Review: A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark

On this blog, we stan P. Djèlí Clark. I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything he’s written, and his books are generally kickass, magic-filled, queer, feminist books. I had been looking forward to this for ages, and was just waiting for the audiobook (as I’ve read both other novellas in this universe in audio and they were amazing). But since it was Not Happening, I just settled for a paper copy.

This is the cover that I have, but for once it’s a case of I almost prefer the US one? Both are cool though!

The Synopsis

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

The Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was a highly anticipated read for me, and I think it took me so long to get properly started with it because I was so afraid to be disappointed. I wasn’t in any way, though!

Continue reading…

Book Review: Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas

I promised a full review of this book… a few months ago when I read it with all the other Lodestar YA novels. I’ve been procrastinating on the delivery, but I still love the book just as much as when I first read it!

Cover of Cemetery Boys: Over a purple background with a giant moon overhead, two brown boys standing back to back. The one looking towards the reader holds a flower in his hand. He looks eager and ready to spring to action. The second boy looks stern. 
There are tombs in the background. Over the two boys, with the moon like a halo, stands a woman's figure in an old timey dress, with a flower crown and a bloody skull for a face.

The Synopsis

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Continue reading…

Book Review: The Galaxy and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers

I’ve owned this book for a while but despite absolutely loving Becky Chambers’ every book I’ve read so far, I was not starting it. I think because it’s the last in the Wayfarers series, which made me really sad. I could honestly read 20 more books in this universe, I dream of a sitcom set in it.

The Story

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Continue reading…

ARC Review: Seven Mercies, by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May

Seven Devils was one of my favourite books of 2021, and I Could Not Wait for the follow up, so I jumped at the chance to review the ARC from Netgalley! I also buddy-read it with Tessa, mostly for support and general yelling “wtf” at each other.

(spoilers for Seven Devils in the following review, but I will not spoil the actual book of course!)

Confession time: this cover is not my favourite. I prefer the space/ship version, but i think they both look weird…

The Synopsis

THE MOST-WANTED REBELS IN THE GALAXY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN SAVE IT

After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel’s head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the Seven Devils? Biggest score of them all.

The Devils take refuge on Fortuna where Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire’s new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle’s demand is simple: it wants its daughter Ariadne back at any cost.

Time for an Impossible to Infiltrate mission: high chance of death, low chance of success. The Devils will have to use their unique skills, no matter the sacrifice, even if that means teaming up with old enemies. Their plan? Get to the heart of the Empire. Destroy the Oracle. Burn it all to the ground.

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I will start by saying I did thoroughly enjoy this book. It took me a bit to get back into it, but after a while I just could. Not. Stop. Reading. I had to know what happened next. There were also a lot of “wtf” revelations and semi cliffhangers that really made the pacing of this book work for me.

Continue reading…

A little last minute readathon: Pondathon II signup

Yeah so I’m not always Au Fait of what’s going on in the bookblogging world, as I’m mostly doing my own thing. So today I found out it’s the start of Pondathon II (created by The Quiet Pond, a great blog with lots of great content!) and decided to join.

What is the Pondathon?

Pondathon II is a story-driven and gardening-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon II readathon is to read books to earn plants and decorate your own little garden so that we can restore the forest together. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

  • You can sign-up to the Pondathon II readathon here. The readathon starts on January 10th 2022 and ends on December 11th 2022; sign-ups are open across the duration of the readathon.
  • You also get to create your own Pond animal character for the Pondathon, and create your own character card!
  • If you’d like, create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with ‘#PondathonII’ in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
  • Link back to this post so that new friends can find the readathon and join in as well.

My Pond Character

Character card design by @artfromafriend, for The Pondathon only. A dark purple background with green leaves and golden stars. In the centre, a lighter square with info that reads: Aurelie @ Ghosthermione Reads, in teal. Then under a line, Wrangler of Frogs. Twitter: @Ghosthermione.
On top of the light purple square, there is a brown and teal trowel on the left, and a teal watering can on the right. Both are covered in green vines with leaves. In the middle, a drawing of a beige cat with stripey tail, standing on her back legs like a human. She's wearing a green leaf as a hat, a red apron, red boots, and a necklace of pink flowers. She holds a cane with a vine twining around it, and wears a bisexual pride and rainbow pride badges on the right side of her apron.
character sheet made using the Pond’s resources and @artfromafriend’s gorgeous background. I got inspired for the title by the Swan wranglers of

We get to use this shiny sheet to track extra quests and bonuses! and with that also comes a shiny (for now empty) garden, in which you can plant all your rewards from reading books!

Now, let me just say this – I’m not the best at keeping track of things. This Readathon requires to send in a form for books you read and I’m already filling my reading journal AND The Storygraph, so there’s a good chance I’ll drop the ball on this, or not submit forms in time, etc. etc. But the concept was so neat and the design so shiny, I just have to try my hand at filling my own terrarium with shiny plants earned from reading!

Looking forward to a very green reading year!

