I just thought I’d switch things up by starting up my own site and share a bit more with you guys than I do on my bookstagram and Tumblr!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Seher and I’m a reader based in Pakistan! I read just about everything I can get my hands on! That being said I adore fantasy and poetry! I used to post exclusively on Instagram, but now I’ve decided to try and maintain my own blog!
If you prefer Instagram, that’s all good! I’ve linked that below! And if you prefer getting your reviews and giveaways on Tumblr and Twitter, those will be here too!
I’m also using this as a more creative space, so you’ll also get plenty of tarot card posts, restaurant reviews (from Islamabad), and pictures of the sky after it rains! I’ll also be posting my writing update, which is something I’m trying to get back into!
This is The Girl Who Reads in chaos mode!
I maintain two tumblr accounts! Which does sound like a bit much, but both serve for different moods!
My book tumblr lets me post more content than I can on my bookstagram, so you’ll find more posts here (in the future) and more excerpts, etc!
My poetry tumblr is a mood. Things that I love are posted there!
You can also find me on twitter (where I generally just cry and complain about life)
I have a lot of badges from all the sites I usually review on and now you have to see them because this is the first time I’ve had a place to put them! 🙂
And last but not least, my google reviews!
Giveaway: The Daughters of Madurai by Rajasree Variyar
Title: THE DAUGHTERS OF MADURAI
Author: Rajasree Variyar
Pub. Date: February 28, 2023
Publisher: Union Square & Co.
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Find it: Goodreads, https://books2read.com/THE-DAUGHTERS-OF-MADURAI
1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE DAUGHTERS OF MADURAI, US Only.
Ends March 7th, midnight EST.a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
The Daughters of Madurai is both a page-turning mystery and a heartrending story of the fraught family dynamics and desperate choices that face a young mother in India. Spanning 1990s South India and present-day Australia, the novel follows Janani, a mother who will do anything to save her unborn daughter, and Nila, a young woman who embarks on a life-changing journey of self-discovery.
Madurai, 1992. A young mother in a poor family, Janani is told she is useless if she can’t produce a son—or worse, if she bears daughters. They let her keep her first baby girl, but the rest are taken away as soon as they are born, and murdered. But Janani can’t forget the daughters she was never allowed to love . . .
Sydney, 2019. Nila has a secret; one she’s been keeping from her parents for too long. Before she can say anything, her grandfather in India falls ill, so she agrees to join her parents on a trip to Madurai. Nila knows little about where her family came from or who they left behind. What she’s about to learn will change her forever.
While The Daughters of Madurai explores the harrowing issue of female infanticide, it’s also a universal story about the bond between mothers and daughters, the strength of women, the power of love in overcoming all obstacles—and the secrets we must keep to protect the ones we hold dear.
Fans of historical and contemporary fiction novels about India such asAlka Joshi’s The Henna Artist from the Jaipur Trilogy and Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us, as well as Kristin Hannah’s books exploring sisterhood and mother-daughter relationships will enjoy Variyar’s poignant debut. This extraordinary work of fiction tells a story that deserves to be read and discussed for years to come.
About the Author:
Rajasree Variyar is an author and short story writer born in Bangalore and raised in Sydney. Her short stories won second prize in the Shooter Literary Magazine short story competition and were longlisted for the Brick Lane Bookshop short story competition. The Daughters of Madurai is Variyar’s debut novel, inspired by a childhood memory of a news segment about a case of female infanticide in her birthplace of Bangalore—and her experience spending time with a grassroots charity in Madurai empowering women and educating girls and boys to help eradicate the practice. A marathoner and self-described history nerd, she lives in London.
Book Tour and Review: A Kiss of Iron by Clare Sager
Title: A Kiss of Iron
Series: Shadows of the Tenebris Court
Author: Clare Sager
Release Date: 20th Feb, 2023
Publisher: Wicked Lady Press
Related Series: Beneath Black Sails
A Kiss of Iron by Clare Sager
Thank you, Paper Myths, for the chance to read and review the arc for A Kiss of Iron! This is the first book in a brand new series by Clare Sager and is absolutely perfect for fans of ACOTAR! Kindle Unlimited subscribers will be happy to know that the book can be read as part of the subscription!
Mini Book Review:
I love so many things about A Kiss of Iron! It’s a well-edited book that you can just dive right into! You read and read and just enjoy the ride!
