Differences Between Physical and Audiobook: The Dream Thieves Book Review

New favourite series alert! The Raven Boys books are trippy, violent and very, very cool. You have to let go of logic a little to enjoy them…


Name: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: 2013

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Blue and Gansey will be the same. Ronan is falling more and more deeply into his dreams … and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Gansey is needed at home, and is struggling to stay in Aglionby. And Adam? He’s made some new friends. Friends that are looking for some of the same pieces of the puzzle that Gansey, Blue, and Ronan are after. Great power is at stake, and someone must be willing to wield it.


Last summer, I listened to the audiobook of the first Raven Boys book. I decided to read the second book in the series, The Dream Thieves, in physical book form and I noticed lots of differences in the way I experienced the books. I can see the series as a whole becoming one of my favourites – the books are trippy, violent and very, very cool. It’s… a weird series. Some scenes feel like they’ve happened already or alternatively, characters will reference situations that I have no recollection of happening. I’d love to crossreference everything and work it all out but I think the confusion is purposeful. You have to let go of logic a little to fully enjoy the series. The narrator is pretty unreliable (or there’s just a lot of metaphors). I’d love to explain the plot to someone because it would just sound ridiculous. Incredibly enjoyable books!

‘We know the ley line messes with time’ said Gansey immediately, but he felt undone. Not exactly undone but unmoored. Released from the ruts of logic. When the rules of time became flexible, the future seemed to hold too many possibilities to bear.

– YOU AND ME BOTH GANSEY

So here are the differences I found between listening to The Raven Boys in audiobook and reading its sequel The Dream Thieves in physical form. Which form (or book) do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!

Accents

Will Patton, the audiobook narrator, had the most gorgeous Southern accent that really brought the characters to life. I’ve never experienced an American West Summer but I feel like I have now, and I missed him doing all the speech in the physical book. I sometimes still heard his voice as the characters spoke. However, some of the spellings came as a bit of a shock – Aglionby? Cabeswater? I genuinely thought that Gansey was called Candy for half of the audiobook because of his accent!

Time!

You actually have time to think with a physical book. You can go back and reread sections without your finger slipping on the time bar, skipping a chapter and catching a plot twist (I thought it sounded impossible too…). You also have more time to enjoy the writing – I’m a sucker for poetic writing and Maggie Stiefvater has the rhythm of words down perfectly. It creates this gorgeous, emotional fantasy world. The writing is abrupt and addictive; I love it.

Characters

This is more comparing the two books rather than the media, but I think that there was so much more character development in The Dream Thieves. The group dynamic is so interesting. I could ship them all – every combination works! I hope that they continue to focus on one character per book; while book one was more about Blue, this was Ronan’s time in to shine and he was heartbreaking.

Also, I want more information on Noah! He’s such an interesting and unique character but never gets much page time. In the middle, when it dragged a little, page time could have easily been taken from the Rich Boys and given to him. That being said, the ending was electric.


This book is the culmination of The Dark Is Rising Sequence, The Power Of Five series and a black comedy romance film I can’t name. If you’re a fan of any of those, this is for you. I can’t wait to read the other books – although the cover feels very 2013 YA, I believe this series is timeless.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

5 Short Books To Read To Finish Your Goodreads Challenge

How books do you have left in your Goodreads 2021 Reading Challenge? Three? Four? I’ve got six and I’m very aware of the time flying by until the new year. So if you’re like me and need some short books to read, have a look at this list! Have you read any of them? Do you have any other short book recommendations? Let me know in the comments!


Pet by Awaeke Emezi is a super short YA novel I actually picked up last year to try and finish my Goodreads challenge. And I’m so glad I did! It’s thought provoking and incredibly moving – I read it in one sitting. Find my review here!


If you haven’t had to suffer through analysing it at school, An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley is actually a really engaging play. It’s super short, and happens in real time so you’ll be at the big plot twist in no time.


The ratio of pages to the number of times The Outsiders by S E Hinton made me cry is ridiculous. A brilliant read, and one of my favourite classics!


This should be a modern classic, but no-one’s ever heard of Eden by Joanna Nadin. Granted, I found it at a charity shop, but it’s a min-warping, all-consuming thriller with only 240 pages. Let me know what you think!


Modern classics and poetry collections always super short. The Weight Of Water by Sarah Crossan is a fast paced, YA poetry book – and I absolutely loved it. A must-read if you’re trying to fill up your Goodreads Challenge!

