Book review of Royal Decoy by Heather Frost

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

A major page-turner! Heather Frost has delivered well-developed characters and an amazing new world.

Clare and Grayson, a kingdom away, but both under the rule of ruthless leaders, struggle to keep the ones they love safe while being sucked into their leader’s plans. Will they survive the dangers that their positions bring into their lives?

Royal Decoy is a fast-paced story, with well-developed characters and an amazing new world of the kingdoms of Eyrinthia! The characters are created well and develop a lot throughout the book.

There are many twists and turns, which made me want to continue reading at every end of a chapter. The way the story is written is pleasant to read and there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming, both with events that happened and character reveals.

The multiple POV’s were really enjoyable. They gave an insight into different people’s lives in different parts of the world, which also helped to form a picture of what was going on politically.

And finally, I’m a sucker for maps and new worlds in stories! The map really helped me visualize where the story took place. The individual scenes that described where the characters, walked, talked, slept, ate etc. were so well written that I felt like I was actually there.

I am excited to have read this book and can’t wait to read the next installment; Royal Spy!

Heather Frost sent me a copy of Royal Decoy for an honest review. The opinions formed above are my own. Thank you Heather for sending me a copy, I can’t wait to start reading Royal Spy!

The Midnight Library

by Matt Haig

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(5/5)

SPOILER alert: the quotes mentioned in this review are from the book. If you don’t want to read them, stop reading at the header Quotes 🙂

Synopsis
Nora finds herself in the Midnight Libary and gets a chance to do things differently. She works on undoing all of her regrets and tries to find the best way to live. But will she succeed before it is too late?

Review
The Midnight Libary is definitely a 5-star book. The story is full of hope, inspiration and great quotes.

It initially made me feel sad, and I started reading it a couple of days before Christmas, a time in which I wanted to feel happy, so I put it down for a couple of days. But once I picked it up again, I couldn’t stop reading it and finished it in one day.

The concept of the Midnight Library itself is just amazing. I must say I didn’t completely ‘get’ how it all worked, but with these things I usually don’t try to dig to deep and just go with it. As a book lover, any library is great right? But this one was special, and so well described, I just loved it. It actually felt like I was in it while reading it.

I loved how Nora found herself through living many different lives, making mistakes and undoing regrets. I like how, through the choices she made in the Midnight Library she got to undo her regrets. It was a fresh reminder that not everything that happens in life is your fault, or that you could’ve done something about it to make it turn out differently. I loved the multi-universe idea as well, even though it’s a scary thought 🙂

The book was extremely nicely formatted. I loved the big spaces on both sides, the length of the sentences made it very easy to read.

Quotes
I marked one title, by writing ‘LOL’ beside it, it was this: A Moment of Extreme Crisis in the Middle of Nowhere – the placement of that title was just hilarious in that part of the book!

I also marked some lines in the book, these are some of my favorites that really got me thinking:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference…” – Robert Frost quote in the Midnight Library

“To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three-parts dead” Bertrand Russell quote in the Midnight Library

“The only way to learn is to live”

“You can have everything and feel nothing”

In conclusion, I love this book and am definitely planning on reading more by Matt Haig.

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

by Nancy Naigle

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

Synopsis
Katie visits Evergreen, Vermont to work on her next novel. On the way there she meets local Ben and the book shows their relationship development throughout her time there. Besides Ben, Katie also meets the other town folk. She is swept up in the Christmas traditions, some of them seem too good to be true. There is cookie baking, ice skating, caroling, wishing upon a magic snowglobe and the mystery of a secret advent calendar. 

Review
Overall I enjoyed this story, especially because of the town it took place in and the heartwarming relationships between the characters. It is truly a Christmas feel-good story! There are so many characters in town that you almost feel like you are in the town yourself while reading the book. The book is based on a Hallmark film, and even though I haven’t seen it, it shows through in the book. There are a lot of characters and points of view, which sometimes makes it a bit harder to follow. Also, I sometimes was doubtful about the ages of the inhabitants and there was some repetition of facts that I found unnecessary. But, the plot of the story was fun and it was an easy Christmas read! If you want to read a story full of snowy weather, Christmas traditions, roasting marshmallows by the fire and newfound love then this is definitely a book for you! 

I got a copy of this book via Netgalley and would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the author, Nancy Naigle, for this fun read. I read this voluntarily and all my opinions are my own. 

The Giver of Stars

by Jojo Moyes

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

A story of strong women in difficult times 

Synopsis
The English Alice marries Bennet, a man from Kentucky, on a whim, and finds herself in an unknown society where nothing is the same as in the England she came from. But then she joins the packhorse librarians to bring books to the most remote homes in the mountains. Soon Alice feels much at home with her new friends, more than at her own home where she lives with her husband and her father-in-law. The plot is full of twists and turns, but it never fails to show the strength of the women.

