You might have caught me raving about how much I loved Hedgewitch in my review a couple of weeks ago – but I’m back to show it off even more, because this book is just so wonderful! I have some fun profiles of some of the main characters, plus some stunning art to tempt you into picking up this lovely witchy read…
I’m a big fan of Lara Temple’s historical romances, so I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Earl She Should Never Desire!
This post is coming to you a little early this month, because I managed to fill up the last few days of the month with blog tour posts! If you would like a refresher of April’s challenge this month, you can check out my TBR post, and if you want to see the eight challenge books I read in the first half of April, that’s here. Two weeks ago I had five books left on the list – I didn’t manage to finish them all, but I did tick off three!
First up was Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B Larsen, which was a DNF for me. I think I probably would have enjoyed this much more if I’d read it as a teen; unfortunately it only came out in 2018, and I think even by then, its super-perfect lavender-haired, violet-eyed princess heroine and its learning-to-use-your-royal-magic themes would have been a bit dated. The first 100 pages of the book were mostly flirting, training sequences, and descriptions of how stunningly gorgeous everyone was, and I just really struggled to become interested. It’s a shame, because I think Swan Lake is under-used as inspiration generally!
After that I tackled A Darkness of Dragons by SA Patrick, which as I mentioned in my TBR post, I’d started before and not managed to get very far into. This time I persevered, and I really do think that the first 150 pages of this book are a slog, and not necessarily representative of the rest of it. The beginning is very slow and extremely dark – like mass murder, horrifying prison conditions, cruel punishments and insane prisoners screaming through the night dark – but the rest of it is a fairly standard upper middle grade fantasy adventure, with bandits, a girl cursed into the form of a rat, various odd magic users and a half-dragon, half-griffin. It’s a little bit dark, definitely 10+, but not nearly as violent or grim as the beginning – it’s a jarring switch and I honestly would have started the book with Patch’s escape from prison and hand-waved the backstory to get things moving earlier. Once the second part of the book was underway, though, this is a pretty fun fantasy adventure, if a little bit heavy on the ‘your princess is in another castle’ trope. I’d read the sequels if I saw them in the library!
My next read was The Archived by VE Schwab, the first book in The Dark Vault bind-up. I was surprised how much I liked it – I was only planning to read a few dozen pages to test the waters, but I ended up finding myself at 100 pages before I knew it. Like all of Schwab’s writing, it’s certainly very readable, and the concept is cool. I didn’t love the main character, who was a bit too much of a traditional punchy YA heroine for me, and the romance particularly felt very predictable by YA standards, but it’s an enjoyable time. There’s a lot of discussion of death, particularly child and sibling death, so it’s one to go carefully into if that’s not your favourite thing. I think I’ll try to read the sequel quite soon, so I can see if the duology overall is one I want to keep!
So I didn’t manage to get to Grounded or Sherwood, but given that I added two books halfway through, I suppose I did actually tick off the planned amount of spring cleaning books! Though I enjoyed most of them more than I thought I would, I ended up deciding to rehome 9 of those 12, so that’s a decent chunk of shelf space regained (though you wouldn’t be able to tell!). I’m definitely going to try this again at some point – it’s been a great exercise in recognising where my tastes have changed.
This is quite a varied selection today, but what these very different books all have in common is that they’ll get kids engaged with learning new concepts, even if they don’t necessarily realise it! All of these books were sent to me free of charge, but that doesn’t affect my opinions.
This is a clever, character-focused novel from the 1920s that turns a sharp eye on matters of class.
We’re in the full flush of spring now, and if you’re looking forward to getting outside more often, I have a great selection of picture and board books that have a focus on nature, whether that’s the plants you might grow or the creatures you might discover. All of these were sent to me free of charge, but my opinions are my own as always.
I was so excited when I saw this book, which I really enjoyed as a kid, was getting a rerelease!
An intriguing, but ultimately frustrating, collection of semi-supernatural short stories, brought back into print in a lovely edition.
A lyrical, original, queer take on Beauty and the Beast, perfect for those who love historical retellings and thought-provoking emotional journeys.
It’s the 15th already, so time to see how I’ve been getting on with my April TBR challenge! If you need a refresher on the books I’m trying to read this month, you can check out my original post here – otherwise, let’s get into the mini-reviews!Continue reading “April Reading Challenge: Spring Cleaning Mid-Month Check In”