Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori) by Lian Hearn

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well and not suffering from this horrible cough thing that is still going around; I can’t seem to get over it. It just keeps coming back again and again. I’ve decided this year to try to review some of my  old favourite books that I have neglected a little on mylittlebookblog. I’m therefore going back into my book archives to bring you an old favourite of mine that I’ve read numerous times – Across the Nightingale Floor.

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo’s village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru.

Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny…


As the blurb suggests the book is set in medieval Japan where clans are battling for power. Takeo is thrown into the action when his village is overthrown and destroyed by the terrible Lord Lida – but Takeo escapes under Lord Otori Shigeru’s wing. it soon becomes apparent that despite Takeo’s gentle nature he has powers that need training so that he can realise his true purpose; becoming an assassin as it turns out. On the other side of the tale is Kaede who has been taken hostage since the age of 8 due to her being seen as responsible for the deaths of many men who have fallen for her beauty. As their lives spiral closer together we see the two pushed to their limits to escape the destruction.

So that’s a very vague over-view of the plot but it’s quite difficult to get everything in without giving everything away so I’m going to sell it with my review (hopefully) Firstly the writing style is utterly brilliant, not only does it immediately throw us into the action but you get the feeling that Hearn trusts the reader. We don’t need a meandering back story instead Hearn slowly gives over the information as the plot unfurls. It’s refreshingly not spelt out but is instead naturally written, slowly giving out the details and leaving the reader to do the legwork.

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The characters are fully fleshed out and well bodied. Takeo is both gentle and yet utterly ruthless and cunning. He has such a wonderful moral spirit and yet his genes, and his back story are completely contrasting. It’s a clever spin the author has created as it allows her pull with the character and create excitement. Otoris Shigeru is also a clever character – I thought the relationship built between him and Takeo really sold the story. Kaede although begins a little frail she is a gutsy full on lady and her side of the story definitely matches the excitement of Takeo’s so the story feels balanced.

The writing is honestly beautiful – the action is there throughout and yet it is written with such understanding of the racial, political and religious implications. It’s all so well thought through and it flows wonderfully. The author doesn’t scrimp on descriptions either – the landscape comes to life before you eyes and it ends up having almost a movie style feel. It all leaps from the pages right in front of your eyes. I have read in reviews that the Japanese cultural elements aren’t always completely accurately represented however for me, it’s a world created to stir the reader’s imagination – it’s more of a Japan-inspired fantasy full of romance, politics, religion, and excitement. This book is a power house.

I would wholly recommend this book – many of you know that my love of fantasy books is far and few but this one is definitely up there with the best for me. It is a little dark at times but just for the prose this book is worth a read. It’s one of those books that just has everything and I for one can’t fault it.





Heaven’s Forgotten by Branden Johnson

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Hellllllo readers it’s Saturday which is exciting but also a little bit of a sad day. Some of you will know although not all, that today marks T moving all the way down to London from Stoke-on-Trent. I might write a single post on this but basically my best friend and one of my all time favourite humans is starting an exciting new job. I’m not going to go into how much I’m going to miss him but books are proving a helpful respite – with no more emotional warbling (until the next time) onto le reviewwww.

Moira just wants a normal life for her daughter, Penelope. And sometimes, it seems like she has achieved it. Penelope is a sweet, smart, and precocious four-year-old girl. However, she is also the product of Moira’s affair with an angel. Her parentage gives Penelope strength far beyond what any child should possess. It also makes her the target of fallen angels who intend to use her mysterious powers as their way back into Heaven. Worse yet, one of those fallen angels is her own father. Now, Moira finds herself caught up in a terrifying struggle for Penelope’s life against beings more powerful than she can imagine. And when Penelope’s true power is revealed, it will shake the foundations of reality.

Suspenseful and action-packed, Heaven’s Forgotten demonstrates the power of a mother’s love against the longest odds in Heaven and on earth.


Right, so let’s get this blurb out-of-the-way – the book follows the life of fallen angel Michael who decides to his kill his ex-lover in an effort to prove that he has no anchors to the world. However, upon finding where she lives he discovers that he has fathered child, Penelope. As you can imagine this changes everything, whilst Michael makes the startling discovery of how Penelope (as a Nephilim) can be used not only as weapon but also a way to re-enter Heaven or Hell (although named Tatarus here.) With Penelope being essentially an angel and human mix she has two souls meaning she can open both. Can the fallen angels use Penelope to escape being banished? Will she let them use her so they can rule heaven?! All will be revealed in the this fantasy tale.