Book Review: The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats And Piracy

It’s so feminist and so funny – I’m in love with this series.

I thought I’d celebrate the near release of the third book in the Montague Siblings series by reviewing the second one! This series is fast becoming a firm favourite of mine.


Name: Lady’s Guide To Petticoats And Piracy (Montague Siblings 2)

Author: Mackenzie Lee

Published: 2018

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.


The Montague Siblings Series is fast becoming one of my favourite YA series. Last month, I read The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue… and then immediately bought the sequel! I had thought that Monty and Percy would be with Felicity the entire time but I think it let her grow as a character. I loved Felicity in the first book, and even more in this one as I learned more about her. (Plus, her narration is impeccable.) It was the type of predictable character development I can stand, where I’m waiting for Felicity to see where she’s going wrong. However, the plot was anything but predictable – clever, funny and very difficult to foresee.

“Everyone has heard stories of women like us—cautionary tales, morality plays, warnings of what will befall you if you are a girl too wild for the world, a girl who asks too many questions or wants too much. If you set off into the world alone. Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and now we will make more of them.”

– THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY

The entire cast of characters are so interesting. While the book built on people we met in the last book (read them in order!) and reintroduced characters at critical points that genuinely made me laugh out loud; Felicity meets a whole host of new faces. Each female character is different, but each show the challenges faced by 18th Century women ‘in a world where even the staircases are made for men’. I can’t praise it enough.

I wrote this note so many times that it needs to be said verbatim: ‘AHH ITS SO FUNNY!’ I wanted to tab so many quips but I fully think I’d deplete the worlds stickers. The dialogue is so quippy and clever and (you’ve guessed it) funny. The message is stronger than all the concoctions needed to keep Georgian Lady’s wigs afloat (which is quite significant). In other words, this book is a gem.

“You’re trying to play a game designed by men. You’ll never win, because the deck is stacked and marked, and also you’ve been blindfolded and set on fire. You can work hard and believe in yourself and be the smartest person in the room and you’ll still get beat by the boys who haven’t two cents to rub together. So if you can’t win the game, you have to cheat. You operate outside the walls they’ve built to fence you in. You rob them in the dark, while they’re drunk on spirits you offered them. Poison their waters and drink only wine.” 

– OOF

So, if you enjoy historical YA books about gripping adventure and pirates and fiery teenage girls, this book is for you. Or if you want a (wait for it…) funny, empowering read, try The Lady’s Guide To Petticaots and Piracy. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read any of the Montague Siblings books? Do they look like the sort of thing you’d be interested in? What are some of your favourite historical YA books? Let me know in the comments!

#WWW Wednesday – 10/11/21

This one of my favourite weekly tags, so many people do it that it’s really fun – and it’s always nice to rant about how excited I am for my next read. WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking On A World Of Words, go and check out their site! If you’ve had a go at this tag, feel free to link your post in the comments. And here’s what I’ve been up to this week!

(I realized after I’d made the graphic that the date is wrong. Sorry!)


What I Finished Recently

I had a revelation this week. It sounds ridiculous but I had been really stressed about having loads of books to read, then took a step back and realised … it didn’t really matter! Reading is just a hobby. And whilst I really wanted finish this series in time for the sequel’s publishing date… it didn’t really matter. Have you ever got a bit too caught up pages to speed through and not really focused on enjoying yourself? Let me know in the comments.

So I instead read a romance book that I’ve wanted to read for YEARS and it was such a fun read! You can check out my full review and why booktok was what lead me to read Shelby Mahurin’s Serpent and Dove here.

I also recently read The Yearbook by Holly Bourne. I normally love her writing but I feel like it lacked the usual spark. It was a bit preachy – the message was very strong but it felt forced. I thought there’d be more of a focus on the actual Yearbook, but it only was discussed within the final pages. I liked the main character’s development and it was SO easy to read (I read 200 pages in one go!) but the love interest was very pretentious…

What I’m Currently Reading

The mysteries in this series are beyond perfect. At the moment, the mystery is six out of five stars but I’m not that bothered about the other parts of the story, like Pip’s friends or relationships. I get that the backstory is connecting the sequel to the first book but it could be a standalone mystery and I wouldn’t really mind. I’ve very nearly finished it. I’ve always liked and admired Pip for being such a dependable character but now I don’t know what to think. Her reaction to this traumatic news is justified but I’m not sure about her actions? Her character took quite a dark twist and I’m a little concerned for her, for the third book. Have you read any of the Good Girl’s Guide To Murder Books? I’d love to know what you thought in the comments!


