Tuesday 28 March 2023

Book Review | Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid | prettylittlewriter

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.’

I was looking forward to reading Daisy Jones as it’s had such incredible hype, not only from the book itself, but as the TV show has now been released on Amazon Prime (I've watched it and it's AMAZING!!)


I love the way it is written, in the format of an interview with every character from the novel (including some with minor roles); I thought this was an incredibly clever way of telling the story.

Daisy was a character that I loved, she had so much passion in so many ways, including in the music, which made her story that much more bittersweet. There were a couple of other very strong female characters within, including Karen the pianist, and Camila, Billy’s wife, who kept him in check when he started drowning in his addictions.

Billy was a character that I struggled to actually like, mainly due to his infidelity, but there were times when he surprised me; him taking care of his family, including Camila, was part of that.

The plot itself, young starry-eyed, beautiful woman joins a band and falls in love with a band member, was your typical music-related love story, however, it doesn’t end how you would expect. There’s a brilliant time jump at the very end, which explains the importance of Camila’s character, and how she really shaped the band and those within it, to make some hard-hitting decisions.

There were some parts of the novel that felt inconsequential, and even characters that could have been missed out (Eddie & Pete mainly), and I think because of the way the novel is written (interview transcript) it did take away from the emotions of the story, and felt a lot less personal. I think this is the main thing that was missing for me, it just felt very matter of fact, and I wasn’t particularly invested in the characters’ lives.

It did however, have the incredible rock ‘n’ roll feeling, and the things that the characters went through/were doing (think lots of drugs) was true for the 70’s era.

Overall, I would say it is a very good novel, with an interesting plot, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that has a passion for music and musical novels, it just had that little bit of personal character-reader relationship missing for me.

4/5 stars

Thursday 23 March 2023

Book Review | Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston | prettylittlewriter

Ever since a vampire murdered her mother, Ava has been determined to get revenge. This all-encompassing drive has given her the fuel she needed to survive foster home after foster home.

But it’s been ten years since anyone’s seen a vampire, and Ava has lost hope that she’ll ever find one…until she stumbles across a hidden magic show where she witnesses impossible illusions. The magicians may not be the bloodsuckers she’s hunting, but Ava is convinced something supernatural is at play, so she sneaks backstage and catches them in acts they can’t explain.

But they’ve been waiting for her.

The magicians reveal they’re part of an ancient secret society with true magic, and Ava has the same power in her blood that they do. If she joins them, they promise to teach her the skills she needs to hunt vampires and avenge her mother. But there’s a catch: if she wants to keep the power they offer, she needs to prove she’s worthy of it. And to do so, she must put on the performance of her life in a sinister and dangerous competition where illusion and reality blur, and the stakes are deadly.’

I’ve seen quite a few low star ratings for this book, but I cannot fathom why! I absolutely adored this novel, from start to finish I was hooked! It only took me 3 days to read (hours really if you put the time spent reading together) and that was an achievement for me as the novel is a hefty 500 pages long!

This book has everything I would want in a fantasy novel; vampires, magic, romance (a love triangle!) and a badass MC.

Ava is a brilliant main character, a teenage orphan with a vendetta, thanks to the death of her Mother by a vampire’s hand. She meets this travelling group of magicians, whom she soon finds out are not your average magicians, they actually have REAL magic, and they want her to join them.

She goes along with them and is soon thrown into a world full of lies, betrayal, death and despair.

There are quite a few shocking moments, some that are even quite hard to read, as there are some severe deaths and horrific scenes that Ava has to watch/go through. The competition to become an ‘immortal’ magician, is incredibly brutal.

When we first meet Xander, Ava’s love interest from the start, I really liked him and thought he was sweet. I had this feeling however, that he wasn’t going to be exactly who we thought he was, so I wasn’t really surprised when things changed towards the end of the novel.

Roman, however, I LOVED from the beginning. Brooding, mysterious but with a sensitive side, I knew even when Ava thought he could be dangerous, that he was going to be a good guy. From the moment they met, he was the one I wanted Ava to end up with.

I also loved Ava’s friendships that she formed with Willow & Nadine (fellow competitors). It just shows that you can be in competition with someone and still be good friends.

The magic system (the entire world building really) was incredible, although quite simple, it was still very impressive, and to incorporate vampires with ‘immortal magicians’, and have them side by side, was really clever (if this doesn’t make sense, upon reading the book it will!).

There were some twists along the way, and one that I managed to guess early on, but it was still thrilling watching it unfold.

I also loved the little pop culture mentions throughout, Buffy is mentioned a lot!

The ending itself was wrapped up in a nice little bow too, as this is a standalone novel, you aren’t left with any questions, so I was very satisfied with it. Although I’m also kind of gutted it’s a standalone, as I’d definitely read more from these characters!

The ONLY thing that I would say is that I would have liked a little bit more in terms of romantic scenes/spice between Ava and Roman.

I would highly recommend this to anyone that loves vampires and magic related stories, and if you also enjoyed the likes of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, then I’m sure you will enjoy this!

I will definitely be picking up anything else that Margie has written now!

5/5 stars

Monday 13 March 2023

Book Review | The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff | prettylittlewriter

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know …

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.

Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.’

This was my last book for February, I picked it up as it’s a nice short read.

There were some incredibly intense family dynamics within this book, including that between Kit & Hugo, and it was interesting how our main character remained anonymous in terms of name and gender. Personally I chose to interpret them as female, a young girl who started falling for the charm of Kit, much like Mattie.

I enjoyed the storyline, it felt similar to We Were Liars, but with more intense one-on-one relationship drama, rather than a running drama within the entire family.

