Monday 19 February 2024

Goodbye to Blogger and Hello to a New Era of the Whispering of the Pages

 So today is the day that The Whispering of the Pages moves from Blogger to Wordpress. I hope you all have enjoyed a beautiful era on blogger and will follow me for a wonderful new future at Wordpress. 

I'm leaving this blog up for posterity but you can find the new one at

Thanks for your ongoing support on this site and here's to many more years on the new one!

Friday 16 February 2024

Where the Dark Stands Still by A.B. Poranek

 Pages: 416

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Released: 29th of February 2024

Raised in a small village near the spirit-wood, Liska Radost knows that Magic is monstrous, and its practitioners, monsters.

After a deadly mistake, Liska delves into the dangerous spirit-wood, guarded by a demon to steal a mythical fern flower. Pluck it, and she can use its one wish to banish her own power.
Everyone who has sought the fern flower has fallen prey to the horrors of the Czantory, so when Liska is caught by the demon warden of the wood - The Leszy - a bargain seems better than death: one year of servitude in exchange for the fern flower and its wish.

Whisked away to his crumbling manor, Liska soon makes an unsettling discovery. She is not the first person to strike this bargain. And If Liska wants to survive the year and return home, she must unravel her taciturn host’s spool of secrets and face the ghosts—figurative and literal—of his past.

Something wakes in the woods, killing off villagers one by one. Something that Frightens even The Leszy … something that cannot be defeated unless Liska embraces the monster she’s always feared becoming.

What I Have to Say

I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of the Winternight Trilogy, a series I love, but with a stronger romance. And the romance was delicious. I loved the way the author built up the relationship between the Leszy and Liska. It didn't feel rushed like a lot of books these days seem to do.

I really liked the world a lot. A world where there's a shapeshifting house spirit waiting for you when you get home who will treat you kindly if you give it a little bread and honey. Jaga was definitely one of my favourite characters, but I loved how everyone in this book was something different. No one was quite human.

And the ending was perfect. It's hard to end a book, especially a standalone, which I think this is. But this was just perfection. The last line especially. 

4 stars 

My thanks goes to Netgalley and Penguin for providing me with this gifted copy for review. 

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Ryan and Avery by David Levithan (audiobook)


Pages: 322

Publisher: Electric Monkey 

Narrator: Jamie K. Brown 

Released: 12th of September 2023 

When a blue-haired boy (Ryan) meets a pink-haired boy (Avery) at a dance–a queer prom–both feel an inexplicable but powerful connection. Follow them through their first ten dates as they bridge their initial shyness and fall in love–through snowstorms, groundings, meeting parents (Avery’s) and not (Ryan’s), cast parties, heartbreak, and every day and date in between.

What I Have to Say 

This book was pure queer joy. It was sweet, it was romantic and it was filled with the joy of new relationships. I loved Avery and Ryan so much as characters, balancing their lives in high school with their relationship despite the roadblocks that Ryan's parents put in their way. 

It was really really good to see a trans boy in a queer romance book. Trans representation is still sorely lacking in LGBTQ+ fiction and it's really good that in the last year there've been a couple I've come across. It makes me hope that we're making progress. 

Honestly, this book was just so relaxing to read. The narration was wonderful, really fitting the characters well and it was just a great audiobook to curl up and listen to. 

5 stars 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Electric Monkey for providing me with a gifted copy of this audiobook for review. 

Monday 12 February 2024

Once a Monster by Robert Dinsdale (audiobook)

Pages: 512

Narrator: Justin Avoth

Publisher: Macmillan

Released: 21st of September 2023 

London, 1861: Ten-year-old Nell belongs to a crew of mudlarks who work a stretch of the Thames along the Ratcliffe Highway. An orphan since her mother died four years past, leaving Nell with only broken dreams and a pair of satin slippers in her possession, she spends her days dredging up coals, copper and pieces of iron spilled by the river barges – searching for treasure in the mud in order to appease her master, Benjamin Murdstone.

But one day, Nell discovers a body on the shore. It’s not the first corpse she’s encountered, but by far the strangest. Nearly seven feet tall, the creature has matted hair covering his legs, and on his head are the suggestion of horns. Nell’s fellow mudlarks urge her to steal his boots and rifle his pockets, but as she ventures closer the figure draws breath – and Nell is forced to make a decision which will change her life forever...

