THE CRUCIBLE

Since I can remember, I’ve always loved reading fiction about witches, films and TV shows too. I’ve always had a soft spot for anything magical!

It wasn’t until I had to study The Crucible in school that I really became interested in the history of witches. I didn’t know a lot about “real life” witches or the witch trials. I only knew the likes of “The Worst Witch” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. I was 19 when studying The Crucible, at which a point I don’t believe I knew anything of the trials and tribulations so many women had gone through in the 1600s and even more recently due to being suspected witches.

The Crucible opened my eyes to the true history of witchcraft and I found it horrifying but couldn’t help but be completely infatuated with the story of the Salem witch trials. How a group of girls breaking the rules somehow turned into what became the worlds best known witch hunt.

The Crucible is the only book I own that’s ever been annotated, the only book I own that’s been read so many times it’s held together by tape. Of course, part of that is because I studied it. Then again, I’ve studied so many books, having studied English Literature at university, and none of those were ever annotated.

The Crucible seemed to trigger something in my mind, it sparked a huge interest in witchcraft and the history of witches that I still carry with me six years on. It encouraged my decision to pursue English Literature with Creative Writing at university, because Arthur Miller’s mirroring of the witch trials and McCarthy communist “witch trials” blew my mind. I found it so clever.

It influenced so many aspects of my life without me even realising at the time and I think that’s the beauty of books. They hold so much influence and so much power. If I hadn’t studied The Crucible, I wouldn’t have gone to Leeds to watch it be performed in a playhouse, that day influenced my decision to go to university in Leeds. If I hadn’t studied English in Leeds, I might not be in the job I’m in now. A job I love! It’s crazy to think how words on a page can influence so much.

The Crucible is one of many books that have shaped my world.

Buy The Crucible here

Here’s the synopsis! (From Goodreads):

“I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history,” Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminates the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.

Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “witch-hunts” in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing, “Political opposition… is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence.”

ABOUT ME

Hi!

I thought I would do a little post to introduce myself properly, so without further ado…..

I’m Shannon (she/her), I’m 25 and I live in beautiful North Wales with my fiancé and our cat.

Things I love:

▪️books

▪️cats

▪️anything remotely witchy

▪️coffee

▪️animals in general

▪️chick flicks and musicals!

▪️fantasy

▪️gilmore girls and friends

Things I hate:

▪️vegetables

▪️sports

▪️basically anything healthy

▪️horror films

▪️loud chewers

I’m an avid reader, I’ve been blogging for about a year, mostly on Instagram. I did previously have another blog, but I lost my passion for it so I’m starting anew. I’ve read 103 books so far this year which is 13 higher than my goal of 90! 90 might seem like a random number, but it was originally 75 and once I passed that I didn’t think I could manage 100, but I did! I considered upping my goal again but it seemed pointless to keep passing my goal and setting a new one.

As well as reading and blogging about books in my spare time, I’m a library assistant! I have a Level 3 qualification in Libraries, Archives and Information services as well as a BA (Hons) in English Literature with Creative Writing. I originally wanted to go into publishing but I absolutely love my job and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Books are my life!

CINDERELLA IS DEAD

This book is what a retelling should be like!

Bayron has taken all your typical fairytale tropes and flipped them, completely reinventing the story of Cinderella and making it dark, mystical and empowering.


Initially I didn’t think there was any character development but rereading it I think despite the fact that Sophia was very strong minded at the beginning, she really matured and owned her views so much more by the end. She had a lack of flare at the beginning and adapted a very “I don’t care” attitude but I found she progressed into a character who cared deeply about how her hometown, specifically the women, were impacted.


I love that our main character is a young black sapphic, more fairytales need diverse characters like Sophia.


I stand by the fact that the ending felt like a barrage of information. Both times I’ve read it, the ending just felt rushed and although obviously complete I felt like I was waiting for more as the events of the ending progressed so quickly and then just stopped.
Nonetheless, what a beautiful, highly imaginative retelling!


My rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy Cinderella is Dead

Here is the blurb! (from Goodreads):

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

RAYBEARER

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko has blown my mind. If I’m being completely honest, while I was excited about this book, I thought it was going to be just another fantasy.


It’s not. I could not have been more wrong. It’s totally unique to anything else I’ve ever read. This is a West African inspired fantasy, and definitely held elements of your standard fantasy, but Ifueko’s world building and just the entire plot made this book sensational.


It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. The premise is so interesting and it was executed amazingly. I never anticipated where the book would go or what Tarisai would choose to do. So much of the book focuses on choice or lack of it and I found myself captivated by trying to work out WHAT choices would be made.
I don’t want to say more because honestly you just NEED to read it!

I listened to the fantastic audiobook thanks to @tandemcollectiveuk, @hotkeybooksya and @bonnierbooks_uk. If you’re a fan of audiobooks I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this one. I swapped frequently between the audio and the book and both were amazing but the narrator for the audiobook is phenomenal.


My rating:
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Buy Raybearer here

Here is the blurb! (from Goodreads):

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

BLOOD & HONEY

Blood & Honey begins right where Serpent & Dove ends. For this reason, a LOT of the plot in Blood & Honey is filler. It sort of has to be, many characters start the book injured and in hiding and they haven’t yet come up with a plan. So they don’t really move for the very beginning of the book.


