Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman Author: Ava Reid Publisher: Del Rey Genre: Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction Rating:★★★★★ Where can I get this?Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble Recommended for: fans of atmospheric reads set in a magical forest setting, fans of intricate world-building, fans of enemies to lovers CW: torture, animal deaths, death, self-harm, gore (dismemberment, amputation, mutilation) antisemitism, child abuse, cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing
Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!
In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.
But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.
As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.
𝐆𝐔𝐒𝐇: • rich and evocative world-building, great atmospheric read • compelling, lyrical writing • Jewish mythology inspired • Prideful prince brought to his knees • Évike’s (MC) relationship with a certain family member
𝐆𝐑𝐈𝐏𝐄: • pacing especially the last 10% • I wish we could witness more resolution regarding certain aspects
Writing: The writing style immediately drew me in. Whimsical and magical at times, there’s a dark and gritty atmosphere throughout the novel which is quite fitting to the tone of the story.
Romance: If you’re a fan of enemies-to-lovers that are not only stuck with each other but must work together, boy, do I have a book for you. There’s a romance that will bring you to your knees. Your knees.
Setting & World-Building: As previously mentioned, this novel is inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology. Additionally, the author states that this is a work reflecting and exploring nation-building. Therefore, brutal themes such as cultural genocide, ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution are explored in this novel.
Also, the scenes and experiences in this novel may give off visceral reactions. There were times where I had to physically put down the book and think, pace around the room, and pick the book up again. For me, being in the diaspora, struggles with identity and searching for a sense of belonging evoked such feelings and emotions I can’t quite articulate yet as I witnessed Évike’s journey. Évike is a character that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Despite exploring heavy themes, Reid ensures that joy, wit, and hope are woven throughout the story and I adored it. This is particularly evident when Évike is reunited with a certain character and certain interactions with characters.
Overall, The Wolf and the Woodsman is a riveting read, a book that must be savoured upon reading.
The enemies-to-lovers trope follows the convention of when two (or more) characters begin as enemies or possess a dislike and/or rivalry dynamic which later develops into a romantic relationship.
There is a specific difference in the character dynamics and nuance between enemies to lovers and rival to lovers – with the main difference being the severity of antagonism, feelings and thoughts between the affected characters. Furthermore, rivals to lovers may not necessarily be ‘enemies’, rather, the characters may strongly dislike the other whether or not sharing the same or similar goal. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve categorised the two tropes together (although I have a stronger preference to rivals to lovers compared to enemies to lovers).
This category includes the following: reluctance to like, dislike to like, hate to love, rivals to lovers, enemies to lovers
Why ‘enemies-to-lovers’ trope is fun:
About this list:
This list will provide books that pertain the enemies-to-lovers trope and information regarding the book and author, such as representation in the books and of the author. Please note: I haven’t read all the books listed. If there’s any information needed (such as representation, content warnings, etc.) to be added please let me know.
Also, I feel that it is important to note that I intentionally list information such as the author’s identity in terms of ethnicity, gender, religion, whether the author identifies being neurodivergent or disabled if the author enclosed such information. Why disclose such information? Representation matters. I endeavour to be as accurate as possible with such information, however, if there’s any error please let me know so I can amend it.
Book confession time: I bought these books (The Daevebad Trilogy) in hopes to finally read and complete this series after constant recommendations and empty promises to myself. And guess what? I end up marvelling at these books and picking up a different book.
I’m discovering that perhaps I love purchasing books more than reading them right now and I need an intervention! Why am I like this?
So, I took my plights to Bookstagram and some booksta friends recommended me their tips:
Reading Slump Tips:
Reading is for pleasure. Read what you want when you want. Don’t force yourself
Try varying different lengths of books (graphic novels, light novels, novella, etc.)
Find a book that holds your interest, even if you flip through 10 books to find 1
Carry an e-book reader or Kindle app to read anywhere
Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.
