Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes – A Review by Bryony

“This particular monster is assaulted, abused and vilified. And yet, as the story is always told, she is the one you should fear. She is the monster. We’ll see about that.”

Rating: 4 stars

Release date: 15/09/2022

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Author: Natalie Haynes

CW: Rape, death, murder, injury, war


‘So to mortal men, we are monsters. Because of our flight, our strength. They fear us, so they call us monsters.’

Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt. And her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness.

Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon…

In Stone Blind, Natalie Haynes – the Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of A Thousand Ships – brings the infamous Medusa to life as you have never seen her before…


Natalie Haynes is one of my favourite writers to revisit Greek mythology. She makes them accessible and easy to read, and often humorous too. She also takes such a vast set of characters and uses them to explore a single story.

I love the story of Medusa, so I was really excited to see Natalie Haynes put her twist on it. I didn’t realise how many stories could be linked to Medusa’s though. Every time she introduced a tale or characters that seemed unconnected, it was just a waiting game – why were three sisters and a snake relevant? why did we need to know about the king of Ethiopia?

I really enjoyed that this book made Medusa human. It really emphasised that she wasn’t just a monster. She had a relationship with her sisters who loved her and she loved back. And she stood up for something she believed in when confronted by Poseidon, even though she was still scared.

I thoroughly enjoyed!

Wolfsong by TJ Klune – BLOG TOUR

“You’re alive. If you can take another breath, if you can take another step, then you’re not broken. Battered, maybe. Bruised. Cracked. But never broken”

Release date: 1st September 2022

Publisher: Tor Books

Author: TJ Klune

TW: Abduction, violence, torture, blood, death, emotional abuse (parent, past), death of parent (on page)

Rep: Bisexual MC


Ox Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change him forever. For the family are shapeshifters, who can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known. He also finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Joe is charming and handsome, but haunted by scars he cannot heal.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town, and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Wolfsong is the first book in the Green Creek series by bestselling author TJ Klune. Continue the journey with Ravensong.

After loving Under the Whispering Door in July, I knew I had to request Wolfsong when given the chance – T.J. Klune had enchanted me with his writing and I could not wait to read his next book.

I’m (unfortunately) only halfway through (thank you reading slump) but have still adored every second I’ve spent in the world.

I love the characters, the relationships, the fantasy, the world, the plot, the vibes. Although the plot of this is a bit more intense (and the page count quite a bit longer), I’ve still felt content in the world. Klune’s books are much more about feeling at home in your own skin and finding people that you fit in with, than going on a grand quest.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!

Belladonna by Adalyn Grace – A Review by Bryony

“But I don’t want you so focused on the world of the dead that you forget to enjoy that of the living.”

Rating: 5 stars

Release date: 30th August 2022

Publisher: Hodderscape

Author: Adalyn Grace


For as long as Signa Farrow has been alive, the people in her life have fallen like stars…

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her wellbeing – and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy.

Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger, and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer, though, is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful – and more irresistible – than she ever dared imagine.

From New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace, Belladonna brings to life a highly romantic, gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.


Belladonna was a masterpiece. It completely hooked me and left me wanting more – I didn’t want to put the book down.

The genre was a gothic, regency fantasy romance with a murder to solve. I didn’t realise there was going to be a mystery before I started reading it – in fact I didn’t know much about the book – but the combination worked surprisingly well. I did not guess who the culprit was until they were revealed, so I’d be interested to go back and see if I could see the clues earlier if I was looking for them.

I loved the setting. Fancy house. Balls and gowns. Etiquette to follow. Spooky house full of lingering spirits. I really enjoyed Signa having to navigate society and learn new rules (determining which are worth following) whilst also assessing everyone she’s surrounded by.

I think Signa was a great character. She was brave and had morals. It was really interesting to see how she interacted with spirits and how she came to eventually want to learn more about her powers. I loved her relationship with Death, Silas and her cousins. Each of those also presented their own mystery – it felt like very few people were actually trustworthy.

I didn’t realise this was a sequel until I finished it and now I can’t wait. I’d dive straight into it if I could!

With Fire in Their Blood by Kat Delacorte – A Review by Bryony – BLOG TOUR

“They whispered rebellion plans to each other through holes in the boundary wall, like a regular Romeo and Juliet.”

