Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life. Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond – and it is Raymond that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged heart.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of those books that brings out all your emotions. I felt happy, sad, angry, embarrassed and more when reading about Eleanor’s life. I thought this book would be quite difficult to read as we’re reading from Eleanors POV and she struggles in normal social interactions. But often these issues made me laugh or cry rather than feel frustration with the writing. Honeyman’s writing made me want to continue reading. It made me fascinated in what had happened and what will happen to Eleanor.

Eleanor’s development throughout the book is both heartbreaking and wonderful. I really loved that a romance aspect wasn’t brought in to make her recover miraculously. The main focus is on character development and looking at mental illness and trauma. I think Honeyman did both of this really well within the book.

Friendships also play an important part. I love that even though Eleanor struggles with social situations such as at work she manages to make friends. Not only with Raymond, but also with Sammy and his family. The friendships that develop were wonderful throughout. I also enjoyed how Eleanor’s co-workers understand her a lot better and treat her better after she is ill. Understanding and knowing about an illness is one step to being able to help people through it.

I received Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine* by Gail Honeyman from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations. As Janto sets out for his Murat, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries. To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.

Wings Unseen

We follow the main three characters in POV chapters which helps develop each of them throughout the book. Although these characters grew, evolved and turned out to be better people by the end of the book, the other characters in the book didn’t receive the same fate. For example the other men at Janto’s Murat were interchangeable in my head. As the main characters were developed so much it flaunted this shortfall.

Although Gomez has worked hard on world building, and the lands sound wonderful when reading, I felt there was too many new names. There were new kingdoms, animals and plants with little to no explanation for some. This made it quite difficult to read because how can I imagine a new animal when I only have its name?  I did however enjoy the religion and faith that was created. This was really well thought out and explained on the page.

The prophecy and the focus on individual choices was a really important aspect in the book. Each character had to make the choice to save themselves and those around them and then work hard to achieve it. The Claren were a product of the bad choices of humans within the story which makes it full circle to the good choices of our protagonists.

But I did question how overpowered Vesperi and co were with her magic. I know she has the powers to stop the Claven but there’s a lack of push back from there which makes it seem almost too easy. I felt like we were rushing to the end of the plot, had a bit of a problem there but otherwise they could defeat anything.

I received Wings Unseen* by Rebecca Gomez Farrell from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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An epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and faeries, mad kings and druids, and the goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on the Earth. The Last Days of Magic follows the Vatican church trying to take over Ireland at a time where Fey are still strong and the Morrigna are there to save the day.

The Last Days of Magic

The Last Days of Magic suffers from feeling too much like a history book and not much like a fantasy book. The pace was slow, the writing was oft overly descriptive and I just found it hard to read overall. I actually put it down, read a different book, and then never went back to reading it. Now this never happens as I always want to know what happens. But with this book I just didn’t.

It’s obvious Tompkins has done a lot of research into myths, folklore and magic. This is something I love, but it wasn’t why I was reading this book. If I wanted a full in depth look at Celtic folklore, I would read a book or search online for the information. I was reading this as recreation and for a fantasy story which I just didn’t get. It just takes too long for the plot to move forward past the backstory and history of magic.

It starts in present day, and then seemingly never goes back to it. (Although, I’ve heard it does go back right at the end!). There’s very abrupt jumps in time, place and character POV which slowed the book down even more. It just felt like a bit of a grind to get through the book, which is never a good thing.

Although I was not getting on with it. I do think there’s a couple things that could have made it much better (and easier) to read. One, I think it needed less characters and more development. An entire book about Aisling and her journey, and then the second book could have been about the Vatican storyline and so on. This could have been a series with less jumping around, and more expanding of characters, places and lore.

The second point would be to use research more sparingly. Tompkins seems like a university student who wants to reference everything they’ve read for their essay. And yes, I have done this before for my assignments. But for a book you need a little bit more writing outside the research and expanding the world to make it less of a retold folklore tale.

I received The Last Days of Magic* by Mark Tompkins from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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My Side of the Diamond follows Jazmin as she reiterates the story of how her best friend Becky died. She didn’t just die though, she vanished. Just like magic, as Becky jumped from St Pauls Cathedral but her body never hit the ground. The same thing happened years earlier to Skye and Lazarus, but nothing was ever solved.

My Side of the Diamond

I went into this book knowing nothing as my ARC copy didn’t have a synopsis and I accidentally sent the publishers note back to my mums house inside the other book I received. This is probably both a good and a bad thing. The good thing was that I was so intrigued about what this book was about. The bad thing is that I was totally not ready to be reading about aliens. This completely threw me and I feel like I need to reread to understand what was going on a bit more. It’s been a few weeks since I finished and I’m still not fully sure what was going on.

My Side of the Diamond is short but also quite mysterious. I finished reading it in one evening because I wanted to find out who Icarus is and what happened to Skye and Lazarus. Plus, of course, what happened to Becky. Throughout there’s dropped hints as to what happened or what will happen as the characters are talking about their past. There’s multiple narrators and My Side of the Diamond is written as if they’re talking to the interviewer, Mr Jones.

I found Jazmin, the main narrator quite irritating at times. I understand she’s young but at times she just seemed unable to sympathise or empthasise with Becky’s anxiety and eating disorder. This just made me think she was a horrible person and I preferred reading the other narrators more even though they contributed less. She was also shoe-horned into a very unbelievable romance which just got in the way of the plot.

I enjoyed the plot of the book. There’s aliens, secret agents going after the aliens, and also some kind of evil robot which enjoys murderous rampages. There’s not much action and a lot of the book is taken up of talking but it’s still very fast-paced. If I was in a ‘Let’s read about aliens’ mood then I think I would have enjoyed this My Side of the Diamond even more.

I received My Side of the Diamond* by Sally Gardner from the publisher, Hot Key Books. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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