When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.
Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.
An Austen inspired murder mystery featuring Miss Elizabeth Bennett, daughter of Mr Bennett of Longbourne and Sons (yes, the law firm that employs no sons but rather an obnoxious person with the name Mr Collins) and her plight to secure a no, not a husband but a permanent position in her fathers law firm. And though the prime suspect Mr Bingley is open to Lizzie’s service there is another issue she must face—Mr Bingley’s detestable and delectable lawyer, Mr Darcy of Pemberley Associates.
Writing: Immediately upon reading this book Pride nods to the original and unforgettable Pride and Prejudice opening line.
The opening line is a fun and witty start and it instantly drew me into the story. The writing style is easy to follow and the pacing I appreciate the author’s take and how they seamlessly incorporate their own style. Rather than think of this to be a strict P&P retelling I’d like to think of this as an Austen inspired murder mystery with the memorable P&P traits and moments.
Characters: The characters in this novel don’t stray far from the original Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth is a headstrong heroine and a delight to follow. My only gripe is that the sisters and family don’t appear often and the sisters fell more to the background.
Romance: Whilst there are romantic aspects later in the story I did appreciate how the story focuses more on the mystery.
Setting & World-Building: I felt a little disorientated due to the language and action gives off the impression the story takes place in the Victorian Era however, certain instances or aspects would indicate that the story takes place in the Regency era.
Overall, Pride and Premeditation is a fun Austen inspired murder mystery. Despite being a murder mystery, Pride and Premeditation is a fun and light-hearted read. Perfect for fans of YA murder mystery and Jane Austen.
Recommend for: fans of YA historic fiction, YA murder mystery, fans of pride and prejudice
CW: death, murder, stabbing, drowning, kidnapping, sexism, racism, use of firearms
Some of my favourite quotes:
Please note: the quotes listed here are cited from an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and may be subjected to change upon publication.
I love how Price starts the opening line similar to the original Pride and Prejudice
I laughed when I read this. I liked how Price depicts Mr Bennet
Love the banter between Miss Bennet and Mr Darcy. A great indication of what’s to come in the novel.
Tirzah Price grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she can be found recommending books on the site, newsletters, podcasts, and social media accounts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.
Tirzah is pronounced TEER-zuh. Pronouns are she/her.
Books often hold sentimental value to a person. Whilst everyone is different and holds different priorities and motivations, there is often an emotional connection between reader and book. Sometimes people feel anxious at the thought of decluttering their book collection and that is totally understandable and valid. Purging books is a personal choice and journey. Before purging it is important to identify your intentions.
Why am I decluttering my books?
Why do I need to keep my books?
If you are a book collector and possessing multiple copies and/or special editions brings you joy—then that is important aspect to acknowledge. For example, “I keep books because I read and collect them. I love reading and owning books give me joy I love seeing my shelves full.”
If you are not too concerned with owning special editions and drowning in the number of books perhaps consider why you need to keep all the books.
Before you begin the process, consider yourself and your collection.
Decluttering books: The Process
Step 1: Give yourself a time frame
Remember, be realistic with yourself. Give yourself a reasonable time frame to do this process. Some people need to do declutter in one go, some need to achieve this over increments of time.
As much as I’d like to think I can achieve this in one hit, I know I won’t.
Step 2: Look at your book collection and categorise your books to
Keep Donate Sell
That’s it! These are the steps! Haha. But if you struggle with decluttering (like me) or unsure how to categorise your books, ask yourself the following questions:
Questions for categorising books
Is this a duplicate?
Unless you’re an avid book collector, most often you don’t need multiple copies of a book. Check for duplicates and decide which copy you want. For optimal results be ruthless with yourself.
Is this book still relevant to me?
How do you determine what’s relevant for you? You get to decide the parameters. However, an example of books that have lost relevance for me include magazines, textbooks, and travel materials that have lost its relevance due to being outdated, unneeded, or unnecessary. If the book does not serve a purpose, if it holds no value to you, perhaps you no longer need it.