Still with me? It may seem a little confusing but this ‘fallen-angel’ tales is one of the most convincing I have read for a little while now. In terms of the writing style the pace is full on action, constantly moving, building pace and pulling the reader along. I found myself almost having to stop and pause for breath the pace was so relentless. Saying that I didn’t find myself lost or losing understanding of the plot, instead the author manages to engage the reader without a lull in the plot or pace.

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All the characters are well-developed – Michael, Penelope, Moira as the main characters but also the supporting characters such as Jessica. I felt a real connection to Michael and his story. Seeing his change from Angel to almost human and then losing everything and becoming a fallen angel it was hard not to lose a tear to his backstory. Well written and full of emotion I found his story and his change in feeling towards Moira and his daughter (who additionally is an utter joy of a character) a beautiful tale. I really felt like I could imagine the characters leaping from the page which isn’t always an easy task so thumbs up to the author.

So any wobbles? I would have to say – which I have seen mentioned by a few readers that at times Moira is difficult. Okay – that’s an understatement she’s really difficult. Constantly crying and seemingly often relieved when her daughter is away her mothering skills leave a lot to be desired. Additionally the ending didn’t quite work for me – I’m not going to spoil the ending but it just didn’t quite fit.

Overall this was a brilliant fantasy read that even I liked – it has romance, love, feelings, supernatural, fantasy and excitement. The writing has great pace, has a brilliant flow and used suspense and tension to pull the reader in. One for supernatural/ fantasy lovers! A little work on Moira and a more believable ending would have made this a perfect 5 for me.





The Hollow (Hollow’s Charge Series) By Arielle LeClair

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Helllllo readers, hope you’re well and happy on this Thursday afternoon. I’ve been working my way back into books after a little dry spell. I think it’s potentially come from not having a break from books but after having a good month or so break, apart from a few really special books, I’m feeling ready to get stuck into my Goodreads challenge for the year. Without further delay onto this review.

An ancient bloodline. A place filled with magic. A quest for Ciyula is under way. A false queen sits the throne and Rosaleen Forlain must find the woman destined to rule in her place. She will have to leave everything behind and race against a sinister plot that Queen Asta is contriving with the enemy kingdom of Enrith.  Can Rosaleen find the girl in time to stop the queen’s madness?

She must usurp the tyrannical Queen Asta in favor of crowning a mysterious young woman possessing an ancient bloodline long thought lost to the world. In addition to her burdens, Rosaleen must find this woman before Asta has a chance to join forces with the enemy in order to wage war against a kingdom that has long been Ciyula’s ally. Rosaleen must betray her country and her House, forsaking everything for the Hollow and her new destiny. She must do this quest as a fugitive, avoiding forces sent to capture her by the queen and her own father.
Can she find the girl and stop the impending war before it is too late?

As the blurb suggests the book follows the magic that has been lost in the Three Lands for thousands of years. However, a secret and forgotten but magical place The Hollow, is in need of new keeper. Rosaleen our protagonist has been chosen to take on the role. However, to fulfil her duty she must overthrow the terrible and evil Queen Asta. We watch as Rosaleen, along with a number of new and a couple of old friends must betray not only her house but also her country. Can she overthrow the evil queen without being captured? All will be revealed in this fantasy story.

Onto the ‘nitty-gritty’ of the review. This novel definitely contains all the bits you need when reading a fantasy story. It has the adventure with the quest to overthrow the Queen, the sense of danger, the suspense that builds, there are magical elements and there is a little bit of romance spun through, which for me helped a lot as I struggle with the fantasy genre at the best of times. The writing is spun with tension and excitement and it definitely kept my attention throughout  making sure I kept following the tale through, I also liked that although the magic was a central theme it at no point overwhelmed.

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The characters are well written and developed throughout. Although Rosaleen is a little stereotypical she is gutsy, has strength and I liked the way the author played with her doubts and played with these through the main plot. Rolan additionally is a lovely character – loyal and sweet I found myself easily accepting the characters and found they felt very real which is always a bonus. I also liked that the author worked the back-stories into the overall plot. The writing overall is strong and has depth, the descriptions are well written and the landscape woven felt very real and exciting throughout.

