[Book Review] Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

44913866. sy475 Synopsis: All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.


This book took my breath away.

I’m not usually a reader of non-fiction, but something about this book caught my eye. The cover helped, but the amazing reviews which all of my friends and work colleagues had given it pre-release sealed the deal.

Three Women is about, well… Three Women. Individual in their lives and stories, but all linked by an overriding theme: lust, desire, and the lengths we as women go to to fulfil those desires.

Never have I been so utterly captivated and absorbed in a book as I was when reading this. Each woman’s narrative was unique yet equally as valid and enthralling as one another.

Maggie’s story begins in her teen years as she is enraptured by her teacher, and we follow their developing relationship. Jump forward six years and we see her finally able to speak out as she realises how deeply it has affected her life and her ability to love another, as she confronts him in court. But how could someone as well presented, admired and appreciated as “Teacher of The Year” possibly do such a thing?

Lina is a 30-something year old woman who married the “right man”, yet he won’t kiss her, touch her or have any kind of physical relationship with her. Their therapist tells him that it’s okay to not want to kiss his wife, he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to and it’s completely normal to feel that way. In a social group where all the other women are married, and to divorce would be a scandal, Lina feels totally segregated and torn as to what the best decision would be: to leave, and for once feel wanted and desired, or to stay in an unhappy marriage as that is what is expected of her, and best for the kids?

Sloane is in her 40’s, married to a husband who worships the ground she walks on, and sleeping with other men and women so her husband can watch. Her entire life she has been told that she is a burden, all she wanted was to be loved, wanted and appreciated. The dynamic within this relationship is odd, or so would be perceived by her friends and relatives so she cannot tell anyone. To do so would have catastrophic repercussions.

Each one of these women’s stories are unique, valid and gripping. Knowing that they are real lives adds a whole other element of power to the writing, and as I reader, I could identify with each one of their struggles even though their personal circumstances are so far removed from my own life.

In short, every woman should read this book. If not for the emotional and empowering journey it will take you on, but for the thriller-like, unputdownable way that it reads.

Honestly, I could read this book over and over again, every single day for the rest of my life.

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My Year in Books… So Far.

GUESS WHO’S BACK (back, back, back) AGAIN!

Life can be pretty hectic, and paired with that, extreme fatigue and not knowing whether you can truly be a part of the blogging community when you don’t post as regularly as you “should”, well, it sure can get on top of your ability to write, post and even read.

That’s right, I’ve barely read a thing this year…

But do you know what? I’m coming to accept that it’s okay.

So, as my first blog post of the second half of 2019 (or pretty much the WHOLE of 2019 if we exclude January), I figured I’d give a little update into what I’ve read so far this year, including the books I’ve started but yet to finish.


JANUARY

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was the first book I read this year, and it set my year off to a GREAT start. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait for the sequel (Yes, I see you, lucky people who managed to get their hands on a proof copy of Girls of Storm and Shadow… I see you and I’m seriously envious…)

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

I read this because of all the hype that surrounded it. I didn’t really enjoy her first novel, but this was a little better. It still took me ages to get through even though it’s short, and I didn’t really feel as though I connected with the characters or narrative in any way.

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟.5

This was the book included in Illumicrate, and I think that it’s the first time I’ve ever read a book from a subscription box within the month of it’s arrival… a feat. It was a mixed bag for me – it took me half of the month to read and only really picked up after the 200 page mark.


FEBRUARY

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Status: Unfinished, 27%

Why have I not finished this book? I don’t know, but I got into a HUGE slump. As you’ll see in about 10 seconds time…


MARCH

Nothing.


APRIL

Still nothing…


MAY

My birthday month!

But I still didn’t read anything.


JUNE

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

What’s this? SHE READ A BOOK?! Too right I did. After being in such a long slump, I decided to pluck a random book from my shelves and see what it could do. It wasn’t life-changing but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it proved that I still have the ability to read. Hurrah.


JULY

That’s this month, how did that happen? Where did all the time go?!

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book was incredible. After hearing so many people talk about it, and being intrigued by it’s themes, I knew I had to read it. This is the best book I have read this year. Bold statement which kind of loses it’s impact once you see that I haven’t really read much of anything this year, but even if I had it would still deserve that title. I can’t wait to compile my thoughts into a full review for you all.

The Confession by Jessie Burton

Status: Currently Reading

This is an advance copy due for publication in September 2019. I’m enjoying it so far – good news!


Other books I started but have no idea when, and haven’t finished them:

How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

Notes To Self by Emilie Pine

Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma

I was enjoying these, believe it or not, but I picked them up during the great slump of 2019 so unfortunately by no fault of their own, they got abandoned.


I bet you’re all wondering where I’m at with my Goodreads Reading Challenge…

To be honest, I’m ignoring it at the moment, and haven’t even really been using Goodreads all that much as of late. For now, I’d like to just start enjoying reading again rather than worrying about how many books I have or haven’t read in comparison to everyone else.