Release date: 01/09/2022

Publisher: Penguin

Author: Kat Delacorte

CW: Death, death by burning, suicide (remembered, revisited on page), implied abuse by parent, absent parent, drug use, drug addiction, religion


A simmering supernatural romance set in the crumbling Italian city of Castello, where mafia clans make the rules, dark magic pulses the streets and the sins of the past threaten to consume the present…

Perfect for lovers of Chloe Gong, Renée Ahdieh and V.E. Schwab

When sixteen-year-old Lilly arrives in Castello, she isn’t impressed.

A secluded town in the Italian mountains is not where she saw her last years of high school playing out.

Divided for generations by a brutal clan-family war, the two halves of Castello are kept from destroying each other by the mysterious General, a leader determined to maintain order and ‘purity’… whatever the cost.

Lilly falls in with the rebellious Liza, brooding Nico and sensitive Christian, and sparks begin to fly. But in a city where love can lead to ruin, Lilly isn’t sure she can trust anyone — not even herself.

And then she accidentally breaks Castello’s most important rule: when the General’s men come to test your blood, you’d better not be anything more than human…

With Fire in their Blood is a super interesting premise. A modern Romeo and Juliet in a modern Handmaid’s Tale esque society where witches are burned and those that turn them in are celebrated.

The setting is a somewhat creepy Italian town in the middle of nowhere. There’s a wall that literally splits the city based on the two opposing clan sides of the war. It’s a world of faded beauty, crumbling architecture and vandalised artwork. It’s not the Italy where Lily was expecting to live.

There’s a history to the town though, that Lily has to discover. Why they’re split, why the secrecy, why the mandatory tests…

There were some interesting characters with motivations that Lily also had to discover. They make it really difficult for her not to split her loyalties. She’s also having a bit of a bi crisis – poor her!

I’m really intrigued by the kind of magic system in this as we don’t really know anything about it. It seems to be a thing that just appears… but how we don’t know. I’m interested to see if we find out more.

I’ve still got a few chapters to read but I’m really enjoying it so far. The reviews for this have been glowing, so I’m excited to see how it concludes!

Waking the Witch by Rachel Burge – A Review by Bryony

“I tried to keep you safe, but I see now that I can’t. They won’t stop until they have you…”

Rating: 5 stars

Release date: 18/08/2022

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Author: Rachel Burge


When Ivy’s search for her mother draws her to a remote Welsh isle, she uncovers a dark secret about her past.

An ancient and corrupt power is stalking Ivy, and her only chance of survival is to look deep within herself. For not every story in legend is true, and some evils are not what they seem…

An unputdownable novel steeped in Welsh mythology and Arthurian legend, from the bestselling author of THE TWISTED TREE and THE CROOKED MASK


Waking the Witch honestly feels like Rachel Burge reached into my head and found the things I wanted to read. Arthurian legends, witches, feminism? It felt perfect and I really enjoyed it as a result.

I loved the setting in this. It felt unsettling and creepy, in contrast to the reunion with her mum that Ivy has dreamed of for years, and it helped build an uncertainty around everything she is introduced to/discovers.

Maybe I’m used to Arthurian retellings that more often explore the Knights and King Arthur, so I was pleasantly surprised that this explored the women’s side of the story. I really enjoyed their story, and their reason to explore a shared pain – it felt sadly realistic.

After so long without a family, I liked the opportunity Ivy was handed to have one. It wasn’t the one that she (or I) expected, but it worked. I liked that it wasn’t perfect, and that, for so long, she felt like she was trying to squeeze herself into a mould that didn’t quite fit. It felt better that she had to embrace her own identity to make everything work.

Daughter of Darkness by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr – A Review by Bryony

Rating: 4 stars

Release date: 04/08/2022

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Author: Katherine and Elizabeth Corr

CW: Death, death of a friend (on page), ritual sacrifice, ritualistic use of dead bodies, ritualistic use of blood


The Underworld awaits…

Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world – unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out.

Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts.

So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades… The prize of freedom is before her – but what will it take to reach it?


Orpheus and Eurydice was a Greek myth I’d not heard of until the start of last year, but was one I quickly came intrigued by. Katherine and Elizabeth Corr took this myth in a really interesting direction, interpreting the myth in a really fun and unusual way.

I loved the world building in this. The Ancient Greek world combined with a Bronze Age one made for a really interesting setting, placing the ancient Gods and Goddesses in a different context. I enjoyed traveling through Greece as well as the Underworld, seeing how the legends manifested in this story.

I liked the inclusion of different groups of kind of acolytes/kind of followers for the Gods. They were given a sliver of their power to help with their duties and represent them on Earth. It kind of made the Gods seem more detached.