Couple of wobbles; I found getting into the story a little difficult. I could put this down to my struggles with the fantasy genre but the beginning just didn’t quite grab me which it needs to grab hold of the reader. There were a couple of grammatical/ spelling errors – not too many but a couple. The only final wobble was at times there were sudden shifts in the perspective of the book which as I comment on quite often is really important that it stays coherent. At times there were character shifts during the chapter which made it difficult to follow which was a shame. Finally the cover doesn’t, for me, show the book inside. It just lacks something.

Overall a lovely little fantasy read – I guess for me a little stereotypical in terms of the plot-lines but the writing style, characters (and backstories) helped to add to the interest. One for fantasy lovers I think!



Author Goodreads


The Wacky Bookish Blog Tag

The Wacky Bookish
Who doesn’t love a bookish blog tag? Thought not – I love writing these bookish discussion ramblings with you and I found this one on one of my favourite blogs ‘The Bookish Monsters’ and thought I would make a lovely addition this wintery Friday afternoon. I’m a little worried because Tash struggled a bit with finding answers but fingers crossed I’ll make it all the way through.


I think maybe ‘Story of the Eye by George Bastille.’ I read and reviewed this a few weeks ago but honestly the story is the oddest I think I have ever come across – it’s a very intense and disturbing erotic book – definitely eye opening to say the least.


I wrote a review of Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin recently and the book really was a brilliant read but it was really difficult to get into words why it was so great without giving everything away – I tried my best Anne I really did.


I think I’m going to go with Jess from The Morning After Memoirs. She has a Bridget Jones style feel and isn’t afraid to get her mixed-up in all kinds of outrageous situations. She’s a wonderfully, insanely, crazy kind of Lady.


Ron Weasley is the one I’m going to go for – he puts up with Harry and his often selfish and very dangerous plans/adventures/ideas and yet they still stay best friends? How I ask – how? Ron is straight up brilliant.


This is a difficult one – I’m going to go with The Stieg Larsson trilogy and Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn which is a fantastic book if you’re yet to read it. They are both complex and written beautifully but they flow and are written simply it’s masterful how great they both are.


I think well over 100 now – it’s been the craziest reading year so far for me.


I think it might have to be Luna and Neville from Harry Potter – they remind me a little of me and T.


I couldn’t pick just one – that’s a little mean.


I stilllllll haven’t finished 1Q84 but that book is goddamn brilliant – as soon as I sit down to read it I just feel a sense of calm and tranqility. Murakami just has a way with words that I rarely see.


I recently read How to Build a girl by one of my idols Caitlin Moran and I seriously devoured it in two train journeys. It was THAT good although very similar to the previous book she wrote but still a really great read.


If we take out Harry Potter – because I think it will/has be/been picked by lots of other blogger, I’m going to go with Katie Cross’s Miss Mabel’s School for girls (and the books that follow.) I’m not a big fantasy reader, but these books I thought were beautifully written.


I’m going to actually tag Tasha for this one although random is the wrong word. I think diverse would be a better word – she has lots of different features and they create this beautifully varied blog that always has new posts to read – it really is a blog to follow.

Who Do You Tag?

As I haven’t seen this tag before I’m going to tag anyone that fancies taking part but make sure to comment me a link or tag me on twitter @littlebookblog1. Have a wonderful weekend lovely readers.

REAPERS – Book One by the Thornton Brothers

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Hellllllo readers, been a bit of a tough week I seem to be entering a quarter life crisis; I’m twenty-two living with what feels like twenty-two people and yet see none of them, everyone I work with is mature, and married with small children or a least a goldfish or two and I’m still trying to decide whether it’s wrong to drink wine at midday on a Sunday. It’s fine if you were wondering; I have checked. Books have been a bit of a saviour at the moment and this one especially dragged me out of my comfort zone and has made me feel a lot more upbeat even if it’s in the fictional world; without further moaning onto the review.

Danger, heartache, grit, tension, brotherhood, trauma, betrayal, sacrifice, fear. Death square in the face. All in a day’s work for the REAPERS – an elite black-ops team deployed to remote, untamed conflict zones. Their mission: to assassinate covert targets, conduct rescue operations and gather intelligence.  We follow this tight band as its members evolve; some will die and be replaced by new faces, some will defect, be injured or retire, and others will change in unimaginable ways. All will be tested to their limits.

REAPERS is an epic set in a sprawling dark fantasy universe of tragic characters, complex villains, and shocking story turns.