Have I read this and/or will I read this again?
Books you haven’t read:
Set realistic expectations on yourself: will I truly read this?
If the answer is no, consider why you won’t read the book and decide whether there is a need or reason to keep the book.
Books you have read—will you re-read it?
First and foremost: books are meant to be read. Consider why you want to keep the book. A book’s initial purpose is to be consumed. If you have read the book then the book has served its primary purpose. If you want to re-read/share/happily gaze at the book then perhaps you can and should keep the book.
The “Just in case” books:
Consider if you were to lose this book—would this bother you? If not, then perhaps the book no longer serves a purpose for you.
Am I able to replace this book should I need it again? (For example, library copy, digital format, is this an out of print book?)
What do to with the books:
Donate or sell
The public library
People you know who would appreciate the book
If it is difficult to let go of books remember this:
Do I have access to a library and if so, am I able to borrow this book?
Can I consume this book via digital format? Audiobooks and/or e-readers?
Why do I own this particular book?
If you do declutter books that gives potential shelf space for more books!
define a specific a home to keep the books
get rid of books you don’t usually re-read
keep books you would want to re-buy again
be deliberate and intentional with books you want to own
I write this blog mainly to myself as I don’t want to hold onto books that I don’t love nor hold any value to me. If you have any tips or pointers on decluttering I’d love it if you’d share them!
𝗙𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗹𝘆 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀: Crescent City inspired characters illustrated by @arz28
𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗝𝗶𝗴𝘀𝗮𝘄 𝗣𝘂𝘇𝘇𝗹𝗲: illustrated by @sallteas
𝗙𝗼𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 featuring characters from 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗱𝗼𝘄 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗨𝘀, 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹, 𝗦𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗻𝘀, and 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀: illustrated by @arz28
𝗖𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗮 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗸𝘀: designed by @jezhawk
𝗦𝗮𝗹𝘁 & 𝗣𝗲𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀: designed by @noverantale
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗘𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗘𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹 𝗣𝗶𝗻: designed by @alchemyandink
𝗞𝘆𝗹𝗼 𝗥𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀: illustrated by @_saintdri
This is such a gorgeous box and upon opening this I actually gasped. Everything here was so gorgeous! 🤩✨ I was completely blown away with how gorgeous and cohesive the items were in this box. I honestly can’t get over how beautifully curated this box is.
Cost & Value: I believe this box really was worth the cost just alone with the book. However, the items included are not only gorgeous but useful, too. I love every item but my favourite would be the playing cards and socks. I’ll definitely use all the items.
Design: I am in awe with every item in this box. Everything is so cohesive with the theme and overall aesthetic. Also, did I mention how gorgeous the book is? Because the book is so gorgeous.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read Kingdom of the Wicked? Otherwise, what’s your favourite romantic trope?
𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: I love enemies to lovers but I love it even more when they must work together begrudgingly 😁 my absolute favourite is rival to lovers 🥰💞
What does being intentional mean for me? It means to purposely take action that is important to me. Being intentional is a personal experience. For me, rather than focus on x number of books read per year, I want to consume more books that bring me joy, inform, and challenge me.
What does that mean? I want to be more conscious of the books I choose to read and spend time and money on.
Books that bring me joy: books that make me think and feel (both positive and negative)
Books that inform me: where I learn something new and/or build upon existing knowledge
Books that challenge me: books that confront me, or is from a perspective I’m not familiar with, or aspects I’m ignorant of.
I want to read more backlist books (books that aren’t new releases)
I want to finish series I liked
I want to read more books I own
I don’t want to read or purchase books due to the hype if it doesn’t genuinely interest me. Life is too short to fill my time and energy on books I’m not keen on. Which leads me to my next point.
