Rating: 3 STARS
Series/Standalone: Folk of the Air #3
How I got this book: Bought
He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.
And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…
Why are endings so often disappointing?
Maybe it's the fact that, as readers, we just don't want to say goodbye to characters that we've grown to love (or love to hate) or that we'll miss those worlds we lose ourselves in too much or that we just wanted MORE!
Sadly, none of those things is true for how I feel about the end of this trilogy.
For me, this entire book felt a little lost, pointless, and the ending was predictable and way too neat and tidy.
There were just so many moments where I felt that the whole thing was a bit stupid i.e. (no spoilers!) when Jude figures out Cardan's trick, when Nicassia DOES NOTHING and when Jude can't figure out the most obvious clue in the history of clues!
I feel a bit like the characters were done dirty by the author, they almost seemed dumbed down, their relationships rushed and everything tied up with a pretty little bow that made no sense and contradicted past behaviour and key character traits.
I was angry that Nicassia had almost no role in the book. Where was the vengeance, the drama, and the blinding jealousy we've come to expect from this series?
Why was Jude so compliant? Where's her spine, her defiance and the warrior nature that's she's built up over the past two books?
Maddox was boring, for want of a better word, and completely predictable. He had me rolling my eyes.
And Cardan was too damn tame. He completely stopped being interesting.
The big shock twist was completely predictable, and was I the only one picturing Jafar in Aladdin at this point?
Yes, this is a bit of a rant post, BUT I didn't completely hate this book.
I still enjoyed being back in the world of Elfhame. I enjoyed the politics and the scheming, even if it was more toned down than I'd have expected and I did still, in some ways, find the relationship endearing.
The pace moved quickly enough and I finished the book in just a few sittings. I can't say that I didn't enjoy reading the book, I did, but I didn't LOVE it the way I wish I had.
Overall, I can't lie that I am disappointed with the end of this series, but I am glad that I got to spend time in this world.
In my bid to be more active here on the blog, once a month I'll be doing a short wrap up of the books I've been reading with my 5-year-old, Rosie.
I do share a lot of our books on Instagram, so feel free to follow over there for more regular kids book updates.
This wrap up will probably be a little longer than most, as it's the first one, I'll probably feature a few more books.
As always, you can click on the title to visit Goodreads:
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: Library eBook
It's 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging.
And it's Sarah's first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High.
No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist.
Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. And Sarah and Linda start to feel something they've never felt before. Something they're both determined ignore.
Because it's one thing to be frightened by the world around you - and another thing altogether when you're terrified of what you feel inside.
TW: extreme racism, hate, violence, domestic abuse, sexism and homophobia.
I don't typically lean towards historical fiction, so this book isn't one that I'd normally choose. However, the synopsis grabbed me, and I really wanted to discover how the love story played out.
At first, reading this book felt similar to how I feel when reading a classic, something that should be on the education syllabus for schools. In terms of educating yourself about racism and hate, I think it does a great job, showing clearly the damage that can be caused by words.
"It doesn't show much in the way of brains to decide you don't like people you don't even know. All because of their color."
I also felt that the depiction of life from the perspectives of both a black girl and a white girl in southern America during this time were painfully realistic and eye-opening.
I do feel that this book would make a fantastic educational tool as it illuminates perfectly the hate and prejudice of the time. It also begins to show how someone who is ignorant and who has been influenced by others can become educated and grow as a person.
"If something like this happened to me, I'd be shouting by now."
It was very difficult to put down and it's certainly Sarah's plight and pain, and my desire for her to succeed, that made it so compelling. The writing is fantastic, with each voice distinct and unique but I think, for me at least, it was my utter hatred of the white people and my continuous rooting for something good to happen for Sarah that gripped me and pushed me to keep reading.
"This should be the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Going on a date with a boy. Maybe if I try hard enough it will be."
For much of the book, I didn't feel that Linda was at all redeemable or worthy of Sarah, but the more I read, the more I understood that this book is about self-growth and how, by educating yourself and standing up for what is right, you can become a better person. That being said, I don't feel that she ever did stop being racist and bearing in mind the things that she said and did, knowing full well the consequences of what she was doing, the ending seemed more than a little unrealistic.
I did feel for both characters as they struggled in different ways with their sexuality and with their parents. Again, both very different situations but also similar in how the girls felt that they were unable to be themselves or that they would never be good enough for the people who'd raised them.
"The grown-ups always act like they're the ones who have it hard. None of them knows the first thing about what this is like for us."
