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Historical Romance Windfall Thoughts, Part Two

I’m still working through my historical romance windfall, and I’ve finished up another ten books, so I thought it was a good time to check in and give you some quick thoughts on them!

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Historical Romance Windfall Thoughts, Part One

Do you remember the enormous stack of historical romance I was given by a neighbour at the start of the summer? Well, I’ve been working my way through it, and here are my thoughts on the first eleven books!

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Book Blitz: A Coup of Tea by Casey Blair

Today I’m thrilled to be helping out with the book blitz tour for A Coup of Tea, the first in a new cosy fantasy series that could not be more my style!

When the fourth princess of Istalam is due to dedicate herself to a path serving the crown, she makes a choice that shocks everyone, herself most of all: She leaves.

In hiding and exiled from power, Miyara finds her place running a tea shop in a struggling community that sits on the edge of a magical disaster zone. But there’s more brewing under the surface of this city—hidden magic, and hidden machinations—that threaten all the people who’ve helped her make her own way.

Miyara may not be a princess anymore, but with a teapot in hand she’ll risk her newfound freedom to discover a more meaningful kind of power.

I’m about a quarter of the way through this book, and I’m having the best time – my full review will be coming in a couple of weeks. I just know the Tea Princess Chronicles are going to be perfect for everyone looking for a soft, fun fantasy read – you can add it to Goodreads here, or grab your copy here! And if that isn’t enough to tempt you, I also have an excerpt from the book for you. Just read on to get a taste of this fun, tea-filled book…

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Mid Year Book Tag!

I’ve read over 200 books so far in 2022, so it’s a great time to check in at the halfway mark with this tag and recap some of my favourites!

Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2021

I think this is between Nettle and Bone by T Kingfisher (which I reviewed here) and Which Way? by Theodora Benson (review here). Two very different books! The former was pure fun, and the latter was just one that really got stuck in my brain.

Best Sequel of 2020 so far

A Mirror Mended by Alix E Harrow is such a fabulous, entertaining book – my review of both books in the series is here!

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Time for #SweepUpYourSmols!

Tomorrow marks the start of another round of #SweepUpYourSmols, the sister to my #ConquerAChonker readathon. Where #ConquerAChonker asks you to read a big book (over 450 pages), #SweepUpYourSmols is all about ticking off as many little books (under 300 pages) as you can manage in a weekend! I thought I’d show you the books I’ll be choosing from this weekend – it’s an eclectic mix, with little in common between the books other than their length…

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Blog Tour: Sister to a Star by Eloise Smith

Today I’m so happy to be helping kick off the blog tour for Sister to a Star, a new middle grade adventure full of Hollywood hijinks and sibling drama! I don’t often read middle grade contemporary, but you may or may not know that I really love behind-the-scenes stuff on films and TV shows, so Evie’s journey as a young stunt fencer was really tempting. I just finished the book over the weekend and it’s absolutely delightful – but I’m not posting a review today! Instead I have something special to show you: a letter from author Eloise Smith to her unpublished self.

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Blog Tour: Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna

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…

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April Reading Challenge: Spring Cleaning Wrap Up

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.