BOOK ONE is a novel-length collection of the first seven staves (which were originally released as independent episodic chapters in serial format).


I guess the first thing to state in this review is these wonderful authors have been writing for a little while and this book made from seven staves was released as chapters independently before now being collaborated together and sent out into the big scary commercial world of books. The book as the blurb suggests follows the daily work of the reapers who are a cream of the crop black ops who are sent out to do all the things you could ever expect; missions, rescue operations etc etc all written with a superior knowledge I couldn’t quite believe was entirely fictional.

Into the nitty gritty I suppose; I thought this was fantastic, a mix between fantasy and hardcore blistering action. I say this often but I find fantasy difficult to stomach – I don’t like fairies or dragons and the like. But here, it is a much more subtle part of the story – for me I didn’t feel like the plot was built on the idea of fantasy but was used to transport to the reader to a new and exciting land which I thought was wonderful.

The writing is stunning; I normally go through and find a paragraph later in the book but I thought the first sentence really screamed at me this is going to be bloody epic and it was.

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‘A sprawling desert camp sweltered under a sun of molten gold. The settlement’s crude and rambling architecture was fashioned from the bones and husks of great sea beasts blessedly rendered extinct by some untold ancient catastrophe that impossibly evaporated an entire sea and left its primordial life to wither and cook for incalculable aeons upon the cracked and naked floor.’

It doesn’t get quite more exciting than that does it? The writing is smooth and moves with such pace; the main characters are built with style and understanding. Their personalities intermesh wonderfully and there is a real feel of comradeship; here I would normally really go into the character profiles but it’s better to read and get them know them based on the way they interact than me briskly trying to throw them all in here although I must admit a soft spot for Tusk. In terms of content this book is full on and it moves seamlessly through action, memorable emotional moments and then sudden stunning descriptive segments it is wonderfully woven together.

This isn’t my style of book or genre and yet I know when the next instalment comes out I will be the first to be getting a hold of and reading on because there is so much I still need answered. Here I felt that although the characters are well loved by the authors there is literally no way of finding out what is happening next; I was continually on the edge of my seat not sure whether the next character to be killed/stabbed/kidnapped/bombed would be favourite and I thought that was brilliant because I was just so enraptured.

In terms of negatives there are couple of tiny editing issues and there are so long sentences and passages that could be broken down but that’s a small quibble. I adored this book and everything in it. Bloody well done.






Kalarum: The Stone Tablet (The Kalarum Trilogy Book 1) by Dee Willis

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Is it me or is the fantasy genre becoming ever more popular? I might have to filter how many I read because there are just too many for me to get my tiny hands on. I don’t know what it is about the fantasy genre that irks me so much but it just doesn’t appeal in the same way as a thriller or a historical fiction does. I find myself reviewing almost from the point of view that I enjoy this genre because the writing is sublime or the characters are really well described it’s just the genre? Is that odd? Maybe I’ve got book brain at the moment. Despite that ramble today I have, yes you guessed it, another fantasy style book and it’s a good’un all fantastical writing and all that. Without further delay: THE REVIEW.


The Land of Kalarum is in the mist of the Dark Hour – a time that was prophesied centuries ago – and to defeat it, the stone tablets must be reunited as one. After the attack on Tinsgates, Belcrest barely escapes with his life. Severely wounded he makes his way to Hollow Woods. It is there he meets Nasira – High Captain of the Vycar Legion. Unknowingly, the evil creatures that attacked Tinsgates had stolen one of the tablets. Unable to reunite them all, the Elven Chieftain tasked them with gathering the remaining stones. Since the tablets were dispersed to various races within the land – which they had no clue existed – they had to rely upon legend to guide their journey and quickly the 19 year old Nasira learns that the land she had known is full of mystery and shocking truths. Legend and myth become reality and there is no turning back from the road she must now travel.

So the basics: we follow the journey of the elven warrior Nasira and the human Belcrest (that’s going on my list of names for future children,) as they fight to bring the tablets and the two nations together. One tablet is lost and it is feared that evil forces have taken it under their possession; our heroes must fight to keep the remaining three from also being unaccounted for. I thought this book was a really fantastical story; it’s got all the basics, dwarves, elves, humans, creatures, prophecies, magic, and destiny: you know the drill right? Each is written with understanding and dexterity the elven are particularly graceful, delightful beings with their pointed ears and their extensive knowledge of war. I however liked the dwarves a little more; hot tempered and heady creatures their language and their mannerisms kept me captivated as a reader.  Belcrest is sweet and loyal, as he learns from Narisa and their friendship blossoms in a really wonderfully honest and trusting way. Being the sole survivor of his village we see him have to quickly take up this new role which is so important for the survival of the worlds and I thought it was written with skill and understanding.