This book did fuel my hatred towards people. My anger roiled as I furiously turned page after page, hoping naively for a happier turn of events. But, if nothing else, this book stays true to the period in which it's set and very clearly reflects the issues at the time.
Having said all of that, this is my review as a white person and so, what I'd like to see is a review from a POC to see how this book really stacks up.
Overall, I do feel that this book would make a fantastic educational tool for young people. But I am cautious that I can't be certain how well this book represents a person of colour and the struggles that were faced during this time, and those still being faced today.
So, it's been quite some time since my last review, much to my chagrin but I am working on that.
The first step to this was getting my sister, Sophie on-board with reviews and so, if you haven't checked out her review of The Deathless Girls, you can do that now.
The second step was launching the new My Endless Shelf podcast, Turn The Page, earlier this week. You can listen to our very first episode here, where we also launch our new book club, and please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog or getting in touch via email.
Sophie and I are very excited to share with you Episode One of the Turn The Page book podcast, our new, monthly podcast where we talk about our latest reads, book news and bookish events.
In this episode, we introduce our new monthly book club and chat about books that have changed our lives, why we love a good plot twist, books about racism and race, and much more!
Here's a little of what you can expect:
On book hangovers:
There are many times where I've gone to sleep at three o'clock in the morning, woke up the next day and have used the excuse, "oh, I had a really bad night's sleep", and really, it was just that I couldn't stop reading."
On the life-changing power of books:
I actually think this book has changed the way that I wake up every morning. It's changed the way that I live my life day to day.
Listen below, feel free to comment and tune in again on the 2nd Tuesday of each month for the latest episode! Subscribe on your favourite podcast platform here!
Happy listening and happy reading!
Please note: This podcast is intended as a way for us to chat about various books and, while we may enjoy certain books, that doesn't necessarily mean that we support, or are even aware of, all that the author(s) stand for. Having said that, this podcast episode was recorded before we became aware of the actions and comments from J.K. Rowling, and we have decided that we will not be continuing to read either The Ickabog or the Galbraith series (both mentioned in this podcast) in support of our friends in the trans community.
Read the transcript:
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: Bought
On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.
Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.
They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate...
Review by Sophie
TW: Slavery, discrimination, attempted rape, animal abuse.
They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin.
Okay, so first things first, I TOTALLY chose this book purely on the look of the front cover. I loved the whole slightly Gothic and dark feel the design gave off, and so I jumped straight in.
Before starting, I had no idea that it was kind of a retelling of Dracula, but from his brides’ point of view. This is a story of sisterhood, female love and relationships, and the utter brutality that is life. It's about bravery and heartfelt sorrow. I love the idea, and its an intriguing back story, although I just wish this book was a little longer with a few more chapters to give it that depth that I feel it's ever so slightly missing.
First, we meet Lil, I love how she’s so harmless and sweet, living in the shadow of her twin and more than happy to let her fiery and passionate sister Kizzy make the decisions and run towards danger.
On the day that they are captured into slavery, Lillai is anticipating the outcome of her diving day to see what future awaits her and Kizzy. The girls are part of a small group of travellers who keep to themselves and appreciate what nature provides for them. I like how the writer describes and really shows the hate and discrimination towards travellers, how others perceive them as being lesser, not deserving common decency, and sadly this rings true as an issue not just in fiction.
I absolutely love the character personalities in this book. You have Kizzy and Lil who appear to be like yin and yang, the strong and fearless mixed with the shy, quiet and easy-going. Then we meet Mira, a slave who’s truly been brutalised and tortured, yet still manages to find kindness in her heart, especially towards Lil. Their relationship is cute and heartwarming, and honestly just makes you melt.
Soon we meet the cruel and heartless Boyar Valcar and hear whispers of the Dragon, known to be myth and legend. I was a bit annoyed that there wasn’t more detail surrounding these characters. I know the story is intended to focus on the girls, but I would have really liked more detail surrounding the Dragon, just to give a better idea of him and his personality.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to have a sister or best friend, you can appreciate and completely relate to the bond and relationship that Kizzy and Lil have. How they endlessly defend each other and have a mutual understanding of how the other feels.
I really liked reading The Deathless Girls, it was easy going in terms of pace, perhaps a little too easy-going maybe? I think it only took me a day to finish. It has a good flow and pace, and the ending really just leaves you wanting more.
I'll be completely honest and say that I did expect and want more than this book delivered. I felt that there was some detail missing and it wasn’t quite as dark as I had anticipated. However, the ending was brilliant, and somehow still caught me off guard.
