Tuesday 21 February 2023

Book Review | Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam | prettylittlewriter

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?

This was a weird one for me.


There were parts of it that were enjoyable; I liked the mystery and intrigue of what was happening in the world and why these people were suddenly thrown together with no contact with the outside world, but there were also plenty of parts that were incredibly frustrating and that nearly made me DNF.


Within the first few pages of the story, you are given a full page and a half worth of a shopping list that Amanda was buying for their stay in the rented property; WHY? It seemed like the author was just trying to fill the pages to make the book longer, it really had no reason to be like that, a simple sentence saying she’d purchased £200 worth of food was enough.

There were quite a few other moments like this, where either words were repeated (including speech from the characters to each other) or we were given a really indepth description of something that we really didn’t need.


The other thing I really didn’t enjoy was that we didn’t have a resolution or explanation as to what was happening in the world, and why people were getting ill or lost. We were just left with these people were stuck together, end of. WHY WERE THE DEER MIGRATING IN HERDS OF THOUSANDS? WHY WERE PEOPLE’S TEETH FALLING OUT? I WANT TO KNOW!!


If I’m being brutally honest, it all just felt a little pompous and a bit like the author just wanted to use the book to showcase how shit humans really are, especially in the face of crisis.


In actual fact, I can’t really say I enjoyed it at all, because at the end of the story I just felt completely disappointed.


1/5 stars

Friday 17 February 2023

Book Review | This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi | prettylittlewriter

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.

The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.’

Fantasy is a genre that I find pretty hit and miss; it takes a lot for me to concentrate most of the time due to the ridiculous amount of unnecessary descriptive text and background info. However, This Woven Kingdom was not like this in the slightest. Mafi had me hooked from the start with her immersive and cleverly built world.


Alizeh is a brilliant MC & heroine, plays her part of the weak servant girl to fit in and go under the radar, but in reality, she’s a badass with incredible resilience and strength. I loved watching her story pan out, with plenty of mishaps on the way.


Kamran is a great love interest and secondary MC, who although I think fell in love with Alizeh way too quickly (first sight of her really), was incredibly protective of her and believed her to be good throughout, an even went against his own flesh and blood to protect her.


There are a couple of characters that I’m still unsure of their intentions, including Hazan, but each character has a vital role to play, even that of a young boy whom tried to kill Alizeh at the very beginning.


The ending was shocking; plenty of twists and turns, including Alizeh showing some badass bravery again to protect Kamran.


I absolutely loved this book and found it completely thrilling throughout! Although it’s almost 500 pages long, I smashed through it as it was just SO GOOD.


5/5 stars


Tuesday 14 February 2023

Book Review | To Sir Phillip With Love by Julia Quinn | prettylittlewriter

Sir Phillip knew from his correspondence with his dead wife's distant cousin that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he'd proposed, figuring that she'd be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn't. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her...

Eloise Bridgerton couldn't marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking... and wondering... and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except... he wasn't. Her perfect husband wouldn't be so moody and ill-mannered. And he certainly should have mentioned that he had two young - and decidedly unruly - children, as much in need of a mother as Phillip is in need of a wife.’

Well this one was a big let-down.

I love the character of Eloise in the TV adaptation, so I was looking forward to a wonderful female empowering story for her. Unfortunately, she is depicted as this talkative busybody that annoys most people she meets, including Sir Phillip with whom she hopes to marry. I actually didn’t mind Eloise’s character in the book as from her internal monologue she seemed like a lovely character, but I hated that to everyone around her (as it’s written in 3rd person) she was this chatterbox that wanted to be involved in everything and they found her irritating.

Sir Phillip’s character on the other hand was a bit of an arsehole. The only time he was ever really nice was when he was lusting over Eloise, otherwise he was argumentative, he was horrible to his children most of the time, and it outraged me that he didn’t even know what was happening to them under his own nose. Not to mention that his idea of them being well suited is that he can make her orgasm *eye-roll*. The ONLY thing that redeems him slightly is the shit childhood he had. The other irritating thing was how he was constantly referring to Eloise as the perfect mother to his children, even to her face. He never said she’d be the perfect wife, even when he realised he was starting to have feelings for her.

The storyline itself was fine, I enjoyed seeing Eloise’ and the children’s relationship blossom, and seeing the Bridgerton brothers come to her aid as big brothers should. Her relationship with Benedict’s wife Sophie was also very sweet.

Unfortunately this just wasn’t interesting enough, and it’s incredibly upsetting seeing Eloise’s character with such a rubbish love story. I hope they do much better for her in the TV adaptation.

2/5 stars

Monday 6 February 2023

Book Review | The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey | prettylittlewriter

In 1976, David is fishing off the island of Black Conch when he comes upon a creature he doesn't expect: a mermaid by the name of Aycayia. Once a beautiful young woman, she was cursed by jealous wives to live in this form for the rest of her days. But after the mermaid is caught by American tourists, David rescues and hides her away in his home, finding that, once out of the water, she begins to transform back into a woman.

Now David must work to win Aycayia's trust while she relearns what it is to be human, navigating not only her new body but also her relationship with others on the island--a difficult task after centuries of loneliness. As David and Aycayia grow to love each other, they juggle both the joys and the dangers of life on shore. But a lingering question remains: Will the former mermaid be able to escape her curse?’

This was a beautiful and heart-breaking tale surrounding a young woman in the midst of her sexual discovery, and how she was treated for being young and beautiful. This woman also happened to be a mermaid.


It took me a little while to get used to the language used within this book, with our characters and narrator speaking via the native dialect of Black Conch island, but once I got into the story, it was easy to understand.


Most of the characters within this novel were abhorrent; David, Aycayia, Antonia and her son being the only ones that seemed to have any compassion, so it was a continuous battle for me to stop myself throwing the book across the room in frustration!

Priscilla was one of the worst characters for me, trying to ruin David’s life because he wasn’t interested in her as a mate was incredibly spiteful.


I had so much sympathy for Aycayia; she was a lost soul who managed to find a little light in her life through David and Reggie, but she was never really free. What she went through at the hands of some vile people, was unbelievably cruel and it’s a wonder she survived so long.


There were some moments within the novel that I found myself cringing at, and not because those scenes were badly written, but because I could picture them as they were happening, and it was hard to read. There’s a particular moment near the beginning, Aycayia has been captured and is hanging upside down on the dock, that really made me shudder and I still find it hard just thinking about it.  


Just a guess on my part, but I believe the main aim of this novel was to showcase how terribly judgemental humans can be, and how sometimes, those judgements cannot be taken back, and the damage is done. Humans can be incredibly cruel, especially towards something they don’t understand.


Overall I really enjoyed the story, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoyed other books such as Where The Crawdads Sing & The Island.


4/5 stars