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In terms of writing style it is stunning, utterly utterly stunning and I think that’s the main reason I keep delving back into this genre.

For example, ‘as dusk approached, on the other side of Kalarum, the two moons were beginning to take their place in the sky. The splash of color melted across the land from the rising of the moons and the setting of the sun. The tiny granular rocks below reflected a dark orange color and many of the finer granules sparkled like crystals from the soft touch of the moons light.’

That description really helps to transport you to this new, exciting, fantasy world and I guess that in my love of historical fiction transports you to a different era fantasy takes you to a new world? Definitely got book brain at the moment I would say. Anyway I liked the message that was woven throughout the action, the fantasy characters and the beautiful descriptions; the message that despite differences in race, and ability Narisa with her weaponry skills and Belcrest with his awareness of goodness and honour make a strong and dependable team. I think my only comment would be there’s not quite enough to make it feel wholly original.

I’ve gone on a long time again so I’ll make this a little snappier: it seems that Dee Willis has really written a truly fantastical novel with some really strong writing flavour. The emotions that are created, the landscapes that are described and the ultimate battle of good versus evil is a true fantasy tale. Definitely one for the fantasy genre lovers.




Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye

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Helllllllo readers, another review today from the recesses of my reading life because, me and reading have seriously fallen out. I just can’t get the reading buzz back but it doesn’t feel like a reading slump, more of a reading bust-up. I’m not sure even reading the Chocolate Run, my go to, will help this time.  I just need to clear the air with reading, get into a really, (really) good book  and clear this all up. However, it has allowed me to review a number of books I’ve read but never quite got round to typing up which is always nice. Today a delightful children’s book which was pretty darn lovely.

Hermux Tantamoq is an average mouse who works in his watch shop by day and spends his evenings at home with Terfle, his pet ladybug. But all that changes when Linka Perflinger, daredevil aviatrix, steps into his shop, drops off her watch for repair, and walks out with Hermux’s heart. When a shady-looking rat tries to claim Linka’s watch, Hermux knows that something must be terribly wrong, and embarks on a dramatic quest to find her . . .

As the blurb suggests the book follows Hermux Tatamoq who just happens to be a watchmaking mouse. In his day to day life, he has a little pet ladybird called Terfle, he wears flannel shirts and he has numerous printed images of different cheese from around the world. He has a crush however, on the darling Ms.Linka Perflinger who just so happens to visit his watch shop needing an emergency repair on her watch. From that moment, Hermux’s life will change forever. As Ms Perflinger seemingly disappears our worried friend will go on a hair raising mission to find his missing lady. The journey paved with killers, thieves, snakes, dramatic rescues and a casual Fountain of Youth will be a terrifying mission for the mouse but a brilliant tale to tell.

Now for the fun bit; there’s something just delightful about this tale, a story following a mouse with a pet ladybird; it’s pretty special. The writing is solid with just the right amount of description. Sometimes with fantasy books there’s too much and for children especially, this can bog the story down. Here it is flitted in to help aid the imagination of the child but not so much smother it, if that makes sense? The characters are well described with a lightness of touch and the author works hard to distinguish the villains and the characters we love (mainly Hermux and Ms Linka.) I really liked how Hermux’s humble nature was turned into an inquisitive detective and the mild nature of him made this story doubly sweet.

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I thought the story was clever and the introduction good vs evil makes for a strong plotline to develop the tale and the characters as a whole. I thought the journal from the Jungle of Teulabonari (what a great name) was a brilliant insertion allowing for the introduction of new characters like the army of lab rats and the cosmetics monarch. It sounds a little confusing but it comes together really well. The story twists and turns and I thought the odd names of the characters and places would really help to intrigue younger readers.

In terms of negatives there are some passages of description that are really long. For me a reader who likes description I loved it but for younger readers it could get tiresome and the long and fiddly names could also be a difficulty. This could also cause problems when reading aloud but it’s a small-ish point.

This book for a young reader has everything; suspence, excitement, good vs evil, and some really exciting and well developed characters. A fun book an exciting tale and one to get younger readers really into their reading. Spot on.