I really hope that there’s more to come from The Deathless Girls.
A lot has happened and is still happening since I last posted here - mass wildfires, a worldwide pandemic, global lockdown, Brexit, protests, rioting, oil spills and more. It's been months of death, destruction and despair for the entire world.
And while I usually steer clear of things like politics, as my book blog and social accounts are places where I go to escape, what's happening in the world right now isn't 'political'. People are fighting for their basic human rights, their rights to be treated as equals and, while I acknowledge my privilege in that I am not suffering, as many are, I want to do what I can, which is why I'm doing my best to speak up, trying my hardest to better educate myself and my child, and using my platforms to share books that I feel or hope can help others.
I do already share diverse books by diverse authors, but I want to try and step up my game and post as much as I can. I took inventory of the books my daughter has and realised that I'm already buying diversely for her and I've been sharing some of those books on my IG account, so if you are looking for kids book recommendations, feel free to take a look there. If you'd like me to include these here on the blog, just let me know. And if you have any rec's suitable for a 5-year-old please let me know!
If anyone wants to and can donate or help, this link has all the info.
In blog news, there are going to be some changes happening on My Endless Shelf and I'm really, really excited to share these changes with you, I hope you love them as much as I do.
The main reason for these changes is me accepting that I cannot do everything myself. I can't work as much as I do, home ed my daughter, work on my writing and keep the blog going as much as I'd like to.
So, hopefully, these new changes will help to keep the blog more active and full of interesting new content:
1. My Endless Shelf is venturing into podcasting! Once a month you can listen to Turn the Page! My sister, Sophie, and I will be hosting the podcast and talking about the books we've read and the books we're looking forward to. We'll also touch a little on current book news/events, ARC's we have, and we'll be running a monthly book club that you're very welcome to join!
2. Children's books are also going to be featured once a month. As I mentioned above, I'm reading A LOT of books with my 5-year-old. We read multiple books a day, picture books, chapter books, audiobooks and she loves to talk about the books we read. So, I'll be writing a wrap-up of some of the best books we read each month and I'll share my review and a few words from my daughter.
3. I WILL be blogging more! I'm committing myself to it right now. I've set up a new system to help keep me on-track and whilst I am finding work and homeschooling pretty hectic right now, I do want to get back to reading and blogging. First up, I'll be sharing a quick review of the books I've read over the past six months. I also intend to share a few snippets from my WIP and some behind-the-book info, which I hope you'll enjoy.
4. To help with the above, my lovely sister will also be writing for My Endless Shelf! So, from now on, you can expect to see her thoughts and reviews alongside my own. I'll also get her to introduce herself as soon as possible.
For now, that's all, but I'll be bringing more news about the Turn the Page podcast very soon.
Until then, happy reading!
Hello, hello, hello!
How is January treating you so far?
It's okay here, trying to get back in the swing of things and I'm mostly succeeding, except for Instagram, which unsurprisingly has fallen to the wayside a little as things become busier with work and home-ed commitments.
However, I have been keeping tabs on a couple of bookish things this week and so I decided to do a little news style post. Here goes...
Goodreads Challenge Update
I've officially begun my Goodreads challenge this year, thanks to my daughter because we read an adorable little chapter-book called, The Pug Who Wanted to Be a Unicorn by Bella Swift. It is a Christmas book but it's incredibly sweet and has great morals.
I'm also still reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I think that I started this book back in November so it's been really slow-going but I love it so much. I'm about 100 pages from the end and I'm still waiting for all of the pieces to connect which is something I adore about the way that this author writes.
What are you reading right now?
I am determined to get to a book festival this year and since YALC is out of the question for me, I'm really hoping to get to the Northern YA Literary Festival i.e. NYALITFest especially since they're having a day dedicated to children's books this year, which is going to be a great way of finding books to read with my daughter.
If you've been following @nyalitfest over the past week you'll have seen their steady announcements for guest authors and panellists.
The list is extensive and I'm so excited to meet all of these fantastic authors. I've made a list of all of the authors and a few of their books below to help you make an NYALitFest TBR - I think more authors are due to be announced but this is the lineup as it stands today.
Wow, that's quite a lot of authors and I'm pleasantly surprised to see so much diversity, in the YA category at least. It's also great to see so many empowering children's books with girl leads.
So, what do you think of the lineup so far? Will you be at NYALitFest this year?
If you know of any other book festivals taking place around the midlands, let me know!
I received an email yesterday letting me know that BookRiot have started a new podcast called Novel Gazing. Truthfully, I hadn't realised that they had another podcast series simply called The Podcast.