Develop a regular reading routine
My next point stems from being intentional, but it still stands on its own. Everyone is busy. Reading time is limited. Reading often takes our leisure time. And with today’s society, time is our most precious currency. I’m too broke to spend my time on things that don’t serve a purpose or be wasteful with it. Therefore, developing a regular reading routine may be extremely beneficial.
I aim to read at least 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes. In the greater scheme of things, it’s not something too big but it’s a realistic goal with my schedule. I can easily read in my break/time off/commuting. Plus, ten minutes doesn’t put a big pressure on me to achieve such things.
Shouting to the void that I want to have a regular reading routine is all fine and dandy but I need to have tools or an approach to ensure I achieve such goals. SooOooo…
Keep a consistent reading journal
Reading journals don’t need to be aesthetic. There, I said it! And I must continuously remind myself of this: READING GOALS DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT AND PRETTY, DAMN IT. I’ve constantly struggled with keeping a reading journal due to me wanting to make it aesthetic rather than useful. And ugh I hate being a perfectionist, but I’m working on it.
What does a Reading Journal consist of? Anything you want. Reading journals are a testament of what you want in regards to reading and books.
What I will include in my reading journal:
Book Log (Information such as: Title, author, publisher, etc.)
Book review or reading response
Book lists (bucket lists, books I love, TBR, etc.)
I want to incorporate a consistent reading journal because of the many benefits. Benefits of a reading journal include (but are not limited to):
Greater focus on reading and being intentional with my time and reading goals
More meaningful and better reflection on what I read and learned
Read owned books
Of the 115 books I own (not including duplicates), I have read 26 books. 26 out of 115. Meaning, if this was a test I would fail. My reading rate is 22% of the books I currently own. I have unread almost 80% of my owned books. I need to do better.
Last year, I fell down the rabbit hole of purchasing new releases and hyped books and bought the books before having a change to read them. Whilst I love supporting authors, it was unsustainable for both my shelf space and wallet.
I want to bring my reading rate of up to at least 50% of book I own. Meaning, whatever number of books I own I will aim to read at least half of that. I want to be intentional with what I purchase and own. A books true purpose is to be read and damn it, I will fulfil my books dream!
Declutter the books
I know there’s a saying “you can never have too many books”. And that’s true. However, for myself, I don’t like the idea of owning books I don’t plan to read. Therefore, I’d like to keep that shelf space free for a book I would like rather than owning a book just for the sake of owning it. I want to consciously curate my shelf space with books I love and am genuinely interested in.
It’s already past the middle of January and I’ve already purged 7 books I don’t plan to read or have already read and didn’t love. Yay! Progress, not perfection.
I know I can’t speak for everyone, and different people enjoy books differently. That’s okay. I just need to set realistic boundaries for myself and shelf space.
Do you have any reading goals? If so, what are they? Let me know!
Title: People of Abandoned Character Author: Clare Whitfield Publisher: Head of Zeus Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery and Thriller, Historical Fiction Rating:★★★★☆ Where can I get this?Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble Recommended for: fans of historical fiction centring on Jack the Ripper or set in the Victorian era, fans of mystery and thrillers CW: domestic abuse, violence, death, anti-Semitism*
*I did feel uncomfortable with the casual anti-Semitism (Jewish characters facing prejudice from other characters). Whilst I can understand the sentiments do not necessarily reflect the author or the protagonist, rather the common prejudices held at that time, I’d like to inform readers it’s there. Also, this does not occur often and the protagonist questions the notions.
An absolute ripper of a book. What would you do if you suspected the man you loved and married was a serial killer?
People of Abandoned Character is a grim and brutal atmospheric thriller convoluted with abrupt twists and dark turns. Some twists I anticipated whilst others were unexpected. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tumultuous ride and devoured this book in one sitting.
