect travel read for the season!

That’s only 6 books! Six! That’s the smallest tbr I’ve made in ages! I won’t lie, it was surprisingly hard, and I had another 5 books that could’ve been added to the tbr. But I really want to be reasonable this month and not give myself too much to read.

What’s on your final tbr of the year? What do you need to get to before New Years Day?

The Sword of Light, a review

The Sword of Light by Caroline Logan is the third book of four in the Four Treasures series. A Scottish YA Fantasy series that I absolutely adore. I was lucky enough to be gifted this book by Cranachan Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

With where Logan left off at the end of book two there was a lot to live up to, and boy did she manage it! There is even more (amazing) character development here, not only from those that we’ve been following in books one and two, but also from the new characters we’re introduced to.

We explore the world even further in this book, travelling around via submarine (yes, submarine) to so many different locations and meeting so many people through the Isles of Ossiana.

As you know, I’m writing this review a while after I actually read the book (I read this at the start of October 21) and it’s being published only a day after my review of book two (which you can find here) so there isn’t too much more that I can say without delving into spoiler territory.

For My CAWPILE rating I gave this book: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 10 which gives a 9.29 rating and a 5* read!

This book was amazing. The cliffhanger has left me on the edge of my seat, I adored all of the character development (I stg if Maalik and Angus don’t stop being absolute imbeciles), and I am ridiculously excited for book four and absolutely furious that I’ve got to wait until October! Although I guess that’s my 26th Birthday present sorted!!

The Cauldron of Life, a reivew

The Cauldron of Life by Caroline Logan is the second book in the Four Treasures series and was gifted to my by the lovely Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit (who also gifted me book one). I’m so so glad that I was finally pushed to read this!

As you probably know, I loved the first book in this Scottish YA Fantasy series written by a Scottish author (see my review of that one here!) and I was super excited to delve into book two. It didn’t disappoint! Literally I have a singular complaint about this book (that one plot point moved a little too fast for my personal preference) and that is it. Other than that this book was perfection.

The writing is gorgeous and very easy to read which keeps you hooked right into the story, and the worldbuilding in this book built even further on that of book one and added so much depth to the world! Logan intertwines real world mythology into the fictional one with such beauty. The characters continue with great development too, both between each other and on their own. They were split up for large parts of this book and whilst I really missed the banter that occurs with all of them together it was still amazingly handled.

We have a new main character in this book, by the name of Maalik, and I think Logan writes his plot line with skilled hands. Its a concept that I’ve seen done before, and most of the time done badly, but Logan handles it (imo) to perfection. The perfect balance to bring the story right to where it needs to be without shoving elements into the readers face or making unbelievable circumstances.

On CAWPILE I rated this book: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 10, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 10, Loic: 9, Enjoyment: 10. That gives a score of 9.57 and is (obviously) a 5* read!

This is a fantastic second book and I was so so excited to delve into book three very soon after this one! As in… it’s gunna be my next review 😂 I really couldn’t wait this book was fantastic. If you like YA fantasy then I highly recommend picking this series up.

The Stone of Destiny, a review

After seeing Caitlyn, Connor, and Eleanor raving about this (and after Caitlyn forcefully gifting me it, as she knows that’s the best way to get me to read anything) I picked up The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan and I’m so glad that I did!!

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This is a YA fantasy which utilise Scottish folk lore, with this first book focusing on Selkies. Mystical folk who can turn between seal and human at will. Our main character, however, is a 19 year old teen who acts like a grumpy old grandpa and it is my favourite thing.

I adored this book, so so much. Ailsa rescues two selkies, brother and sister, from an attack of bloodthirsty raiders. From then onwards a bond is formed between the trio, and she travels with them as a guard to the capital city where the Prince has a request of the selkies.

The characters in this book? They’re utterly fantastic. So so so so good. Our main character Ailsa is so grumpy and so lovable and so strong! And our selkies? They’re mystical and magical and ethereal, but also so down to earth and relatable!

And the plot? Of course I don’t want to tell you too much cause Spoilers but I was so invested in the travelling that the groups did across this fantastical Scottish landscape. We got to see so much of the worldbuilding by Caroline Logan which is done so beautifully and really plays into the beautiful, wet, reality that is Scotland.

For my CAWPILE rating I gave this book:

Characters: 9

Atmosphere: 8

Writing: 8

Plot: 8

Intrigue: 9

Logic: 9

Enjoyment: 9

Which gives an overall 8.57 which is a high 4 star rating!! If you can’t tell. I love this book. So so much. And I’m so excited to carry on in the series!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: child and baby death mentioned, violence resulting in injury and death, minor body horror

If you enjoy fantasy books I really do recommend picking this one up. It’s a YA book, aimed at teens, but it can definitely be enjoyed by an older audience looking for a less graphic fantasy than is prevalent in the adult sphere (don’t get me wrong, I love both!) and I’m looking forward to more of the same in book two!

10 books, 10 countries

Whilst we’re stuck in *current situations* travel seems like a distant dream to most of us. Especially international travel. So I thought it could be fun to talk about travelling the world in books!! Here are 10 books which take place outside of England and the US, which are the most common places for books popular on the internet to be set. (there’s also no Aussie books on this list because I HARP on about my Aussie faves enough as it is!)

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Amazon.co.uk: Kawaguchi, Toshikazu,  Trousselot, Geoffrey: 9781529029581: Books

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi – translated

This book is set in Japan and written by a Japanese author!