Deina was a great main character. She was smart and determined and she intensely believed in what she wanted. She also really loved her friends, and grew to love – or at least be loyal – those she didn’t initially like.

There was a great found family in this. A hatred and competitiveness turned into grudging admiration and teamwork. They came to trust each other as they learnt the strengths and weaknesses of those around them.

I did not expect some of the twists and reveals towards the end, so I think it’ll make for a really interesting sequel. I look forward to seeing how Deina continues to grow and what will happen next.

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson – A Review by Bryony

“If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters.”

Rating: 5 stars

Release date: 21/07/2022

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Author: Juno Dawson

TW: Transphobia, misgendering, racism, violence, injury, attempted murder, death, kidnapping, war, car accident, animal sacrifice, death of grandparent, death of parent, abusive relationship (hinted at, remembered)

Rep: Transgender SC, Black lesbian MC


Hidden among us is a secret coven of witches. They are Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. They protect crown and country from magical forces and otherworldly evil. But their greatest enemy will come from within.

There are whisperings of a prophecy that will bring the coven to its knees, and five best friends are about to be caught at the centre. Life as a modern witch was never simple… but now it’s about to get apocalyptic.

Prepare to be bewitched by Juno Dawson’s first adult series. A story of ancient prophecies and modern dating, of sacred sisterhood and demonic frenemies.


Her Majesty’s Royal Coven was a highly anticipated read for me. Written by Juno Dawson (who, admittedly, I have only read one book from before but I absolutely loved said book) about feminist witches, featuring LGBTQ+ characters, it was a combination I was confident in. Plus the audiobook is narrated by Nicola Coughlan (Derry Girls, Bridgerton).

I really enjoyed the book. It was easy to read, even whilst covering difficult issues (like transphobia and white privilege). Witches were scattered into the everyday, and it was fast paced so I wanted to keep reading.

The characters were such a huge aspect of the book, and I think they were really well developed. Each had a sense of identity and motivations, although there was certainly a sense of kinship and sisterhood between the women in this – a shared history and shared love (The Spice Girls).

I enjoyed that the narrators were (often) mothers, but that that didn’t define them. They loved fiercely, both those they already knew and those they came to know during the course of the book. Motherhood simply added another layer to their character.

I loved how Leonie was there to point out other flaws in HMRC. She challenged accepted cis white norms. It was realistic for her to have created her own alternate coven.

I liked that there was almost a sense of the mundane to the witchiness. Yes they are witches, but witches that have already fought a war, that are ready to move on. They live a normal life that being a witch is simply a part. It was enjoyable to see the characters teaching magic they already knew, and I liked how magic linked into science to make it feel more realistic.

Niamh and Theo’s relationship was amazing. I loved it so much. A queer child/parent relationship like this, I imagine, would be really comforting, so it was lovely to read it in this book. Niamh didn’t immediately get it right, but she tried *so* hard and she supported Theo as she made her own decisions. The topic is an uncomfortably still persistent issue, but I really enjoyed characters arguing with TERFs in a book about (young) witches.

The end threw a couple of big surprises in the air, so I’m really looking forward to reading another book in this series – I’m not sure how the book will be able to carry on from the end!

These Twisted Bonds by Lexi Ryan – A Review by Bryony

“I know what it’s like to be an orphan, and I know what it’s like to have your choices stolen from you by those who have so much power they can’t see anything beyond their greed for more.”

Rating: 5 stars

Release date: 19/07/2022

Publisher: Hodderscape

Author: Lexi Ryan


My night. My darkness. My power.

The thrilling conclusion to These Hollow Vows from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Ryan.

After Abriella’s sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making ­- loving two princes and trusting neither – things are not quite as clear as she once thought.

As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn’t even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don’t lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm – whether she likes it or not.


I really loved this sequel to These Hollow Vows. I fell into the world with the characters and I couldn’t put the book down.

In this book, we got to explore more of the Fae lands – both the parts we heard about in the first book and ones even the characters don’t know about. It allowed the reader to learn more about the history and the legends of the world, and the consequence they’ve had on everything else. We also got to witness ceremonies and traditions, which helped build a larger picture of this world.

I enjoyed the characters in this, both returning and new. They helped Brie find her place in this new world, and let her understand everything that had happened. I think Misha was a really fun new character, you could quickly tell how important he was to Brie.