While I enjoyed the book, a large part of it was very slow paced. You can definitely tell this is the second book in a trilogy! It picked up around the 60% mark and at that point I was completely invested in the story.


I love Mahurin’s writing style and the atmosphere she builds within her world. Mahurin warned that this book is a lot darker than S&D and BOY she wasn’t joking. But I am HERE for it! There are certain characters that become a lot darker, in very eerie ways. It was unsettling but not in a bad sense, it built some tension at a point when it was definitely needed!

I really enjoyed that progression in the book. There’s a lot of development. A lot of new characters too! It did get a bit confusing because a large amount of new characters were introduced in a short period of time but I loved the shift in dynamic that these new characters brought with them.


While I loved this book, it also broke my heart… I can’t say why because of spoilers, buuuuuut you’re gonna need some tissues and possibly a few days off work to recover after reading it!


Serpent & Dove was a 5 star read for me and although I really enjoyed Blood & Honey, I’m rating this 3.5 stars, because I did find it really slow paced to begin with and I love a fast paced book. Regardless, I still really enjoyed it and I’m excited to see where the finale takes the characters.


My rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

*I received an electronic copy of this book via Netgalley courtesy of HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review.

THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H

The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton, quite honestly, had me drawn in from the second I saw its ambiguous title and gothic style cover.

To put it simply, The Strange Adventures of H, is exactly that. From childhood to womanhood we follow our protagonist H, as she reflects over the happenings in her life that brought her to present day. Told in first person by H herself, she talks us through her life, occasionally addressing the reader. It felt very classical and fit perfectly with the timeframe the book supposedly takes place.

We’re taken through the plague and the Great Fires of London via what felt like an astonishingly real perspective, which in itself was harrowing.

H suffers a great deal of trauma and turmoil and I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this book is watching her strength prevail time after time. In many ways, this is a feminist novel of sorts. H deals with a number of things that could set her back as a woman, due to the horror of them as well as the timeframe being the 17th century. By the end of the book, H is a powerful woman. A woman with money, with friends, with found family. A woman who needed nothing but herself to get to the point she reaches. She is turfed from her home during the plague, whilst carrying twins and still finds a means of helping herself. During the Great Fire when she hears her aunt will not leave despite her house being set to burn down, H devises a plan to get her to safety all whilst making sure H’s aunt doesn’t realise that she is in fact, H.

H is ASTONISHINGLY strong and powerful. A complete force to be reckoned with and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her strange adventures.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

*I received an e-arc of this book via Netgalley with thanks to Legend Press in exchange for an honest review*

BOYFRIEND MATERIAL

A little bit of background on the book to start with! Boyfriend Material is filled with humour, woe and love.
Our main character, Luc, is often seen negatively in the limelight due to both his parents being has-been rockstars. Estranged from his father, Luc is increasingly troubled by how often he is compared in the media to his dad, who is now making a comeback, and when his job is put at risk by the persona the media have created of him, he knows he has to make some kind of effort to regain a hold of his life again and make sure he’s seen as respectable.
Enter Oliver Blackwood. Oliver is the epitome of respectable, if not a little supercilious, in Luc’s eyes. As a middle class lawyer, Luc knows being seen with Oliver could boost his persona and help him keep his job.
It turns out, Oliver is fed up of being seen alone and is in need of a fake-date to his parents coming anniversary, so they strike a deal!
Luc and Oliver enter a mutually beneficial fake relationship (you can see where this will go).
This book is packed to the brim with everything I needed with a cherry on top in the form of my favourite trope.
Is it predictable? You’d think so! But Hall throws in some definitely unexpected plot twists that had me reeling! No stone or loop hole is left unturned and each character has secrets and qualms of their own that really keep the book going at a fast pace.
The humour in the book is second to none. The characters play off each other so well in terms of sarcasm and their own senses of humour.
More than that though, Hall has managed to build depth and backstory to every character, main or secondary in such a seemingly effortless, astounding way.
I feel like I could read a spin off about ANY character in this book and be thoroughly entertained. The depth of all the characters made the story seem so much more realistic too.
The story itself had so many more layers than just your average romance. Both main characters face extremely difficult times in their personal lives as well as struggling mentally. It was refreshing to see a romance portrayed in such an honest, humane way. I truly felt like I was reading a true story.
Boyfriend Material made me laugh, cry, want to throw the book across the room, laugh and cry a bit more and I finished reading the book with that happy, elated joy you feel when a book is so perfectly wrapped up.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

WELCOME

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening!

Welcome to my all new blog.

So, a bit of insight about me… I love all things witchy, all things fantasy and all things fictional!

I’m a library assistant so books are my life, all day every day!

I’ve been blogging for about a year. Mostly on Instagram because I made my blog in a bit of a haste and just lost love for it. After a revamp I kind of got into it again but I feel like I lost my creativity.

BUT

I’M BACK.

I’m feeling more creative AND more inspired and determined than ever and I hope I can create some fun content! No idea what content that will beeee as of yet, but you can definitely expect reviews, recaps on my failed monthly TBRs and you can watch me religiously create a TBR every month knowing I will not stick to it! (Oops) but, I digress, I want this to be a space where I can share my love of books.

Shannon x

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