What I Have to Say 

I liked this book a lot, but it wasn't special to me in the way that the Toymakers was. The Toymakers tore out my heart and left me thinking about it for years after, but this one didn't have the same effect as much as I wanted it to. 

I love Dinsdale's characters so much. Obviously the complicated character of Minos is noteworthy, as he's the central character in the book. His complexity the nice man who befriends Nell and the monster hidden deep deep inside are constantly at war. But actually my favourite character was Nell. Her story of learning what's right and how to stand up against Murdstone who doesn't have her, and certainly not Minos', best interests at heart. I loved her journey and her absolute faith in Minos. 

The narrator was good, but not noteworthy. I liked the voice that he did for Minos, as it combined the man and the monster really well together and gave hints about his character, but other than that, none of the characters voices really stood out for me. 

I definitely want to read some more of Dinsdale's novels because I did enjoy this a lot, but I'm sad it wasn't as good as the Toymakers. 

3.5 stars 

My thanks goes to Netgalley and Macmillan for providing me with a gifted copy of this audiobook for review. 

Saturday 10 February 2024

Launch Date For The Whispering of the Pages 2.0

 Hi guys, 

Just popping in to let you all know that everything is set up for the new Wordpress hosted site and it will be launching on Monday the 19th of February. 

I wanted to give anyone who doesn't cope with change (like me) time to get used to the idea of moving, before it actually happens. 

The new URL will be so feel free to bookmark it ready for the launch! 

Friday 9 February 2024

Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan

Pages: 439

Publisher: Orbit 

Released: 29th of February 2024 

Welcome to Tiankawi – shining pearl of human civilization and a safe haven for those fleeing civil unrest. Or at least, that’s how it first appears.

But in the semi-flooded city, humans are, quite literally, on peering down from skyscrapers and aerial walkways on the fathomfolk — sirens, seawitches, kelpies and kappas—who live in the polluted waters below. And the fathomfolk are tired of it. When a water-dragon and a half siren join forces, the path to equality is filled with violence, secrets, and political intrigue. And they both must decide if the cost of change is worth it, or if Tiankawi should be left to drown.

What I Have to Say 

I enjoyed this book so much. I loved the different types of Fathomfolk and the idea of a half sunken city. Everything added up to create a really interesting society that I was really excited to explore. I was especially interested in the sea witches, because there was so much to explore with their deals and ink. 

The themes of immigration and prejudice as well as the dangers of radicalisation that made up the book, were really well done. My heart ached for Nami as she was being manipulated by the Driftbacks. I wondered while reading if maybe we should have seen how much she was being manipulated so early on, but it did mean I was alert to all the signs and could really see how it was happening. 

The ending was really intriguing. I'm really looking forward to see where Tiankawi will go from here and what's in store next for the characters. 

4 stars 

My thanks goes to Netgalley and Orbit for providing me with this gifted copy for review. 

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Meet Me at the Surface by Jodie Matthews

Pages: 272

Publisher: Fourth Estate 

Released: 15th of February 2024 


Merryn grew up on the wilds of Bodmin moor, raised by her mother and her aunt in an old farmhouse. Here, the locals never leave the decaying village, fear for the future of their farms and cling desperately to the folkloric tales that are woven into their history. Except Merryn, who has escaped to Manchester for university, briefly untethering herself from her past.

When Merryn returns home for the memorial service of her ex-girlfriend Claud, she finds her childhood home stranger and more secretive than ever. She’s sure that her mother is hiding something. The villagers are hunting on the moors at night, but for what? And then there’s a notebook, found in an old chest of drawers, full of long-forgotten folklore than seems to be linked somehow to Claud…

What I Have to Say 

Unfortunately this one missed the mark. I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but it just didn't draw me in. On paper, it is everything I love in a book, but the reality of it didn't match up. I think the thing I found most off-putting was the unpleasant descriptions. I don't really want to read detailed descriptions of skinning eels, thanks. 

The characters also didn't really capture my attention. It seemed their only interesting points were the relationships to each other. I didn't get much of a sense of who they were as people. Claud and Merryn's relationship was very toxic, which is okay when it's done well, but all I saw in this was Claud's absolute cruelty towards Merryn. 

This just wasn't what I wanted from this book. 

Two Stars 

My thanks goes to Netgalley and Fourth Estate for providing me with this gifted copy for review.