I’m so excited to return to the hilarious, witty world of the Montague siblings for a Nobleman’s Guide to Shipwrecks and Scandal. I LOVE THIS SERIES SO MUCH!

Worth The Hype? Serpent and Dove Review

The definition of a bingeable book.


Name: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Published: 2019

Song: Any song by Lou Reed (Get it! Get it!)

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.


Serpent & Dove seems to be one of those books that never dies. Despite being published over two years ago, it drifts back from the limelight for a few months, and then resurfaces again… and again, and again. Because can a book truly die when it’s popular on Booktok? Although, I’m sure all the forced marriage, enemies to lovers and ‘soulmates but hating each kind from birth’ tropes didn’t not help. (Were they the reasons why I bought Serpent & Dove? Possibly… on with the review!)

I had high hopes for a fun, romantic, angsty, enemies to lovers plot with a strong fantasy world but lead by romance… and I’d say it delivered. Except perhaps the fantasy world taking second place – I’d say that world building and romance had pretty much equal attention. This can lead to massive info dumps (*cough From Blood and Ash *cough*) but the author handled providing info really well. And I wanted as much information as possible because I LOVE the magic system. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read: for starters, it’s well thought out and makes sense (there goes 50% of fantasy systems.). The idea is that you have to sacrifice something equal to the magic you’re trying to perform; it’s clever and brilliant and I can see it setting up some heartbreak later in the series.

“Such a love was not something of just the heart and mind. It wasn’t something to be felt and eventually forgotten, to be touched without it in return touching you. No . . . this love was something else. Something irrevocable. It was something of the soul.” 

– Serpent & Dove

Next fangirl moment: LOU! She is gorgeous, funny and has a spine, which is always nice to see in female love interests, especially in an enemies to lovers book. Her and Reid had some sweet moments together. However, because so much time was put into building up Lou’s brilliant character, it meant that Reid’s was really lacking. The book had dual narratives, but it was almost not worth having the chapters from Reid’s POV for how few they numbered. I think it would have worked so much better to just be from Lou’s perspective – because it practically was already. Literally all I learned about Reid is that he’s an Angry BoyTM who roars, growls and at one point quite literally punches a wall. The main facts we learn about Reid’s past are from his conversations with Lou, not from flashbacks, and I think it let the romance down. In my head, you either have two strong narrators falling in love, or one POV and a more mysterious love interest because you can’t see their thoughts. The author aimed for the first one but it fell flat and landed in an awkward middle ground.

There were other strong characters. I loved Lou’s friends and how both Reid and Lou had been in love previously. I feel like that doesn’t happen enough in YA romance books – Serpent and Dove never reveals their age, but I assume they’re both teenagers. Also, the writing was of a much higher quality than I expected for this genre. Maybe that’s stereotyping of me, but it was a nice surprise! The writing… had its moments (me and my friends are very divided over what I declare the genius of Big Liddy) and I think it could have done with fewer profanities. They added humour and depth to Lou’s character, to a certain point, but when she says ‘ass’ four times in one page, she needs some other idiosyncrasies.

My last point was how excited I was to have chapter titles (I hear it too, but it was just nice to have titles!). I gave Serpent & Dove 4 stars overall – 5 for the magic system and world building, 4.5 for plot (a bit predictable) and 4 for romance. The whole dynamic of the romance lacked because of Reid’s weak character, and I feel like the characters didn’t act like teenagers over them being married? I get that’s the whole USP of the book, but I don’t think teens would care so much about the core values of matrimony and call their significant other ’my husband’ even in their head. For a solid 300 pages. That’s Lou not mentioning Reid by name for 300 pages, only as ’my husband’. 😩

I loved that it was set in France and it was utterly bingeable. I read most of it in one sitting! I won’t be rushing to read the other books but if I find myslef in a lull, I might look for them. Or they’ll find me – because after all, nothing dies on booktok.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Serpent and Dove? Would you like to? What are your favourite enemies to lovers books? Let me know in the comments!

The Last 10 Books Tag

It’s been so long since I did a book tag on here, so here goes! A huge thankyou to the Steven over at Steven Writes for nominating me for this tag. You can find the brilliant site and Stephen’s take on the tag here. And here’s mine!


