General Fantasy

Near the Bone by Christina Henry

Just a heads up before we get into the review, this is going to be fairly brief (in my terms, at least) as there are a lot of points to this novel which I would consider spoilers and part of why I enjoyed this novel so much was because I had no idea of the complexities of the plot going into the novel.… Continue reading →

The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

This novel first caught my attention a few months ago when Skies shared the aesthetics of the world and accompanying quotes of The Thirteenth Hour on Twitter. I was immediately invested in these characters and couldn’t wait for the novel to come out to meet them. Now that I have finished the book, I can safely say that the characters lived up to my expectations and more!… Continue reading →


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Middle Grade & Young Adult

Odin’s Child by Siri Pettersen

I adore Norse mythology and anything related to it, so I was particularly intrigued by how mythology would influence this story – particularly because of how ‘the children of Odin’ are viewed as ‘the rot’, which isn’t something I’ve come across before.… Continue reading →

Blog Tour – The Winter Garden by Alexandra Bell

This was every bit as magical as I was hoping for with gothic elements intertwined, which starts as a glimpse of a shadow in the corner of your eye and grows into a suffocating darkness. Yet, the magic still manages to shine through.

We begin the novel when Beatrice is a child and after experiencing the trauma of losing her mother she receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden. As much as it hurt to read, I did like the reaction Beatrice had to her dying mother as it felt so believable for a child character which I really appreciated and felt that it set up her character well. We see her as she grows into a young woman struggling to find her space in society because of her sex as well as her stammer. I thought it was great to see how she would try to be strong and have her independence as a woman but Bell shows how it isn’t as easy or simple as travelling alone.

As well as Beatrice we also have a second protagonist in Rosa, her closest friend who moved from America who has very different goals and dreams to Beatrice but they are still very similar in a lot of ways. Although Rosa is introduced as the second protagonist, she didn’t feel like a secondary protagonist in any way. I loved the contrast that she presented to Beatrice. Rosa was so sure of how she wanted to live her life however, it soon becomes apparent that she has prioritised status for happiness when she always thought that the two would be synonymous. It was through our time with Rosa that we got to see how truly dark this world can be, that for Victorian women the danger was not their ambitions or their independence (which we see through Beatrice) but their own husbands and expectations as a wife. 

This sudden change in tone when Rosa confronts Eustace for the first time was incredibly jarring and brings the reader back to the stark reality of the Victorian times and out of the magical pursuit of the Winter Garden. I loved how the two were combined and balanced throughout the novel. There was a lot of casual magic and fantasy scattered throughout the novel with Beatrice travelling far and wide to auction houses to get a glimpse of the Winter Garden she visited as a child as well as Rosa’s fantastical clockwork creatures who could take on life of their own. Yet, none of this felt out of place in the dark and oppressive Victorian England setting, especially because some of the magic itself isn’t as harmless as what you first expect. This recurring theme of duality throughout the novel was fascinating to me and handled wonderfully by Bell and I know the phrase “life needs dark leaves in the wreath” will follow me for a long time to come.

Overall, I adored this novel with all it’s magic, mysteries and shocking twists that left me immensely satisfied and in awe by the end (which is also possibly one of my favourite endings I’ve read this year). Although it was the initial fantasy and wonder that drew me into this novel, at its heart it is a story of the struggle faced by Victorian women in society and the complex relationships between mother and daughter which was enchanting to read.… Continue reading →

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Last year I read He’s debut Descendant of the Crane and was in awe of the way she is able to carefully craft the characters in her story and write so beautifully, even if the plot could be dark and heavy at times. Whilst The Ones We’re Meant To Find is very different from her debut, I was still eager to read it and be immersed in He’s writing once again, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.… Continue reading →


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