shitbookreviews's reviews
137 reviews

Her Majesty's Royal Coven, by Juno Dawson

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adventurous emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

My Mechanical Romance, by Alexene Farol Follmuth

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emotional hopeful inspiring lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, by T.L. Huchu

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adventurous funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

The Pharmacist, by Rachelle Atalla

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dark hopeful sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

(copy via netgalley)

TL;DR
Liked but didn’t love. This is a post-apocalyptic story about the residents of a bunker slowly losing their minds with too many loose ends for my liking

THE JUICE

Post-apocalyptic but put it underground in a bunker with what can only be described as a dictatory prick running the show. Here are the fancy bullet points:

✨ The chosen few flung into a nuclear fallout bunker
✨ A pharmacist (Sarah Wolfe) just trying to live her best life in an underground tin can
✨ Some insane power plays
✨ A moral compass that is being flung all over the place

Wolfe is lucky to be in the bunker. Or so she’s told over and over.
Being one of the few pharmacists in the bunker, she’s the resident’s pill giver-outer, dispensing everything from period products to diazepam in a vain attempt to tackle the crushing depression from living an insanely controlled life.

Whilst things have never exactly been peachy, the leader of the bunker, Natha Douglas or ND, starts to go all dictatory on their asses. With his behaviour becoming more erratic, he starts asking Wolfe for little favours in exchange for treats (such as solid food) which she can’t possibly refuse. The only question is, what is she willing to sacrifice for these little tastes of home?

THE TAKE
Given the way things are going right now, this book felt a little more like a glimpse into the future rather than a work of fiction. A terrifying thought but I’ve also played A LOT of the Fallout games so this genre is absolutely my jam.

HOWEVER.

I just couldn’t fall in love with this book. And it drove me up the wall because it sounded perfect. The only things I can think of were:

  • Wolfe’s character was portrayed exactly as I imagined she would be except I neither loved nor despised her. She was just there doing uninteresting stuff.
  • There’s no punctuation to show when someone’s talking which hurt my dyslexic brain and left me spending too much time figuring out which was dialogue and what was world-building.
  • Loose ends. If you don’t like books that don’t tie things up nicely, this isn’t the book for you. I’ll put a wee spoilers bit on shitbookreviews.com to show you my VERY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS that I wish I could wrap up.

The plot points in this book are absolutely banging as is the world-building inside the bunker. I just wish there was a little more closure for my simple brain.

This is going to be a Marmite book – it will either be your jam or just not for you.

House of Sky and Breath, by Sarah J. Maas

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.25

Sundial, by Catriona Ward

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dark emotional sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

Only a Monster, by Vanessa Len

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adventurous inspiring mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

This Charming Man, by Caimh McDonnell

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adventurous funny lighthearted mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

[copy via netgalley + publishers]

TL;DR
Big fan. The old gang is back (with some new faces) and ready to tackle the vampire problem that absolutely doesn’t exist.

READ THE STRANGER TIMES FIRST, YOU DOUGHNUTS.

THE JUICE
Before we get started, this book is nothing to do with The Smiths. If for some weird reason you’ve landed here thinking it has anything to do with their sad, melancholy tunes, then you’re in the wrong place. Also whilst I’ve got you, this absolutely can be read without reading The Stranger Times, it will 100% help you with the context otherwise there might be a few WTF moments.

I’m done promise.

Right, so vampires don’t exist. It’s a well-known fact that everyone is very accepting of. However, it’s a tad annoying when people develop pointy teeth, an aversion to sunlight and an unquenchable thirst for human life liquid start showing up in Manchester and cause havoc.

The Founders aren’t massively chuffed with this finding. The Folk want nout to do with it and continue their if-I-can’t-see-it-they-doesn’t-exist vibes. The only people who are keen to tickle the mystery are the fine humans from The Stranger Times – a paper dedicated to reporting the paranormal.

The gang of merry misfits is back (plus some new faces) with Banecroft still yelling into the void and Hannah trying to make the paper run smoothly whilst tackling dodgy builders, a man who can’t tell any lies and a kidnap plot against one of their own.

Oh, and they’re trying to figure out this whole vampire thing at the same time.

The old magic is coming back.

THE TAKE
Vampire books have had a bit of a rough ride recently (I fully blame those sparkly bastards), so I’m always a bit standoffish when one appears. This Charming Man is different. If What We Do In The Shadows started up a paper, I imagine this would be very close in style.

This book is a proper delight to read. Humour sprinkled over it at the right points and a plot that will have you chuckling when you least expect it.

I was a huge fan of The Stranger Times. And that 100% set my expectations of book 2 through the roof. So whilst I really, really rate this book, it didn’t win me over as quickly as the first.

If your jam involves urban fantasy that doesn’t take itself remotely seriously whilst having a nonsensical but genius plotline, this is for you.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, by Axie Oh

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

[copy via netgalley]

TL;DR
I am in love. This emotional and heartfelt retelling is everything you want in a standalone fantasy book.

THE JUICE
As a kid, I was convinced I was a mermaid in a past-life. If anyone was trying to find 7-year-old-Jen, you’d just need to look in the deep end of the swimming pool where I’d be dolphin kicking underwater and living out my underwater fantasy life.

So when you plonk this book in front of me, I didn’t stand a fucking chance. Here’s what you’re in for:

✨ A Sea God causing a bit of mayhem
✨ Yearly sacrifices of girls to said Sea God
✨ An underwater world full of magical things including yet more gods and mythical beasts
✨ One bad-ass powerhouse called Mina who I’d love to be pals with pronto

Every year, a small village makes a sacrifice to the Sea God in order to avoid natural catastrophes which he is quite clearly in control of. Most people would presume that might involve giving the water lad some crops or a nice bracelet except you’d be very, very wrong.

In this world, they sacrifice 16-year old girls instead. Every year they scoot around local villages to find the most beautiful girl they can, fully kit her out as a bride and then yeet her into the sea in the hopes she might (emphasise on MIGHT) be his one true love and break the curse.

Mina (your main bestie) isn’t the bride, so technically she could have just gone about living her life, HOWEVER her brother’s girlfriend, Shim Cheong, was. Refusing to live in that timeline, she flung herself into the ocean before creating a self-sacrifice moment that rivals that time Spock repaired the Warp Drive.

Now in the spirit realm, Mina needs to figure out a way to wake the Sea God by gathering up a chaotic crew of demons, spirits and gods in a world completely unknown to her in an attempt to figure out what the hell is going on with him.


THE TAKE
Asian retellings. BEAUTIFUL bloody cover. The words Spirited Away whispered into my ear.

Combine those three things and I didn’t stand a chance. I knew I was going to sell my soul to these characters before I even turned the page and I am now a husk of a woman begging for more books by Axie Oh.

This book comes with a bit of everything, From a hint of action with a sprinkling of romance, right down to emotional family moments that will have tears creeping up on you when you least expect it. Whilst the twists weren’t exactly full of ‘OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED’ moments, it didn’t take away from the story at all.

It’s so insanely hard not to give away everything through pure excitement of this world.
I love it. And you will as well.
Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

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adventurous challenging mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75