YOU DO YOU, IT’S NOT A RACE.

Thank you to those who have reminded me of that recently. I’m here now because of you.

[Wrap-Up] January 2019

I’m actually a little scared about how quickly this month has gone… is this a sign of getting old? Can it stop though? I have too much to read for time to be passing this quickly!

I managed to read 3 books this month, which wasn’t quite as much as I had hoped, but much better than my average month last year – progress!

I actually had a few non-reading days this month, which I’m annoyed at myself for because for the most part it was just because I was too lazy! Probably could have finished my TBR for the month if I had really focused, but nevermind!

I still read some really great books this month, so here’s what I read and my thoughts:


Girls of Paper & Fire by Natasha Ngan

e7643b51-bb9b-416b-9de3-578fbab5e469-1.jpgRating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I LOVED THIS BOOK. My first read of the year, and a 5-star rating – what more could I have hoped for?!

The plot was so full of action, I loved the characters and their relationships, and quite simply, I couldn’t put it down! A truly gripping read which I devoured in just 5 days.

Read full review here.


Normal People by Sally Rooney

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Rating:  🌟🌟🌟

So long story short, this book just wasn’t for me. I enjoyed it, but I generally just struggle with contemporary fiction. I appreciated the book for what it was: the writing was great and it felt very honest and raw, but I just felt like I didn’t really connect with it or care enough to feel compelled to read it… I don’t know.

Anyway, I gave it 3 stars and I’ll write a full review soon.


Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Empress of All SeasonsRating:  🌟🌟🌟.5

I finished this book this afternoon and I have very mixed feelings about it. It took me about half of the month in total to read, which I feel is a long time for a book of less than 400 pages… it just didn’t quite flow and I found the multiple perspectives jarring, especially as most of the characters weren’t that likeable. Saying that though, I really started to enjoy it after the 200 page mark.

Full review to come soon.


What books did you read this month?

[2018 Wrap-Up] 5-Star Reads

So I’m a little behind in my 2018 wrap-up series, but I really wanted to post this one, as I read some really great books in 2018.

My reading for this year has already started off really well: my first read was a 5-Star review! So let’s recap on those books which I gave the coveted 5/5 rating in 2018…


Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

This was my first read of 2018, and a wonderful middle-grade fantasy.

It takes place in a land called Erkenwald, which was created by the Sky Gods. However, the smallest star gets jealous and decides to claim the land as her own, lacing it with dark magic and capturing a young girl called Eska in a music box, as her voice holds a power which can either destroy or save the world… CUE ADVENTURE. Its brilliant.

Read my full review here.


A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

The gripping finale to the Darker Shade of Magic series.

So many twists.

So many turns.

So many precious Cinnamon rolls that needed protecting…

Read my full *spoiler free* review here.


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

So I’ve heard many mixed opinions on this book, but personally, I loved it. It has music, beautiful descriptions, intense romance and a goblin underworld… cool, right?!

I absolutely flew through this book, although I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the second book. But to be honest, you don’t even need to read the second one to feel like you’ve got everything out of this story.

I was rubbish at keeping on top of reviews last year, so I don’t have one for this book I’m afraid…


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

This book was SO. MUCH. FUN.

The world is whimsical, intriguing and there are so many fun characters that I just loved reading about.

Morrigan is cursed and doomed to die on her 11th birthday. Or so she thought… until she gets whisked away to a land called Nevermoor, where she will discover her true destiny.

I really should have written a review for this(?!)


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Told from 3 oppressed women’s perspectives and set in a Wintery 18th century (ish) Russia, we are spun a tale of strength, independence and courage.

A loose Rumplestiltskin re-telling, this book is magical and brilliantly written.

This book is dark and twisty, and full of political intrigue. It was wonderfully clever.

(No review to link again… wow I suck.)


Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

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Not into the whole super-hero thing?

Me neither, but this series seems to be hitting the mark for me!

So far I’ve read both this one and Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo, and both got 5 star ratings from me!

Did I write a review? Who are we kidding…

 


The Binding by Bridget Collins

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I am obsessed with this book.

It is incredible.

One of the best books I’ve read in so long, and I’ve not stopped talking about it to people. My poor non-reader friends are being forced to listen to me too…

I can’t of much else to say other than READ MY REVIEW because I actually wrote one!

 


Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

It’s no surprise to me that multiple Sarah J. Maas books have ended up on this list. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be…

Tower of Dawn was, in my opinion, the best book in the entire Throne of Glass series.

I’m not sure I can even explain why, but I loved the new characters, the Torre and all the dark goings on, and oh boy, the romance. DEAD.

 


Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

The epic finale.

Not only to the Throne of Glass series, but also the last 5-star book that I read in 2018.

This was such an epic conclusion to the series, and I still don’t think I’ve fully recovered from all that death…

I will be writing a review for this one before this month is out. You can count on it.