Review
I loved this book! From the get-go I was so involved in Alice’s life and I cheered for her and the other women throughout the entire book. It’s a story of love, hate, shame and victory. Every turn of events led me to want to read more! I loved how the characters came to life in my head through Moyes’ description of them. The same goes for the scenery described in the book. What I liked most about this story are the women that never gave up. Whether people tried to take down the library, or the women themselves, they always stood their ground and came up for their own rights. The women made me feel hope. On the other hand, some of the men made me feel really annoyed. It was a rollercoaster ride of thoughts and feelings and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it! I have set my mind on reading more of Jojo’s books for sure.

An Imperfect Christmas

by Tanya Russell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

I loved this cozy Christmas story!

Synopsis
Maggie’s life is perfect until in a short amount of time everything falls apart. With the help of her family, whom she’s visiting for Christmas this year, she slowly tries to put her life back together.
She hasn’t been home for 2 years, and the reason why she hasn’t will be there too…

Review
I absolutely adored this cozy, love, winter town Christmas story!

With so many things going wrong in Maggie’s life, I think the author has connected the way in which Maggie acts and her past experiences really well. It makes you feel for her, knowing what she’s been through and allows you to understand why she does the things she does. The narrative changes between Maggie and the other main character, which I really liked because you get a more in-depth picture of their thoughts. The other characters in the story are also written really well. Some of whom you may come to love… others not so much.

This book is full of Christmas, love and family (and a snowy town – who doesn’t love that!). I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a great book to read during Christmas time (or any time of year if you love Christmas as much as I do! 🙂 ).

Thank you to Tanya Russell, Sapere Books and NetGalley for letting me review this book.

Winter Pasture

by Li Juan

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4/5)

Having been to China myself, although not to the area around Ulungur, I was curious to read about the nomadic way of life. This biographic story gives the reader a view into some of the most lonely months in the lives of some of the most lonely people.

Synopsis
Li Juan tells her story, with humor, of traveling south with the camels, sheep, cows and horses where she and the family she has joined, will live throughout the winter. The story is divided into different sections, each highlighting a different part of life in the Winter Pasture. You get to know the people she lives with, but also the visitors that come over during the winter months. You learn about their ways of herding the animals, creating the sheep pen, maintenance work on their home and the lovely food they eat, and the beautiful embroideries they make in their free time. Overall it captures life on the winter pasture really well.

Review
What I liked about the book is that it was divided in different sections, in which Li Juan highlights different experiences or bundles of information. For example, the first part focuses on the journey to the winter pasture and what life is like once they arrive there. Another part focuses solely on getting to know the characters more – which makes you love them, and find them annoying at other times. A great feature in the book were the pictures from life on the pasture. I would have loved to see even more of them!

The reason why I gave Winter Pasture 4 stars is that it does a good job of describing the life of nomads and the loneliness that comes with the lifestyle. But, throughout the story some scenes are repeated, in a slightly different way than before, but nonetheless it’s repetition. I came to find this a bit annoying at times. Also, I have noticed several spelling mistakes in the translation, such as words missing. Keeping this in mind, I decided to give 4 out of 5 stars.

If you are interested in books about China, and want to learn more about the Kazakh herders, I would definitely recommend this book. It doesn’t have a major plottwist, since it is non-fiction, but nonetheless a very interesting read!

Thank you Li Juan, the publisher and NetGalley for this read! 

The Chronicles of Narnia

by C.S. Lewis

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4/5)

I bought this book in a secondhand bookstore I think around a year ago.
It has taken me months and months to get through it, as I would often stop and read another book. But, yesterday I finished it and here is some information about it and what I thought of it.

Synopsis
The Chronicles of Narnia is actually a bundle of seven Narnian stories, some titles might sound really familiar if you, like me, saw the movies before you read the books. The seven stories are: The Magician’s Nephew, The lion, the witch and the wardrobe, The horse and his boy, Prince Caspian, The voyage of the Dawn Treader, The silver chair and The last battle.

Time doesn’t work the same in Narnia as it does in our world. A second in our world can be a month or even years of life in Narnia. The stories have different main characters throughout, but the characters that keep returning are the Pevensie children: Peter, Susan, Edward and Lucy. They, and the other kids that enter the world of Narnia experience all kinds of adventures from fighting a war to sailing the seas to find the end of the world. Each story is very different from the next, but in the end they all come together.

Review
The author, C.S. Lewis, has done a great job of describing the characters and the world of Narnia. I liked how almost every story seemed to discover a new part of the Narnian world, which in the end gave you a good understanding of what it looks like. What I liked about the writing style is that the books could be read as stand alones and you would still be able to follow the storyline, as the most important information was repeated in every story. I enjoyed the “The lion, the witch and the wardrobe” story the most as it extensively introduced the characters that would keep coming back throughout the stories. There were some annoying repetitions in the books, but that might have been mostly because I read them all one after the other. Overall I liked the created world and characters and rate this book 4/5, as I found some of the stories a bit slow-paced.