We rotate around a coffee shop which has the ability to sent you back in time, but only within limited confines. This is such a beautiful and heart wrenching book and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra: Baby Ganesh Agency Book 1  (Baby Ganesh series) eBook : Khan, Vaseem: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

This book is set in India and written by a British Indian author!

This is such a fun cosy mystery and I adore this series. Our main character is a retired police officer who is bequeathed a baby elephant in his uncle’s will! And that elephant of course has a big part in the plot!

The Silver Mine by Selma Lagerlöf

The Silver Mine by Selma Lagerlof – translated

This book is set in Sweden and written by a Swedish author!

This teeny tiny book follows a mining town which discovers a seam of valuable minerals and how they react to this. It’s delightful.

The Stone of Destiny: A Four Treasures Novel (Book 1) (The Four Treasures)  : Caroline Logan: Amazon.co.uk: Books

The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan

This book is set in Scotland and written by a Scottish author!

This book focuses around the Scottish folk lore of Selkies, seals who can turn into human beings, and a rough and gruff young girl who is isolated from the rest of society. It’s delightful!

Skulduggery Pleasant #1: Skulduggery Pleasant - Scholastic Kids' Club

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

This book is set in Ireland and written by an Irish author!

A skeleton detective and a teenage girl run around Ireland, solving magical mysteries and being completely badass. As we all know, I adore this series more than life itself. How could I not include it?!

Long Walk To Freedom Book Summary (PDF) by Nelson Mandela - Two Minute Books

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

This book is set in South Africa and written by a South African author!

This is Mandela’s memoir, so it is deep and it’s long, but it’s a fantastic read. I actually read 500+ pages of this book all in one day. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know. But I’m not complaining! A wonderfully written memoir.

The Gilded Ones (Gilded, 1) : Namina Forna: Amazon.co.uk: Books

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

This book is inspired by West Africa and written by an author from Sierra Leone!

The first book on this list that I’ve not read yet. Blood that runs gold or red. An unequal society. Girls and woman fighting for equality. Yes. Just yes.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi | Waterstones

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This book is set in Ghana and written by a Ghanaian author!

This book follows two sisters on different paths and how their descendants live. One stays in Ghana living in luxury, and the other is enslaved and shipped to America where her children and grandchildren are destined to be raised in slavery. I definitely need to read this.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This book is set in Botswana and written by a Zimbabwean author!

I feel it is important to point out this book is written by a white man. But he’s born and raised in Zimbabwe and Botswana. This appears to be a cosy mystery vibe and I’m very excited to get around to this series at some point! I love cosy mysteries with a twist!

The Star of Kazan : Ibbotson, Eva: Amazon.co.uk: Books

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

This book is set in Austria and written by a British author who was born in Austria!

This last book goes back to one I have read. I adored this book as a child following a young girl who was abandoned at a church as a baby. She’s raised lovingly in the slave quarters of a house but one day her birth mother returns for her. But things in her new-found family aren’t quite as they seem. I love it so much and as always with Ibbotson’s writing it’s beautiful.

And there you have it! 10 books set in countries that you might not read as much from! Have you read any of these? And what books set outside of the US and England do you recommend?!

Indie Authors!

Tell me about indie authors you love!!

As soon as you mention indie/self-published/small press authors there are two that spring to mind.

The one I discovered first is AB Endacott who writes the fantastic Legends of the Godkissed Continent. I read Queendom of the Seven Lakes from NetGalley. I picked it up on a whim after the orange cover sparked my interest and I LOVED it. So much so that after harping about it on social media so much Alice offered to send me an eARC of the second book in the duology to review! There began my absolute adoration for the series as the second book added so much depth into this world and answered so many questions whilst still leaving me wanting more!

It’s an absolutely amazing YA fantasy series, written by a self published Australian author who is an absolute delight and I will continue to buy each and every one of her books. They’re written so wonderfully and I’m able to complete immerse myself in her world.

The second author is Caroline Logan, who writes the wonderful Four Treasures novels. This was recommended to me by Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit, and I saw some other Scottish booktubers reading and enjoying it as well so I knew I needed to pick it up! Caitlyn saved me the trouble by gifting me the book (the most secure way of forcing me to read anything) and I’m so incredibly grateful that she did because this book is god damn great.

I’ve only read one book in the series so far but I already adore how she’s skewing gender norms, playing with Scottish folk lore, and generating in depth details about the world, the characters, and their relationships, and I am SO excited to continue on in the series! This is another YA fantasy series that should be so much more well known!!

Let me know if you’ve read anything from either of these authors, and recommend me other indie authors that you love!!

First Lines Friday #6

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

Ailsa tilted her head towards the sky and let the rain wash away the blood from her face and arms. The sun still had an hour before it would sink below the horizon. It had been a fortuitous day. Not only had she managed to get a fire started in the damp cave-mouth in less than two minutes, she had also stumbled upon a deer that had fallen to its doom over the cliff edge; its neck twisted.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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The Stone of Destiny: A Four Treasures Novel Book 1 The Four Treasures:  Amazon.co.uk: Caroline Logan: Books
The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan

Gifted to me by the wonderful Caitlyn J Bolton at Mad Cheshire Rabbit for my birthday, this middle grade fantasy is one that she has been hyping to the skies and I can’t wait to see what I think of it! It is over 400 pages but with quite a large font and a middle grade target audience I’m hoping it won’t take me too long to get through!