So that’s it, all of my 5-star reads of 2018 in one place! A whole NINE of them! Shame we couldn’t quite make it 10, though I did have a couple of very close 4.5 rated books.

There’s always this year…


 

[Book Review] Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

39898847Synopsis: Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


Could there have been a better book to open my 2019 reading? Absolutely not.

This book, in my opinion, was perfection.

An Asian fantasy with oppressed, abused young women who step up and take their lives back, even in the most dire of situations, with a beautiful f/f relationship, this book had everything I love in fantasy. It was thoroughly entertaining and had me gripped to its pages from the very beginning – I honestly didn’t want to put it down! It’s a shame I only have time to read on my commute, because otherwise I think I would have read it in one sitting.

I loved the social system:

  • Paper Caste: Fully Human
  • Steel Caste: Half Human, Half Demon
  • Moon Case: Fully Demon

This provided a class system away from race and nationality, but brought an equivalent that we can compare to in the real world. Paper Caste are seen as the lowest in society, oppressed and discriminated against highly by the Moon Caste. Some in the Paper Caste submitted to this, and others did not…

The thing I loved most about this book was the wide variety of characters; their personalities and backgrounds painted a technicolor rainbow, and it was a delight to read about each one of these women. One of my particular favourites was Lill, the young Steel Caste maid assigned to look after Lei in Paper House. She was bubbly, naive and witty, and honestly made me laugh out loud on several occasions. Her energy translated onto the page beautifully.

I have to say that I thought this book was incredibly well-written. The character developments were terrific, and the only thing I can ask of in the next instalment to the series, is even more world building. Whilst we got enough for this book to work, I would ideally like this to be built upon even more to create an fully immersive world, complete with all of the crazy politics and intriguing magic system that we started to get a sense of in this book.

I have so many questions left to be answered.

AND BOY, THAT CLIFFHANGER…

I sure do hope we don’t have to wait too long for Book 2!

I’m so glad I decided to open 2019 with this book, my only regret is that I didn’t read it when it was first published!


[Anticipated Releases] January 2019

I was going to do a generic “Most Anticipated Releases of 2019” post, but I realised that there are SO MANY books that I am excited about this year, that it would have taken you a year to read the list!

So instead I shall be doing an “Anticipated Releases” post on a monthly basis, starting here, in January…


The Wicked King by Holly Black

  • Publication Date: January 8th
  • Publisher: Hot Key Books

26032887Synopsis:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


The Binding by Bridget Collins

  • Publication Date: January 10th
  • Publisher: The Borough Press

So I’ve actually already read this one and believe me when I tell you you HAVE to read it immediately! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, it’s already my Book of the Year for 2019. The more I think about it, the more I love it and want to re-read it over and over again.

Read my review here.

39964740Synopsis:

Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Forever.

Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.


The Winter of The Witch by Katherine Arden

  • Publication Date: January 10th
  • Publisher: Del Rey

38204046Synopsis:

Moscow has burned nearly to the ground, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to hold accountable. Vasya finds herself on her own, amid a rabid mob that calls for her death, blaming her witchery for their misfortune.

Then a vengeful demon returns, renewed and stronger than ever, determined to spread chaos in his wake and never be chained again. Enlisting the hateful priest Konstantin as his servant, turmoil plagues the Muscovites and the magical creatures alike, and all find their fates resting on the shoulders of Vasya.

With an uncertain destiny ahead of her, Vasya learns surprising truths of her past as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all…


Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

  • Publication Date: January 17th
  • Publisher: Transworld Ltd.

36678391Synopsis:

A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

  • Publication Date: January 29th
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens (Imprint of Hachette)

40030680Synopsis:

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.


Which new releases are you most looking forward to this month?

[Book Review] The Binding by Bridget Collins

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

39964740Synopsis: Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.


I was incredibly lucky to be sent an advanced copy of this book by the team at Borough Press.

Release Date: January 10th 2019


This book was incredible.
My favourite read of this year, and I can’t wait for it to be released in January so that everyone else can read it too!

It was utterly absorbing and enthralling from beginning to end. I loved everything about it; the characters were vivid, honest and fully rounded, the plot had just the right amount of twists and turns and I loved the premise on which the whole book is set around.

Just as if I were a character in the story, where reading a book was forbidden but sucked you in so that you had no concept of how much time had passed, and could picture their lives so vividly; this is how I felt reading this book. I could not and had no desire to put it down, and it has been such a long time since I’ve felt this way whilst reading a book.

The characters were morally flawed and intriguing, and all went on such incredible journeys. There wasn’t one character that I thought was under-developed. There were characters I hated, ones I loved deeply and I just wanted to stay with them long after I turned the final page of the book.

I have so many words that I just want to shout out about this book; it was utterly spellbinding, hopelessly romantic, moving, captivating, magical and simply wonderful.

A sheer delight to read.

I will be recommending this book to absolutely everyone, and I wish I could read it for the first time over and over again, just to experience that magical feeling that I was left with once more.

An easy 5 star review, there’s no question about it.