Monday 10 October 2022

Book Review | The Magpie Society: Two For Joy by Zoe Sugg & Amy McCulloch | prettylittlewriter

Audrey and Ivy, determined to bring their fellow student Lola Radcliffe's killer to justice, find themselves in the middle of another mystery when a friend disappears in suspicious circumstances.

Their only clue is a mysterious card left by the enigmatic Magpie Society. With time running out and the police baffled, Audrey and Ivy must delve deeper than ever into the dark secrets that their school is hiding.

But someone is playing a deadly game. And to beat them, Audrey and Ivy have to start rewriting the rules...’

This has been another read that I’ve had an my TBR for almost a year now and I’ve only just managed to get round to reading it! As spooky season is nearly upon us, I thought it fit quite nicely in with my reads for the season!


I did enjoy this book, it was a very easy read with an interesting and gripping storyline that kept me wanting to read it as fast as I could to see how it ended! I did manage to guess who was behind the Magpie Society, so although it wasn’t a surprise to me, it was still a very interesting way to take it!


I will say however, that this novel didn’t seem as well thought out as the first book, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first. It felt very choppy and a little bit all over the place, and didn’t read seamlessly like the first novel. I’m unsure whether this is due to constraints by the authors as they were writing it during a pandemic (plus Zoe was pregnant at the time too), but it certainly wasn’t as good as the first in my opinion.


Throughout both novels I never liked the character of Ivy, and I did feel that the chapters written from her perspective were a little false due to how the novel ends (if you read it, you’ll understand what I mean by this), so I enjoyed Audrey’s chapters a lot more and was rooting for her and Teddy to get together!


I do feel that we missed out a little on going into more detail surrounding the Magpie Society itself, and what they did for the school in the past. We were introduced to characters that were involved in the society, and a few of their own secrets, but there was quite a lot more that they could have done with it.


I think if you want a nice easy read for the spooky season, then I would recommend this as it has a good twist at the end, but unfortunately, although I love the authors a lot (especially Zoe) this just wasn’t the best they could have put out.


3/5 stars

Thursday 6 October 2022

Book Review | Gallant by V. E. Schwab | prettylittlewriter

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?’

This was a spooky read!

My very first Schwab novel, and at times I was very creeped out, she certainly knows how to create a terrifying atmosphere! The Ghouls that Olivia could see from the beginning felt very warm and protective (I knew straight away that they were not dangerous to her) but the shadows in ‘other’ Gallant, were very spooky and at times this felt like an adult horror story, rather than a YA novel.

I loved the diary entries and the drawings, having her mother’s voice within created more depth and I felt very empathetic for Olivia as she tried to get closer to her Mother by finding out what happened to her (although half the time I couldn’t actually tell what the drawings were of!). Schwab’s writing is incredibly lyrical and beautiful, and it certainly gives me major FOMO and I now need to read the rest of her back catalogue!

All the characters were incredibly interesting, and her cousin Matthew ended up being a very surprising character indeed and I ended up liking him a lot! I would have liked a little more about him actually, as he played such a big part in the book in the end! 

I also loved that Olivia was Mute, I've never read a book where the main character speaks no words, and I was thoroughly impressed by it!

The only reason I haven’t given this 5 stars is that I found it a slow burner, with a very fast and lacklustre ending. It was only after the halfway point that a villain came into play, which then kick-started a very exciting rest of the story, until I got to the end of the book, which just had a very sudden ending, which was kind of resolved, but also not (if you read the book you’ll understand what I mean by this!). I just felt that it was incredibly well written, and the storyline was there, but it just wasn’t as impressive as it could have been, there was a lot that was missing.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this for anyone that’s a fan of Schwab, or spooky/mysterious stories, but be aware you may be disappointed by the ending.


4/5 stars

Monday 3 October 2022

Book Review | An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn | prettylittlewriter

‘Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball—or that "Prince Charming" would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid's garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?’ 

This is my favourite Bridgerton novel so far! I’m not sure whether it’s because there isn’t currently a season of the TV show to compare it to, but I just found this so much more romantic and sweet.

I loved the Cinderella storyline with Sophie, treated abhorrently by her stepmother and sisters (although Posy ended up a sweetheart!) with a deadline of making it home at midnight and leaving an item of clothing behind! One thing I must say with all of these masked ball scenarios where the man doesn’t recognise the woman in real life, is how totally unrealistic they are. I could 100% tell if they were the same person if I’d been staring at a part of their face an entire night!!

I also adored Benedict’s character. He was such a strong and empathetic character, who from the offset of meeting Sophie (as Sophie, not the mystery woman) wanted to help her, comfort her, and give her what he could. I thought Anthony was my favourite Bridgerton brother, but I now think it’s definitely Benedict!

Araminta was an absolutely horrendous woman, whom I really wished had gotten a little bit more of a punishment at the end of the novel than she did, however, I was still really impressed with Posy and how her character really grew up and took charge in the end.

Violet (Mrs Bridgerton) and the entire family actually, made Sophie feel so welcome around them, and never treated her with any disrespect or even as they would a normal maid when she started working for them at Benedict’s request, and I really believe that’s because they all knew that she was different, and that Benedict was in love with her from the start!

So overall I absolutely adored this third instalment, and I’m hoping to enjoy all the rest! The only think I would have liked more of is smut, which is why I’m giving it a 4 star rating instead of 5, but that’s not to everyone’s taste!

4/5 stars