Kat’s been married to a nobleman who has been away for ten years, sleeping with other women and basically flaunting his marriage vows while she looks after his crumbling estate. She was taught to be obedient in horrible ways, which haunt her throughout this book. She also knows that she has to make difficult decisions and be practical; after all, what use is sentimentality when water is dripping through the roof.
I also loved the touch her and die trope and how sex can be wild, crazy, and passionate without trampling over someone else and their boundaries. I loved how much Kat grew as a character! She was reasonably determined at the start of things. Still, as things change and progress, she deals with many horrible people and things around her, makes allies, and becomes more robust and wiser. This book also has the best, and easily the best, use of the one bed trope.
And I have a crush on Bastien, for sure. He’s my new book boyfriend, and I can’t wait to learn more about his past in the upcoming books.
I can see that this series is set in the same world as Beneath Black Sails. However, that didn’t make a difference to my reading experience, except it made me want to check out that series. I wish we had seen Avice interact with Uncle Rupert because that would have been pretty exciting.
The next book in the series, A Touch of Poison, comes out on the 28th of September, and I can hardly wait!
The Wolf and the Wildflower by Stacy Reid
Thank you NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read and review The Wolf and the Wildflower by Stacy Reid!
This regency romance is available for pre-order and will be out on the 27th of Feb!
This is not my first Stacy Reid read! That was A Matter of Temptation!
A quick glance at Stacy Reid’s website shows you that she’s a prolific writer with over 40 books to her name! There is a reason for that; Stacy Reid writes fun books. This one, with a completely insane premise is one of them!
When James Winters, the Duke of Wulverton, is recovered, his family is concerned with for his mental health (he seems to be half a wild man) and also for their futures and lives. He may be a duke, but even his sister can’t get engaged if the haute ton think her brothers out of his mind. Jules Southby, the psychologist, knows a bit about having to deal with the expectations of society and living a lie, which James is now expected to do. When they meet, the interest is mutual and intense, but one has to give up a lot more than the other for this to work!
While the plot is a little out there, I loved how Stacy Reid depicted how insane the expectations were of everyone. The dukes family had to follow the rules, even when they actively harmed his health, because the rest of them had to survive. Of course, his mother could have been less intense about some things and should have been more understanding, and it’s interesting to watch the what-will-people-say thing that happens here.
I also adored the dukes sister (99% sure the next book will be about her) and how the guy she wanted was ghosting her! I loved that she and James were able to build things up again.
London is buzzing with the news that James Winters, the Duke of Wulverton—thought lost at sea a decade ago—survived in the harsh wilderness of the Yukon. Now he’s been returned to his family, his responsibilities, and a nightmarish world of artifice and noise. He has three weeks to become a refined, elegant duke for the Queen…or doom the entire family to ruin and scandal.
Promising psychologist Jules Southby knows a lot about disguises. She’s secretly been living as a boy since birth, enjoying the freedoms of men and knowing little about how to behave like a woman. When she meets the alluring duke, she’s unprepared for his raw, masculine beauty and icy intelligence…or that he can see through her darkest secret.
Jules has very little time to transform the duke into a true semblance of an English gentleman. Yet his very presence seems to unravel her in every way. Their attraction is stark and achingly real—and forbidden. But loving the lost duke would mean losing every sacrifice she’s made to earn her freedom…
Book Review: Abyss by Pilar Quintana
Author: Pilar Quintana
Translator: Lisa Dillman
Genre: Literary Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Suicide
Publisher: World Editions
Release Date: 7th Feb, 2023
Thank you NetGalley and World Editions for the chance to read and review this book!
Abyss, the 2021 winner of the prestigious Premio Alfaguara de Novela, has now been translated into English. Joining the ranks of other remarkable works such as The Essex Serpent (which also won the award), this novel was originally published in Spanish and is set to capture the attention of readers worldwide. The book is told from the perspective of an eight year old girl, Claudia, as she watches people around her; especially her mother.
While many people focus on how Claudia’s experiences show how children witness and are affected by their surroundings, I would like to explore how much of an only child she is. Being an only child is a unique experience. Some people believe that it’s obvious that only children don’t have siblings to squash them or make them more responsible and that makes them more spoiled and selfish. They may not be good at sharing their personal space and are prone to becoming introverted. However, “Abyss” is the first book I’ve read in a long time that captures the inwardness and loneliness of an only child with messy parents. It’s important to note that there’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling introverted or lonely, and having another child simply to provide companionship for the first child is not a good idea. In fact, according to an article by Psychology Today, only children are just like everyone else.
