Thursday, 30 June 2022

Book Review | A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin | prettylittlewriter

‘When Kitty Talbot is jilted by her fiancé three months before their wedding, the future looks dark. Without his fortune to pay off her late father's gambling debts, she and her four sisters face certain ruin. 
But Kitty has never backed down from a challenge, so she leaves the countryside and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of Regency England: The London Season. 
The aim is simple: find a wealthy bachelor to wed in order save the Talbot family from destitution. 
Kitty is neither accomplished nor all that genteel, but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with her father's gambling spirit, Kitty knows that risk is just part of the game. What she doesn't anticipate is Lord Radcliffe, elder brother of the deliciously wealthy Archibald de Lacy. Radcliffe sees Kitty for the fortune-hunter that she really is, and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs...’ 
This is one of the easiest 5 stars I’ve ever given to a novel, especially one of the Regency era.

Sophie has really outdone herself with this novel, and you can tell so much research was done to keep the story accurate to the era.

Kitty is a brilliant heroine, full of passion, kindness and dedication to her family that leaves me in awe. At times, she can be seen as cold and calculated, especially in the eyes of Radcliffe, however, her determination to not allow her sisters to fall into squalor is her only motivation. She even contemplates marrying some absolutely grotesque men, of whom she would never wish to marry under normal circumstances.

Before going into the novel, I knew there would be some form of romance, but I did not initially expect it to be between Kitty and Radcliffe, as they seemed to have complete distain for each other. Once they were spending more time together however, you could see that they are very similar characters, and almost made for each other. I definitely enjoyed this slow-burn romance, probably slightly more than other Regency novels, such as the Bridgerton books, mainly because I felt the novel has much more action and a better plotline, and not just waiting for Kitty to fall in love and marry which I find the Bridgerton books are like.

Some of the anecdotes and quips that Kitty and even Radcliffe come out with are very witty, and their banter was just perfect! It really made me fall for Radcliffe, and he reminded me a lot of the TV version Anthony from Bridgerton.

If you’re looking for a modern-day Jane Austen style novel, I would definitely recommend you pick this one up! Absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait for the 2nd novel!

ps. How beautiful is this special edition copy from Illumicrate?!

5/5 stars

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Book Review | The Retreat by Sarah Pearse | prettylittlewriter

'An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumored to be cursed.
Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.
When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . .’

Well, Sarah has impressed me yet again! Her first novel, The Sanatorium, was eerie, clever and full of tension, and I wasn’t sure how she could top it, but she has definitely done that with The Retreat!

When Elin arrives at The Retreat to investigate what seems to have been an accidental death, more bodies are found and you are left wondering who and why they are killing their victims.

Sarah delves into Elin’s life a little more, including her anxiety around returning to work and the pressure she feels to succeed, which really adds depth to her character and makes you feel that bit closer with her. We also get introduced to Will’s sister (Elin’s boyfriend) Farrah, and see the interaction between all three characters, with a little suspicion also thrown in.

One thing I will say about the character of Will is, I don’t really like him. I feel that he is selfish and doesn’t think about Elin and how she must be feeling when she’s had some tough issues to deal with in her job. I actually think she should leave him and date her partner, Steed!

There are quite a few coincidences in this novel, with certain guests having major ties to the retreat, which get you thinking that one of them must be the killer.

I was definitely surprised when the character I thought it would be was completely innocent!

We also see more from Elin’s stalker (as introduced in the epilogue of The Sanatorium) in the way of quite scary tweets to her police district. I’m really intrigued as to where that story is going, but I hope that Sarah doesn’t keep us waiting too long to find out!

Finally, there is a second twist near the end, which I thought I’d guessed at one point, but then I ended up being wrong! I always enjoy it more when I’ve been proven wrong!

Overall, a brilliantly clever, twisty and eerie thriller, which I would definitely recommend to any ‘locked in’ location thriller!

4.5/5 stars

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Book Review | Book Lovers by Emily Henry | prettylittlewriter

'Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.'
This is probably one of the best rom-com novels I've read to date. Henry has perfected that comfortable and cosy vibe with one of the best book boyfriends that will now be the standard for me with every book boyfriend going forward (Charlie is THE best!).

I haven't read any of Emily's previous novels, but as this has been hyped up so much recently, I picked this one up first and I was not disappointed in any aspect, at all. 

I love the fact that its all about Nora hating the stereotypical trope of girl/guy goes to small town, saves a business and falls in love and doesn't believe it happens in real life, and then, although in a slightly different way, this is exactly what Book Lovers is about.

Nora's character was so likeable, I loved how much she loved her sister Libby, and she would do absolutely anything to make sure she has her happiness, even at the cost of her own! Watching her fall in love with Charlie as the chapters went on was so heart-warming, sweet and filled me with pure happiness. 

Quite often within romance novels, there is some form of miscommunication that throws the romance off and splits the characters apart, but we don't have that here. Both characters are completely honest with each other throughout, with some slight omissions from each other occasionally, but it all still flows comfortably and most importantly, they show each other so much respect. 

If you like a romance novel, you NEED to read this! I really hope someone picks this up and makes it into a movie (I could definitely see it done by Hallmark!).

5/5 stars

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Book Review | Her Majesty's Royal Coven by Juno Dawson | prettylittlewriter

'Hidden among us is a secret coven of witches. They are Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. They protect crown and country from magical forces and otherworldly evil. But their greatest enemy will come from within.

There are whisperings of a prophecy that will bring the coven to its knees, and five best friends are about to be caught at the centre. Life as a modern witch was never simple … but now it’s about to get apocalyptic.'
This is the first book I've read from Juno, and my god it's a brilliant one. The premise is brilliant, a secret undercover Witch Coven within the UK that works with the Government? Yes please! (what I'd give to have this be real life!). 
The world building was perfect, I understood every aspect of the world, including the part HMRC had to play and how each character would fit into the story. 

The friendship within this novel is brilliant. Each and every character (minus Helen) is wonderful, and heart-warming and joyous. Niamh is my favourite, and I was rooting for her to be with Luke and I absolutely adored how insanely protective she was of Theo. 

What I loved the most about this novel is how brilliantly queer it is. Before going into the novel, knowing the author is trans, I was expecting to see an element of it within the story, but Juno brings it to the forefront of the novel, with transphobia being the main antagonistic part of the story, which is incredibly clever and brilliant. 
Juno also tackles racism within the novel with the character of Leonie, who is a lesbian black woman, and although Juno isn't black herself, she deals with the topic with sensitivity and inclusivity. 

The book is quite long, over 400 pages of thrilling drama, but I devoured it quickly as I was desperate to find out how it would end!

The only thing I didn't like about the novel is that it ends on a cliff-hanger, so now I'm gutted and not so patiently waiting for the next one! 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed and I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves stories about witches, friendship and queerness! 

Ps. How absolutely INSANE is this Fairyloot edition from their adult subscription box?! 
5/5 stars