Last Book I Bought:

I literally just ordered Good Girl Bad Blood by Holly Jackson. I’ve been feeling pretty rough and really wanted a fun mystery I could lose myself in. I swear murder mysteries are as good as paracetamol for feeling better! (sort of).

Last Book I Re-Read:

I have to go back quite a long way! I’ve been on a pretty long streak of reading only new books. It would have to be when I reread Carry On and Wayward Son for the release of the third and final book in the series – and purely coincidentally, you can find my review of Any Way The Wind Blows here. The main reason I reread books is if I can’t remember what happened and the series is expanding. What about you?

Last Book I Gave Up On:

I’d never read any of Jeff VanderMeer’s books before… and I think I’ll be keeping it that way. I’m always open for new styles so I tried to power through A Peculiar Peril, but it was a style that only really works for short stories, not a 600 page book. I was also shocked when the main character was eventually introduced as only 16 – I thought he was 36. Have you read any of his books? I’d love to know someone else’s opinion on his style. Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t:

No comment 🙂

Last Book I Wrote in the Margins Of:

When I read the final Murder Most Unladylike Book, Death Sets Sail, I annotated the mystery as I went to see if I could solve the puzzle before the characters (maybe not the biggest flex since it’s aimed at children…). But, I forgot I’d done that. And then lent it to a friend.

It was a fun conversation! Here’s my review.

Last Book I Lost:

I don’t think I’ve ever lost a book? I’m normally pretty careful because books aren’t cheap.

Last Book That I Had Signed:

Have you seen the Waterstones exclusive edition of They Both Die At The End? It is very very pretty. And possibly now one of the coolest books I own 🤩 Find my review of this devastating book and why it’s my comfort read here.

Last Book I Had to Replace:

My copy of A Little Life was ripped open down the seam before I could read it (don’t ask 😭). However, I haven’t replaced it yet. The damage may have been a good thing because I feel like it might save me a world of hurt. I’m not in a massive hurry to read A Little Life!

Last Book I Argued Over:

This seems to be a very hot take at the moment, but I quite enjoyed Dune by Frank Herbert! It took me a while to get through it, but I don’t think it deserves some of the hate it’s getting- and I’m so excited to see the film.

Check out my review here.

Last Book You Couldn’t Find:

I lose whatever book I’m currently reading all the time. I don’t know how. Do you? Let me know I’m not alone in the comments!


I Tag:

You! If you want to take part let me know in the comments and I’ll add your site to the list 🙂

5 Star Book Review: She Who Became The Sun

I genuinely can’t praise this book enough.


Name: She Who Became The Sun

Author: Shelley Parker-Chan

Released: May 2021

She’ll change the world to survive her fate . . .

In Mongol-occupied imperial China, a peasant girl refuses her fate of an early death. Stealing her dead brother’s identity to survive, she rises from monk to soldier, then to rebel commander. Zhu’s pursuing the destiny her brother somehow failed to attain: greatness. But all the while, she feels Heaven is watching.

Can anyone fool Heaven indefinitely, escaping what’s written in the stars? Or can Zhu claim her own future, burn all the rules and rise as high as she can dream?


The US cover 🤤

I’d had She Who Became The Sun on preorder for months ever since I saw a description for a queer historical drama set in Imperial China – what more could you want! Let’s just say that it was worth the wait. The cover may have also been a big factor in my ordering (we’ve all been there). Still, LOOK AT THAT COVER! Can you blame me? I own the UK one above but the US cover is equally gorgeous. Which one do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!

The whole book is unparalleled in style. It felt fresh and humurous, but very contemplative and beautiful at the same time. It’s not too long for a fantasy book, only about 400 pages, and the time sped by. I wouldn’t quite describe it as bingeable, but you get so immersed in the story it’s impossible to put down. The pace is brilliant.
Despite being a book about a warrior, there aren’t overly long fight scenes like you get in some war books. It wasn’t particularly gruesome either.

“The greater the desire, the greater the suffering, and now she desired greatness itself.” 

– SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN

There’s no such thing as a side character in She who Became Sun. It balances on the thin line between a full cast, and so many characters they all merge into one… ie the perfect historical book! I wasn’t expecting the many other characters and plot lines not directly involving Zhu. Each character is so interesting and I love how the author fully fleshed out every one. I found Ouyang was such an intriguing, character and he broke my heart in so many ways. The author excels at these dramatic, complicated romances, and I’m living for Zhu’s. The sequel is one of my most anticipated books for the next few years!