In addition, the novel captures the phenomenon of hyper-fixation, which is a term that describes the intense focus that can occur in one’s mind. As an only child, this experience resonates with me, and I find it fascinating to see it portrayed in literature. At the same time, calling hyper-fixation by its name makes me feel a bit less different; a little less special but also more relieved. I’m not a crazy obsessive person; I am who I am.
That terrible heat, I felt it, like a rope around her neck.
And in this novel we see two generations of this obsession. One now a mother and the other a child, and with the tremendous loneliness, (or perhaps relief) of not being the fixation. Of course, she’s also depressed. Of course, it’s brilliant in the throws of an obsession to hover on the edge of a cliff. But it’s not for a child. It’s not for a girl who see’s but doesn’t fully understand why her parents marriage is a breath away from imploding. Why you’d want to hope someone wanted to drive themselves of a cliff, while you’d want to hope that it was and wasn’t suicide when they toppled from a balcony. I don’t want to romanticise the latter, but I can understand why we’d want the women around us to have control over their endings, especially if they had none over the rest of the story.
This is also turning into less of a review and more of a ramble.
Let’s call the book thought provoking and call it a day.
Book Review: Heart Like a Broken Arrow by Maija Barnett
Thank you, NetGalley and West 44 Books, for the chance to read and review Heart Like a Broken Arrow by Maija Barnett!
A HI/LO book in Verse
It’s essential to remember that West 44 Books exclusively publishes books for younger readers, so middle-grade and young adult. Hi/Lo (also hi-lo) means that the book covers a fascinating subject but is also at a low reading level. This article at Publishers Weekly is a great way to understand more about HI/LO books!
This is also not the first West 44 Book I’ve read! The other I’ve read is Everything You Left Me by Paige Classey!
Extra Tiny Book Review
Heart like a Broken Arrow, despite being a cheesy title, has a lot of interesting themes! Between the parents who are incredibly immature and are right out of the AITA subreddit, the guilt that goes on for years, the neglect and how the book was wrapped up, we get a really lovely story. Of course, we also have all the pain that goes along with hope.
Heart Like a Broken Arrows comes out on the 1st of April! I highly recommend it to Hi/LO fans or just readers who want to read a book on how those who become differently abled deal with the changes, and the support that many need and often lack! The section in the hospital was particularly horrifying to me, as was what the parents did!
Seventeen-year-old Fern Blakely struggles to overcome her younger brother’s death, for which she feels responsible. Fern drinks to forget. After a night of partying, she crashes her truck on an icy Vermont road, and her life is changed forever. A former runner, Fern is now paralyzed from the waist down. Her depressed mother has neither the funds nor the ability to care for her, so Fern is sent to live with Helen, her estranged father’s aunt. It is with Helen that Fern overcomes her own depression and develops a love for archery. This passion sets Fern on a new path, but will she ever be able to outrun her past?
Book Review: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill
Title: The Crane Husband
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Release Date: 28th Feb, 2023
Thank you NetGalley and Tordotcom for the chance to read and review the extraordinary piece, The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill!
At around 128 pages, The Crane Husband can no longer be called a novella. And yet this short novel weaves together a tale that other authors fail to do in 10 times that number of pages.
Cranes are mean. Cruel, you know? Just ask any frog or fish in the pond. A crane is a predator just like any other predator—sneaky, and opportunistic. Not one of them would have the patience for weaving, or for beauty for its own sake. A crane would make someone else do it for him. A mouse maybe. Or a beautiful spider. He’d work it nearly to death, and then he’d eat it.”
One day, our unnamed narrators mother brings home a crane. Not a pet crane, but a crane the size of a man. While she imagines that the crane will leave soon, her mother adopts plenty of human and animal strays for short periods, it’s still odd to see it kiss her mothers neck and draw blood that her mother doesn’t notice. And things only get more intense from there on.
“It’s a sad fact about true love,” my mother told me once. “The sheep love me without ceasing, and that is why I am able to cause them pain—love is the path of least resistance, you see? It’s a lot more work to cause harm to someone who mistrusts you, or fears you. Or hates you. Love opens the city gates wide, and allows all manner of horrors right inside. This is why they don’t flinch when I come at them with something unpleasant.”
The family has always believed that mothers on the farm run away when their child turns 5 years old. The town has always believed that they are mad and run away with different men. Now that the farm is gone and our narrators father dead, the mother has remained; an artist with the practicality of a farmers daughter, when needed.