It probably sounds really stupid of me but I've never actually thought to search for book-related podcasts before so I want your advice, what bookish podcasts do you listen to and what would you recommend?
I did enjoy the first episode of Novel Gazing although it wasn't hugely my cup of tea. I'd prefer something a little more fantasy/YA based, so I might check out the general BookRiot podcast tomorrow if I have time.
I'm also toying with the idea of starting my own...but I should probably try to manage the commitments I already have a little better before I start taking on new ones.
Anyway, that's all for today. If you have any thoughts on anything above, feel free to comment below!
Okay so, #bookstagram didn't go anywhere, I did.
Life got in the way yada, yada, yada and I lost track BUT the other night, I found time to take a few photos and it got me itching to keep at it. So, I'm going to try carving out an hour or two each week to take a bunch of book pics.
If you're already on Instagram and you love nothing more than fawning over all of the pretty books, I'd love for you to come and join me @myendlessshelf.
My Instagram feed has changed a bit since I first started #bookstagram. I'll be sharing one of my posts each day using either my own prompt/idea, or I might sign up a for a #bookstagram challenge depending on where the mood takes me.
If you've read some of my other blog posts, or you follow me on IG already, you might know that I'm a home-ed mum, homeschooling my 5 year old. We read a LOT of books together and are currently taking part in #abookandagameaday home-ed challenge where the idea is that we read a book and play a game together every day. These photos aren't as polished as my other bookish photos but I do recommend some fantastic children's books (we're always on the lookout for diverse kids books, so let us know if you find any) and games. So, if you have a young child in your life and want ideas for future gifts, feel free to follow along with these daily posts.
We're also big explorers and usually find somewhere new to explore each week, so you'll probably see a few photos from our adventures cropping up here and there alongside mini-book hauls now and again.
And that's all for now. A short post today, but I've included a slideshow of some of my IG photos below so you know what to expect and some behind-the-scenes shot from the other night.
If anyone's interested, I'm using a Radiance Ring Pro for my lighting (this thing is monstrously powerful but so easy to use and has a really handy dimmer) and my phone to take the photos. I have a few backdrops and some props but it's mostly quite simple or just improvising with things I find lying around the house.
I don't typically set New Year Resolutions but I'm trying be more productive (and more accountable) this year.
2019 was a bit of a struggle in terms of finding time to read and write between work, homeschooling and family commitments, but I'm really hoping to achieve more in 2020.
My Goodreads challenge is 50 books, which may be a tad over zealous because I do want to focus mainly on my writing - more on that later.
My reading goal this year is to read more of the books on my actual bookshelves instead of binge-reading so many books on my Kindle. To help, I've made a TBR jar that contains all of the unread books on my shelves (I think!). We'll see how it goes!
Do you have a TBR jar? Have you found it useful?
I'm also reconsidering starting bookstagram, but instead of trying to take a new photo each day I'm going to try and take a batch each week to save on time. I also figured it'd be a fun home-ed lesson of sorts for my daughter to help out with the photos and practice her own photography.
So, if you're on Instagram, feel free to follow me @myendlessshelf - if you do bookstagram I'll follow back!
Now, onto those all important writing goals!
This year I HAVE to finish my book! I've been working on it for almost three years now and I so badly want to complete it.
Editing is kicking my butt - I'm clearly awful at it and I'm just finding it really overwhelming BUT, I have made some progress lately and I'm determined to keep at it.
On top of this, I want to upload an edited version of my LGBT short, The Midnight Cab to Wattpad (which is done, I just need to update it) and keep working on my other Wattpad WIP, The Witch and the Dragon's Sister, which is a children's book/short.
When I'm not writing or reading, I keep being drawn back to another idea that I've had for a while now. I keep making notes on it and I'm almost ready to start writing it, which I can't wait for - it feels like a YA right now so we'll see how that one goes.
I'm currently working on my new author website which I'm hoping to have live in a month or so. I really love the design and layout so far and I can't wait to get that published.
On the blog, I'm not going to set a specific goal because truthfully, it can't be a priority with everything else going on in my life BUT I do want to blog more this year and, if I can stick to my reading goal, I should hopefully get out at least one review each week (fingers crossed!)
In other news, my daughter and I are approaching six months since we started our home ed journey and it's going great so far, she's reading so much she's putting me to shame! I'll also be celebrating seven years of being in business as a VA in February which I'm really excited about.
And, that's it.
What about you? What are you planning or looking forward to in 2020?
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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