Book review: The Wife in the Attic, by Rose Lerner

I’d had this book recommended to me a few times as a great historical sapphic romance. I had been keeping an eye on it, and by total chance I won the author’s Halloween giveaway. Given a choice of ebook or audio, I of course took the audiobook – and binged it over one weekend! So thank you Rose Lerner for the amazing audiobook! I read it very quickly in November but sadly got behind on writing the review…

The Story

Goldengrove’s towers and twisted chimneys rose at the very edge of the peaceful Weald, a stone’s throw from the poisonous marshes and merciless waters of Rye Bay. Young Tabby Palethorp had been running wild there, ever since her mother grew too ill to leave her room.

I was the perfect choice to give Tabby a good English education: thoroughly respectable and far too plain to tempt her lonely father, Sir Kit, to indiscretion.

I knew better than to trust my new employer with the truth about my past. But knowing better couldn’t stop me from yearning for impossible things: to be Tabby’s mother, Sir Kit’s companion, Goldengrove’s new mistress.

All that belonged to poor Lady Palethorp. Most of all, I burned to finally catch a glimpse of her.

Surely she could tell me who had viciously defaced the exquisite guitar in the music room, why all the doors in the house were locked after dark, and whose footsteps I heard in the night…

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Continue reading…

Introducing: the 2022 nonfiction bingo!

One of my goals for next year is to read more nonfiction. I enjoy it when I do, but I don’t normally go toward it.

I looked into a few existing bingos and challenges, and I wasn’t super happy with the prompts, which covered too many topics I am in fact not interested to read. So I decided to make my own, and because sharing is caring, here it is:

Poster with a pale orange background and some orange gradient shapes on the corners. It reads: 2022 Nonfiction Reading Bingo. 
Then a list of prompts with squares to tick off:
Earth and Space ; Indigenous culture or history ; LGBTQIA+ theme ; Black history ; About a non-Western culture, history or person ; Psychology and mental health ; famous or overlooked women ; recent publication (2021-2022).
Ok, it’s not really a bingo, more like a prompt list. You know what I mean!

Now, these topics are catered towards subjects I’m interested in personally, like non-white, non-Western history, queer stuff, mental health, feminism, and space. That said, I’m hoping some people do find it to their liking and want to join in!

I’ve created a Storygraph reading challenge that you can join as well to track your progress.

Happy reading!

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve been intrigued by this book for a while without actually knowing what it was really about, except that it had queer themes (and 7 husbands). It went off Scribd before I could get to it, but it’s back now so I jumped right on it the moment I noticed it.

The Story

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I don’t know what I expected from this book. First off, I’ve been hearing about it for so long I don’t even think I remembered the time period it was set in, and I thought it was a gothic novel of some kind? It’s not. But I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Evelyn is not a likeable character, in a lot of ways, but she knows her flaws and you do root for her. It’s at the same time an exploration of the commodification of women’s bodies and the things you have to do for success (especially in the 50s and 60s) when you’re only seen as “a nice pair of tits”. And at the same time it’s also a love story between Evelyn and [redacted] that I really cared about.

It also delves into AIDS and Stonewall a little bit, and other political matters for queer people at the time. It was good to see, albeit in fiction, how the events could have felt like for the people not directly involved.

I also loved the whole story-in-a-story business, and Monique’s character especially. I think it gave Evelyn’s narrative the context and distance it needed by asking her some tough questions, and showing her compassion where she had none for herself.

This was going to be a 4-star book, I think – not a true reason for the missing star, it just didn’t hit THAT place for me. And then the last twist or two happened and it just really blew my mind. And the very ending, which I sort of expected, made me tear up and that sealed it for me.

cw: historical homophobia, biphobia, domestic violence, death, cancer, alcoholism

The Links

Barnes & Noble | Bookshop UK (affiliate link) | Portal Bookshop | Kenny’s | or listen to it on Scribd (affiliate link)

A little life update (or, why the blog has been so quiet)

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to say a few words about why the blog’s been so quiet lately. I did not want to go on an official hiatus, as I kept really wanting and meaning to write and post reviews, but for those of you who don’t follow me on twitter – I’ve been struggling with extreme fatigue and other health shit that’s taking all of my energy (on top of having a full time job, and all that).

So at this time, I’ve about 4 posts lined up, with just the title written… and nothing more. I’m hoping that the little holidays I’ve got will allow me to write them, and if I do they’ll be on a 1/week schedule so I’ve a bit of room space. I also have 1-2 ARCs to read that should have reviews of course.

I do enjoy writing this blog and the interactions I get from it – and I’m looking into making it a bit more graphic and maybe revamping the theme. But yeah, posting will really depend on my energy. Ultimately, what I enjoy doing most is reading, so I’m keeping the most energy just for that (and ensuring my rent is paid and cats fed), and seeing what’s left for other stuff.

Anyways, I wanted to thank you all for sticking around with this little blog. And I hope you can all have a refreshing and restful end of year, and start 2022 on a good footing. Cheers!