Set in 1880’s Victorian England, this novel follows a young woman named Susannah, as she navigates her life from ward nurse to a newly wedded wife. Charmed by the enigmatic surgeon Thomas, Susannah is swept off her feet into a sudden advantageous marriage. The promise of a life of stability with a loving husband is new and exciting to Susannah. However, upon returning from their honeymoon their once sweet kisses turn sour as Thomas’ endearing demeanour changes. Thomas who was once attentive, devoted, and charming becomes cold, surly, and volatile. With the rising coincidental spikes in crime and her husband’s erratic behaviour, Susannah grows suspicious. What if Thomas is the fearsome murderer?
First, I must mention the two major factors that made me thoroughly enjoy this book: the narration and the protagonist. Upon reading the first few pages, I instantly fell in love with the narration. Written in first-person, the voice is distinct and gripping yet humorous at times. The story is well-paced with an engaging protagonist. Susannah is an intriguing character who is both determined yet naïve and unconventional and I enjoyed witnessing the story unfurl from her perspective.
Originally from a lower social class and having little to no prospects, Susannah is no stranger to the poor, unfortunate circumstances and sometimes violent ends women face in that era. Despite that, we witness Susannah grapple society’s expectation using her quick wit and determination. Throughout the novel, you can’t help but cheer for Susannah. Often berated by her grandmother of being a person of abandoned character, Susannah examines herself, questioning her morality and decisions. However, as the audience, we can’t help but empathise with Susannah and her actions despite her flaws.
Also, this book explores aspects such as class and gender, presenting fascinating insight whilst drawing attention to the disparity between the rich and poor and the inequality between men and women. A sad tune that still rings true till this day.
Overall, this was a compelling read with great pacing and intriguing twists. I enjoyed this thoroughly (and was satisfied with the ending!) and would recommend this book. Now I cannot wait for my Goldsboro copy to arrive.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Head of Zeus) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
With the limited sneak peaks for that month I was so excited for this box. Not only due to the theme and the book in question, but also how it exclusively features BIPOC sellers and inspired books. However, upon opening the box, I couldn’t help but feel… disappointed. I feel like this theme could have been explored further and be more creative in terms of design and items. I’ll be honest, I feel cheated with this box. I am a POC myself, so naturally, I want to support BIPOC sellers but I feel like this box doesn’t showcase the theme well. Plus, with the lack of BIPOC sellers… I just… SIGH
In terms of the theme, designs, and items, I felt like there was no cohesiveness. I don’t know how the items and design relate to the the inspired books and overall theme. The items feel so randomly shoved together and I suppose this may be due to the fact that I haven’t read some of the books. However, for the books listed that I have read, I don’t understand the choice of items. For example, I mean, one could do so much with Spin the Dawn. I feel like only the design relates the the book. And not to criticise the design or item–I do appreciate the item and design. The bowl cozy design is gorgeous and wonderfully made. However, I question how it relates to Spin the Dawn other than the cover of the book? I don’t know. Like, I do appreciate how useful the items are, but I don’t understand how they relate to each other and the theme?
Cost: I really do not feel like this box was worth my money. However, I am an international buyer so I understand that our currency is weaker than the USD plus shipping expenses, however, I feel like other than the soap, the items could be purchased on cheap websites like WISHand ALIEXPRESS for a fraction of the price. Friends, with the change of shipping, I pay approximately $77+ AUD for this box. I just feel like slapping quotes on items and claiming it’s exclusive… I don’t think I can justify paying over $77 for that… Also, other than the soap, I would not purchase any of this items for myself. I wouldn’t go as far as say that I’m a minimalist, but I don’t really like to purchase items I don’t use nor need. It’s a shame because since discovering OwlCrate last year I’ve always loved them. I enjoy their monthly picks and loved their items. Perhaps this particular month wasn’t for me.
Conclusion: I’m not too fond of the items but I do love this month’s book. I accidentally slipped up my dates and purchased the November box, so, I will see how that box goes and will determine whether I would like to continue OwlCrate or not. Which is a huge bummer because I usually love OwlCrate book picks and their items.