Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire – a review

It’s time for book two in the Skulduggery Pleasant series!! As I mentioned in my review of book one, I’m re-reading these as part of the Dead Famous Readalong with the wonderful LadetteM, BookSanctum, ChaoticReader, and occasionally Emma!


It’s hard for me to review these impartially as the entire series is one that I love so much, so please do take my review with a wee pinch of salt. But of course I gave this 5 stars!

In this book we face a new enemy, with a new goal, and new bad guys along with him. We get idiotic zombies, stupid banter, and a lot of near misses with death. All of the usual!

As per this was such a fun romp through the magic filled streets of Ireland. I loved the breadcrumb clues that Landy was already dropping this early on in the series about what is to come in some pretty big reveals later on!

Despite this being a series aimed at kids (with a Middle Grade/ 8-12 intended audience, although this book is marked 9+ on the back of my edition) this is still so much fun to read as an adult. Yes it’s childish, but in such a fun way, and it’s also surprisingly dark and gruesome at the same time. Imagine a PG Deadpool and you’d be pretty spot on.

For my CAWPILE ratings I gave:

Characters: 9

Atmosphere: 9

Writing: 9

Plot: 9

Intrigue: 9

Logic: 9

Enjoyment: 9

for a grand total oooffffffffff, 9. Obviously. Which is of course a five star rating!!

Highlight here if you need trigger warnings: trauma, ptsd, spiders, gaslighting, violence, death, gore, murder, gun violence, religious fanaticism

I am ridiculously glad that I’m reading through this series again. I’m spotting so much that I forgot about or missed when I was younger that’s relating to the new books coming out (there’s one left to go!!!) and being able to chat on the live shows with the others about the plot is so much fun! Only me and Bekka have read the books before (up to the end of series 1) so we know everything that’s going on and it’s so much fun to watch the others try to figure it out!!

Have you read this series? If not? WHY NOT?! Seriously if you’re into dark humour you can’t do much better than this!

Bedlam: a scene of uproar and confusion, an apt title

The 12th book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, an awkward one to talk about! This is going to be a spoiler free review, for the whole series as well as this individual book, just in case people who’ve read none or some of the previous books want to read this. I gave this book 5* unsurprisingly and really loved it.

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For those uninitiated, the Skulduggery Pleasant series starts off following a tweenager called Stephanie after her Uncles funeral, a skeleton detective called Skulduggery Pleasant and revolves around magic in Ireland, hidden from the mortals. It’s an 8-12 book (Middle Grade for my North American audience), but is surprisingly violent so don’t expect it to be wishy-washy just cause it’s aimed at kids.

Book #9 was the end of the first part of this series, with a cover and tone change from then onwards. In book #10 we come back after Stephanie has been away for a few years (the least spoilery way I could write it!) and the series continues on from there. Now we’re up to book #12.

As always, this was a fast paced, high action, banter filled read that was a pleasure to pick up. We hop around various different viewpoints in order to best see all of the action and in each one of them Landy’s humour shines through, which is really a standout feature of this series. This book probably had one of the least amounts of Skulduggery featured, as well as having a very fast paced and multi-faceted action plot, so as far as I can tell from the less excited reviews on Goodreads these may be reasons that the latest book isn’t your favourite. But personally I was still highly invested, still enjoying myself and still highly anticipating reading the newly released Seasons of War!

If you’ve never read a Skulduggery Pleasant book I really do recommend giving them a go! I’ve never listened to the audiobooks myself but they’re narrated by an Irishman, lending authenticity to those unused to the accent, and you can listen to the whole first audiobook for free here!! (at least at the time of writing) so do you really have an excuse not to give this series a go?

Classic Western Fairy Tales

You’ve probably heard some of these tales before, but likely, they were a little sweeter. The Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen are known for their gory, not-for-kids, fairy tales, so when I saw this book compiling the both of them I knew I had to pick it up.

What I didn’t know when I purchased this book is that all of the authors changed the intensity of their stories over time. They started out writing for adults, and then when they received letters from parents complaining about the goriness they realised their stories were being told to children. It’s at this point that they started to tone down their tales. This does impact some of the stories, I was expecting horrific endings and some of the tales lived up to this, but many of them did not. So just be aware when you pick this up that they aren’t as bad as people make them out to be!

I did really enjoy seeing the base stories for many fairy tales and Disney stories which I’ve seen for years, and I also found it interesting that many of them don’t have any sort of moral attached to them. As this is a common feature of fairy tales when aimed at children.

This was a quick read, and one that I think you should go for if you’re even vaguely interested. These are the foundations of so many tales and stories in Western society and I personally think it’s really interesting to see their origin. I’d really like to pick up more origins of tales from a variety of cultures.

Comment down below any fairy tale stories you enjoy and whether you’ve read tales from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen!

Battle of Britain by Chris Priestly, a review

I hadn’t been expecting to re-read this any time soon, I originally read some of the “My Story” books when I was around 7/8 years old and really enjoyed them at the time but had no desire to re-read them again as an adult. However, the BookTubeAThon changed that! I was panicking and needed something quick and easy to read, so I picked this one up.

This series is all about teaching children about history, making it more personal to them by having our main character expressing themselves in the form of diary entries. This specific book follows a Spitfire pilot during the second world war and the trials, risks to life and grief that he goes through during this time. I feel like these topics are handled very well, in terms of making them appropriate for younger children. I remember feeling sad when reading this originally as a child, but I never felt like the information was too much for me and I was very glad to know more about the time period and felt a connection to our main character. When re-reading it, I was surprised that this was how I felt as a child as I had almost the same reaction as a 21 year old. It did make me realise that children can handle a lot more than I previously thought, which was an interesting conclusion to come to.

If you were thinking about getting this book, or others from this ‘series’, for your child then I definitely think you should give it a go. They have a good level of detail without going too far into the topics and can harbour an interest in history in your child!

A Place Called Perfect

Now lets be real, I picked this book up purely because of the beautiful and amazing cover. However, the insides definitely live up to the outsides! I ended up giving this book 4/5* and I can’t wait to read the sequel when it is released! Okay, now lets get into what it’s about.

So this book follows a young girl called Violet, as her and her parents are moving into a new town called Perfect for her fathers new job. She was already upset about leaving all her friends behind and going somewhere new, but then things in Perfect seemed to be a little… off. Her mother starts acting very weird, becoming the average suburban housewife where she had been a fun and casual mum. Her dad seems to have been whisked off by the Archer brothers and is nowhere to be found. To top this all off there is a mysterious entity that keeps bothering her, and she can’t see it!

This is a book which is aimed at the 8-12 age range (middle grade for you North American readers) but I fully enjoyed it as a 21 year old! There does seem to be a moral present, as there so often is in books aimed at younger readers, to not just accept what those in power are telling you but to look for yourself and decide what is right. I think this is a very important idea to instill in children, especially in this day and age with the news being reported very differently depending on where the outlets bias lies.

Overall, this is a very fun, engrossing and interesting read for many ages and I’ll definitely be recommending it to various people in the future. If you have found the synopsis interesting I definitely recommend picking it up and I can’t wait for book number 2 to be released!!