I liked that the MC had some reserve when it came to Kit, they knew that he was bad news, and she resisted him a lot at first, but eventually succumbed to his charms as does everyone it seems, that meet him. However, the author did throw in something that Kit had previously done (groomed a 12 year old) which I didn’t think was necessary to the story (apart from making Kit a predator, not just a manipulating scumbag).

Hugo’s character was one I struggled with. I wanted to like him, with his broody behaviour and shy persona, I wanted him to bond with our MC and come out of his shell, for them to then be together. However, his warnings to our MC to stay away from Kit were very subdued, he may as well have not said anything, as it made no difference. He knew everything that Kit had done, so he should have just told our MC exactly what he’d done, and I’m sure she would have steered WAY clear, and may have been able to warn the rest of the family.

The big reveal of the twist was also somewhat disappointing. I was hoping for a bit more drama, maybe a murder? But the actual twist was something I managed to predict a few chapters before it happened, and it just fell a little flat. Within a few pages, it was over and done with, and I think it could have been fleshed out a lot more.

It seemed like the author just wanted to tell a quick story about toxic relationships and to pinpoint a particularly toxic character, rather than making the story really count for something.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and it’s a nice and quick read, but it’s not a book I’m necessarily going to be recommending to others.

3/5 stars

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Book Review | These Infinite Threads by Tahereh Mafi | prettylittlewriter

‘With the heat of a kiss, the walls between Alizeh, the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom, and Kamran, the crown prince of the Ardunian empire, have crumbled. And so have both of their lives.

Kamran’s grandfather, the king of Ardunia, lays dead, the terrible secret of his deal with the devil exposed to the world. Cyrus, the mysterious copper-haired royal, has stolen Alizeh away to Tulan, the neighboring kingdom where he rules. Cyrus has made his own deal with the devil—one that would require Alizeh to betray her feelings for Kamran if she’s to reclaim the Jinn throne.

Alizeh wants nothing to do with Cyrus, or his deal with Iblees. But with no means of escaping Tulan, and with the tantalizing promise of fulfilling her destiny as the heir to the Jinn, she’s forced to wonder whether she can set aside her emotions—and finally become the queen her people need.

Kamran, meanwhile, is picking up the pieces of his broken kingdom. Facing betrayal at every turn, all he knows for certain is that he must go to Tulan to avenge his grandfather. He can only hope that Alizeh will be waiting for him there—and that she’s not yet become queen of Tulan.’

Okay, so Tahereh is fast becoming one of my favourite fantasy authors! She’s blown me away yet again with this brilliant and gripping story, full of sexual tension and mystery.


Alizeh is yet again, a clever and badass heroine, determined not to let Cyrus or Iblees take advantage of her. But yet, she still wants to help lead her people, so the offer of marriage to Cyrus so she can become Queen, is a temptation.


Throughout this novel, you see her with conflicting emotions towards Cyrus, as one minute he is threatening her life, and the next, he is being incredibly genuine and kind towards her. I truly believe that he is not going to be as bad a person as the rumours within Ardunia have made him out to be, and in all honesty, I actually think him and Alizeh would be amazing together (the sexual tension between them is incredible, and I’m DYING for the next novel to see what happens between them).


On the other hand, I also absolutely love Kamran, and I felt incredibly sorry for him throughout book #2, as he struggled knowing who he could trust and whether Alizeh had betrayed him. It was also very intriguing seeing them explore the magic within Kamran, and why his skin is now suddenly covered in gold.


I think I am leaning more towards Cyrus & Alizeh as endgame at the moment as he had a lot more interaction with Alizeh within this book, but I am torn between who I would actually like her to end up with, they’re both very good love interests.


I definitely think Kamran’s Mother has a lot more involvement in the story than we were first lead to believe too, and I hope this is explored in book #3.


The ending left you on a cliff-hanger yet again, so I am now desperate for Tahereh to give us some ideas on a release date soon as I NEED to read it!! (even just the title of the next book would satiate me, for now!).


Overall, yet another smash hit from Tahereh, and I now need to read the Shatter Me series to continue this brilliant fantasy ride!


5/5 stars

Friday 3 March 2023

Book Review | Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins | prettylittlewriter

‘When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers. As Dee looks back over her time in the Master's Lodging—an eerie and ancient house—a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.

But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent?’

If you want a novel that has the perfect gothic and historical setting, then you will enjoy Magpie Lane. Set in Oxford, there are so many landmarks and descriptive paragraphs to the novel, I often felt like I was there, and could picture everything quite vividly, although I have never visited Oxford myself!


You could tell from the offset that Dee was an unreliable narrator, and there were parts where I had to re-read it as there weren’t any clear speech marks during her conversations with the police, so it wasn’t always obvious if she was talking to them or she was narrating. I really did feel for her though as she had a terrible childhood, and the trauma she suffering surrounding her daughter must have been incredibly hard to bear.


I also felt incredible sympathy for Felicity; her father and step-mother were atrocious, and it was clear that she would have a much better life away from them, so when she went missing, I hoped profusely for the outcome that I believed was coming.


I also really enjoyed the character of Linklater, and was quite frustrated when Dee would rebuff his advances, as she deserved some happiness and he seemed like a lovely person.


I can’t say anything else without the risk of spoiling the book if you haven’t read it, but I will say that although this novel had promise, and it was occasionally creepy and atmospheric, it was let down by the fact that you could see the ‘twist’ coming a mile off and the ending left you wanting a little more to conclude.


3/5 stars