“He had done what he had to do, and in doing so he had destroyed the world.” 

– SO COOOOOOOOOL

I learned a lot about Imperial China, although it doesn’t feel like a history lesson. I’m also not sure how much of it is historically accurate… I genuinely can’t praise it enough – the descriptions of people are sublime, the dialogue was golden. It reads like a very beautifully described episode of the Jeremy Kyle show – betrayal! Vengeance! Romance! I couldn’t put it down.

For fans of The Priory Of The Orange Tree, this is your book. For fans of haunting plots, doomed romances, empowering queer characters and clever schemes, this is your book. You reading this, this is your book. Go and get it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

#TTT Pet Peeves: Maps in Books ANSWERS!

For this week’s TTT, I got you to guess which books some maps were form (here’s a link to the post if you missed it!). And here are the answers 🙂 A big shoutout to the hosts of these blogs below for the most correct guessed! As promised, I’ve linked up their sites so you can check them out – all of their content is fantastic.

How many of these maps did you manage to guess? Let me know in the comments!


1. Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

2. Harry Potter by She Who Must Not Be Named

3. The Priory Of The Orange Tree (this was one of two pages of maps!)

4. She Who Became The Sun

5. Serpent and Dove

6. The Folk Of The Air Series by Holly Black

7. Crier’s War

8. From Blood And Ash

9. The Shadowhunters Series

10. The School For Good And Evil

#TTT Pet Peeves: Maps in Books

Can you guess what books these maps are from? Let me know in the comments! I’ll post answers tomorrow with shoutouts for the most correct 🙂
As always, this great tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s prompt is about pet peeves, and whilst I can think of worse crimes (cough stickers you can’t peel off cough – find my most popular Top Ten Tuesday about bookish things I hate here) I wanted to talk about maps in books.

Maps in books are pretty – but do you actually use them? Do you really flip back to them when a new place is introduced and memorise the geographical location of it in relation to existing towns? I don’t.

Maps give you a really good overview of how a fantasy world works: whether it’s focused around cities or nature, how far the characters will travel, how developed the world is. I’ll also be judging the quality of the map – and if there isn’t a map in a fantasy book, I’ll be judging it pretty hard!

But realistically, I spend about 30 seconds admiring an aesthetic map and then skip to the part I actually bought the book for. The story! This admittedly sometimes comes back to bite me (the first half of Shadow and Bone was like a fever dream) but even if I study the map really hard, I’ll always have a different idea of how the world looks in my head.

What about you? What’s your opinion on maps in books? Does every fantasy book need one? Do you use them? How many of these maps did you manage to guess? Let me know in the comments!


1.

2. I have this map on my wall, ignore the stickers! (Although if it helps, that’s Baz from Carry On and part of a stag 😉 ).

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8.

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10.

#TTT: Book To Film Adaptations Hall Of Fame

As always, this great tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s prompt is a free for all, so I thought I’d look at some of my favourite book to film adaptations! It’s so hard to compare books and films because they are such different consuming experiences – and some bits are inevitably going to be cut out of the film. (Why they always seem to be my favourite scenes or characters, I’ll never know…) . Adaptations are a great way for people to get into a book series and I always love to see the choices the directors made. So, despite in danger of being that reader (the book is always better than the film 🤪), here are my top five films that were as good as the book. What would yours be? Have you seen any of these? Can a film be better than the book? Let me know in the comments!


Questionable actors and authors and other factors affect how I view the film now, but as a piece of film, Call Me By Your Name remains one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. The music and the setting make you feel like you’re there, and I rewatch it every summer.


The film was so humorous, fast paced, engaging, and beautifully shot. I enjoyed it so much!


I love discussing which Little Women adaptation is the best, because people always have different choices and reasoning. For me, it has to be the 2019 adaptation! It remains one of my favourite films of all time because of how it cleverly combines the author and Jo’s stories (and I’m in love with every single actor in it). Which adaptation is your favourite?


This series couldn’t have done a better job of capturing the madness that is a series of unfortunate events. This and Shadow and Bone remain my favourite tv adaptations ever.

I didn’t include SaB because you can find out why I love it so much in my previous post here.


EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT JANE AUSTEN IN ONE PLACE!

This film is absolutely hilarious and I love it to pieces.