I felt like the relationships in this are as important as the plot. It felt vital to explore both sides of the love triangle as both characters have come to be important to Brie, it wouldn’t have been right if she’d not had the chance to explore and resolve everything that she was feeling – it was complicated! I was pleased with how it was resolved, but also could feel the heartache throughout before it was.

The plot was constant, but I’m not sure it was high-stakes. There was always a sense of urgency and I always wanted to keep reading, but I think it was only at the end that I got particularly stressed – I didn’t expect to still be fretting about the book so close to the end. There were a lot of driving events and a lot of travelling to resolve problems, and there was an overall issue that needed to be resolved.

This was a great conclusion to the series and I’m sad that it’s now finished.

2022 So Far in Review

Goals

Read 50 books

As of 01/07/2022, I have read 60/50 books.

Review every book (even a mini review)

I’ve posted reviews for 53/60 books so far. I’ve posted mini reviews on Instagram for all of the above, and have done blog reviews for 20.

Stay on top of NetGalley requests

My feedback rating is currently 89% (88 approved, 78 reviewed). I was at 89% at the start of the year (69 approved, 60 reviewed). I was on a NetGalley spree in June, reading 5 (and reading another two physical ARCs).

Buy fewer books

I’ve bought/received/had preorders arrive: 74. So not great.

Get back on the blog/channel

Trust me, this one’s been really frustrating. I’ve wanted so much to film and blog more, but I got a new job (yay!) in April, which meant I was basically in the office full time and just didn’t have the time.


Reading Stats

Average rating: 3.6

Pages read: 24,129

No. of physical books read: 20

No. of ebooks read: 13

No. of audiobooks read: 27

Books to Read

20 books chosen by me

Read:

  • Fyre by Angie Sage
  • The Beast of the Bethany: Revenge of the Beast by Jack Meggitt-Phillips
  • The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
  • The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
  • Electra by Jennifer Saint
  • These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  • The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
  • Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin
  • For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
  • The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson

Unread:

  • King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair
  • State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
  • The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
  • Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
  • Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  • The Flames of Albiyon by Jean Z. Menzies

12 books you’ve recommended

Read:

  • A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmer
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  • The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
  • The Last Bear by Hannah Gold
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Unread:

  • We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
  • Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
  • Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Ayoki
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • This One Day by Leone Ross

Her Dark Wings by Melinda Salisbury – A Review by Bryony

“I know, as clearly as if Cassandra herself had delivered the prophecy, that what Bree and Ali did to me won’t matter to anyone any more… She’ll always be young and beautiful and dead too soon, and that will eclipse everything. Every shitty thing she did and said, wiped away.”

Rating: 4 stars

Release date: 07/07/2022

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Author: Melinda Salisbury

CW: Death of friend, drowning, grief, cheating


HER DARK WINGS is a potent, passionate modern-day take on the Persephone myth.

On an island, near the entrance to the Underworld… Corey and Bree’s friendship has always been unbreakable. Or so Corey thought, until Bree betrays her in the worst way possible, and then Bree’s sudden death leaves Corey heartbroken and furious. But the Underworld calls to Corey too: enraptured by the passionate Furies, she is taken to the realm of a god who is unyielding, cold and irritatingly arrogant. It will change her, because the more she learns about herself, the more Corey’s own power stirs. But can she resist her darkness within?


I really enjoyed reading Her Dark Wings. It carefully blended Greek mythology into the everyday, and I liked a Hades and Persephone retelling that didn’t focus on the romance.

I thought the setting in this was great. I felt like you could never quite get a grasp on when it was set, and I liked that it combined modernity with a world in which people still celebrated the Greek Gods. It gave the setting a sense of timelessness and charm. But the island also felt claustrophobic, everyone knowing everyone’s business.

I really liked how the Greek gods were included, how they were just there and it wasn’t really a surprise. I liked seeing how Corey interacted with them, particularly Hermes and the Furies as it allowed them to flesh out into real characters.

This books explores a young person’s grief carefully, especially when paired with anger – yet it was always easy to read. Corey has to navigate two huge events in her life at once, so I like that the book really puts the emphasis on allowing her to work through her emotions. Corey and Bree are both really detailed characters, whose lives are unmistakably twisted. You could see their friendship stretching out behind them and there’s almost a void where it doesn’t stretch out any more.

I think it was amazing that this book explored friendships more than romances. With it being YA, I liked that it placed the emphasis on the former. Corey was allowed to grow by herself, both in the usual teenage way but also the Persephone-garden-goddess kind of way, with the support of the important people around her. It also made her decisions re the Underworld seem more consensual than the usual myth retellings.