“Your mother doesn’t know these things,” he said, a note of pleading in his voice. “She has always been that way. She is an artist. Her feet barely touch the ground. I’ve been the one to keep her tethered to the earth. And now it’s your job. And you’re too young, and it’s not fair, but there it is.”
With that in mind it’s also important to remember that while this falls under magical realism, this is a story of abuse and neglect. There is a parentified 15 year old, and a 6 year old without much food. There is also the horrifying practicality at the end, the neglect of the school system, the way things play out. I honestly don’t know how to write about all of this in a way that does it justice.
To the mothers who flew away. And to those they left behind.
I also feel like The Crane Husband is a good way to sample things before diving right into When Women Were Dragons by the author as well. You’ll know what I mean when you’ve finished this book!
Book Review: Clara & Olivia by Lucy Ashe
Title: Clara & Olivia
Author: Lucy Ashe
Publisher: Magpie (a Oneworld imprint)
Release Date: 2nd Feb, 2023
Thank you Random Things Tours for the chance to read and review Clara & Olivia by Lucy Ashe.
I’ve been told by a few people that I don’t often tell them if I loved or hated a book at the start, they need to figure that out while reading my review. So for this book I’d like to openly declare that I loved it! It grabs you from the get-go and never eases up. It’s like a dream that you can feel turning into a nightmare!
This is even more impressive when you realise that Clara & Olivia is Lucy Ashe’s debut novel! This book is so good that I can’t wait to read what the author writes next!
Clara and Olivia are twin sisters who dance/train for the same theatre. While the girls are talented and ambitious ballerinas who look absolutely alike, they behave differently! Clara is the more adventurous one, who wants to dance and see the world; the one who wants to try new things. Olivia is the quieter one; the one devoted to ballet and the classics. While the girls are competitive, they love each other. We experience the book from each girls POV as well as the POV of two men; Samuel and Nathan, the former a gifted shoemaker and designer, and the latter a child prodigy.
The book starts off with a fairly horrific scene that we come back to close to the end, but suffice it to say it’s one of the men doing something horrific. It also takes us a while to unpack which man it is.
Lucy Ashe set up these characters really well. The twins and their dynamic and ambitions is so well done that they each become very different characters. In the hands of a lesser writer I would have absolutely muddled up details on each girl. Nathan and Samuel are also very real and honestly we all know people like them.
I genuinely want to focus on how well Lucy Ashe captured the impact of the boys actions on the twins. Samuel and his crush, while well meaning, had the undertone of an obsession with Olivia. While a lot of people crush and may do weird things when they do, I loved that Lucy Ashe explored how these actions unsettled Olivia! Nathan is also an incredibly typical man who wanted Clara as a trophy who folded his handkerchiefs and made him feel like someone in public spaces! His slow fall into darkness and what he does to try and control Clara is depicted well. The insane thing with his mother, what Clara finds uncomfortable is revealed to be his obsession and less of a her problem.
I don’t read a lot of psychological thrillers. They aren’t really my thing, but this book didn’t feel like a thriller for the most part, even though that undertone never goes away. I feel like non thriller fans will also love this book because of the romance and grace of the ballet and because the different POVs help make things feel less thriller-y and more like a series of misunderstandings. Don’t get me wrong, this is a thriller, and the ending works well; it just doesn’t feel so in your face.
LUCY ASHE is the author of CLARA & OLIVIA (Magpie, Oneworld publications).
She trained at the Royal Ballet School for eight years, first as a Junior Associate and then at White Lodge. She has a diploma in dance teaching with the British Ballet Organisation.
She studied English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, while continuing to dance and perform. She then took a PGCE teaching qualification and became an English teacher.
Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary journals and she was shortlisted for the 2020 Impress Prize for New Writers. She also reviews theatre, in particular ballet, writing for the website Playstosee.com.
Book Tour: Born from Fire by Charli
Thank you Love Book Tours for the chance to be on the book tour for Born from Fire by Charli
Born from Fire is a poetry book that was published on the 31st of August, 2022 by the author Charli.
As the book says the author does cover 45 years worth or experience in a select number of poems, which means there is a lot packed in there. However, the author did edit out a lot as the book is 72 pages.
The author focuses a lot on some really deep topics that have significantly impacted their life. These experiences can be painful to read about so do be careful going in! Poetry is intensely personal, and this writer truly seems to write from their heart.
A collection of poems reflecting over 45 years of challenges,
struggles, and human experiences that can either make
or break an individual. And I am still here…