Tuesday, May 22

Characters Worthy of Naming Our Pets After

Hello friends! After a few weeks long break, Clare and I are finally back with a Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) post!! Neither of us is particularly fond of children, so we altered the topic a tad bit, and are going to be naming our imaginary future pets today. 

FAIR WARNING - this post contains a ridiculous amount of cuteness, because we'll always say YES to gifs.

Saturday, May 19

Posters, Sashes and All the Women's Rights Campaigns in Girls for the Vote by Linda Newbery

When thirteen-year-old Polly befriends two suffragettes in the top floor flat at 6 Chelsea Walk, she finds herself questioning the views of those around her. The Votes for Women campaign strikes a chord with Polly and she becomes determined to join the suffragettes' protest march, even if it means clashing with her family... 

A perfect blend of history and story-telling, illuminating women’s place in history and introducing this to today’s readers.

Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

Girls for the Vote follows 13-year-old Polly as she finds herself dragged into a flurry of posters, sashes and women's rights campaigns when her best friend and neighbour, Lily, moves away and two suffragettes (or rather, a suffragette and a suffragist) move in to her apartment instead. Edwina and Violet are the two young women who are fighting for suffrage, among many, many others, and it is through them that Polly begins to see a world of new opportunities. A world where she gets just the same opportunities as mean Maurice downstairs.

"Lily who had recently been to her cousin's wedding, had told Polly that in the marriage service, the bride had to promise to obey her husband. That meant doing whatever he told you, the way Mama always did what Papa said. Really, you might as well stay on at school, if someone was to carry on telling you what to do and not do."

Thursday, May 17

Unattractive Covers That Hide Some of My Favorite Books

I am HUGELY into covers, okay?? I know it is awful, I know it, but a book that has pretty cover is something I'll 10000% buy before I get one with a bad cover. *hides* Sure, if I'm super-interested in a book I won't care about the cover one bit, BUT when something pokes my interest for the very first time? The cover MATTERS - less so for self-published books than others, but I am turned off by awful covers in most cases. 

However, today I'm here to share some of my FAVORITE books that I picked up despite disliking their covers, and I never regretted that decisions. Who knows? Maybe you'll find your next favorite here. ;)

On a side note, this post is obviously 1000% subjective!! I don't like these covers, but that doesn't mean y'all can't find them appealing. Also, I'm in NO WAY trying to be shady towards these books or their authors - I LOVE THEM, for gods sake. But, as someone who's into pretty covers, I thought it'd be superb to make a post that showcases that the quality of the book is NOT in parallel with the cover! 

Saturday, May 12

Eurovision Book Tag

Last year Vera and I created The Eurovision Book Tag which I am super proud of! And this year Eurovision just so happens to fall on the same day as Pride - so as  you're reading this I am having the time of my life at Pride in Exeter! And I wanted to combine these two things so here is our Eurovision Book Tag with only LGBTQ answers to the questions! 

Thursday, May 10

Royal Rantings - Resisting the Hype

One of the biggest...afflictions I see in this community is the hype, oh my God, the hype. It's omnipresent, whichever way you turn. Whether it's a new book coming out or a new cover for an older book. Whether it's an unnecessary addition to a series or a much-awaited sequel. A prequel, a novella, a spin-off. Diverse, ownvoices, neither of these. Hardcover, paperback, painted fore edges, stained edges. Collector's editions, anniversary editions, special editions. Books, books, and yet more books, and being part of the bookish community means you're attacked by the hype from all around you.

Saturday, May 5

Tropes I Can't Help But Adore In Books + Recs for All of Them!

Hello friends. After how much I enjoyed writing a post about things I didn't like in books (you can see it here) I decided to compensate for all that negativity and share some of my favorite tropes, themes and such with y'all today. And, let me tell you, this post turned out QUITE COOL, with lost of awesome recommendations, so wow, I cannot wait for you to see it! So, without further ado, let's get right into the bestest tropes there are + some amazing recs. 

Thursday, May 3

Trying Out New Things: Mini Reviews of Two Graphic Novels

The Adventures of John Blake: 

The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship
Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John rescues a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promises to help.

But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg's true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will...

This was a must read for me purely because it's Philip Pullman. I've only read one graphic novel before (Nimona by Noelle Stevenson) and whilst I loved it, it's proven a hard medium for me to get into. 
The art style in this was completely my style. It was very clear and beautiful but also simple and I think it suited the characters and the story extremely well. I especially loved the use of colours which made the book feel like the sort of thing child-Clare would have been crazy about (meaning fun and easy). 
The story was less my thing but still a lot of fun to read. I'm never a big fan of time travel (I just can't wrap my tiny brain around it ever). And the concept of a ship full of people from various time periods all trying to get to various other time periods and passing through our time on their way to go maybe backwards or forwards - I just got lost as you can probably tell from that very confusing explanation. To be fair I don't think this was the fault of the book and I kinda loved that one of the main characters was about as confused as I was.
This isn't my favourite Philip Pullman story but I did enjoy it and would definitely recommend it if you've got any reluctant middle-grade readers. I will be passing it on to my younger brother who rarely reads because it seems like something he would enjoy anyway.

Dragon Age: Knight Errant

Dragon Age: Knight Errant
Vaea, an elven squire, and her knight, the drunken Ser Aaron Hawthorne, arrive in Kirkwall just in time for Varric Tethras' appointment as Viscount. A talented thief, Vaea skips the party to take on an easy job recovering a hidden lock box . . . but when she chooses to change the terms of the deal mid-heist, she is entangled in a dangerous mission that is surely above her pay grade.

So the obvious first thing to address here is - will this story be of any interest to people who have never played any of the Dragon Age games. And the answer is a little of both (sorry that's not helpful). The story itself follows a new main character and a new plot. And the fantasy world and action are intriguing enough to draw anyone in. However I'm not sure the story did a good enough job with the lore for unfamiliar readers to fully immerse themselves in the story. 
In addition to this there are many cameos from favourite (and less favourite) characters who receive little to no introduction. Knight Errant very much works on the assumption that you've played the game and that's why you're reading the story. Which is great for fans - not so great for anyone who picks up this book for the gorgeous artwork.
That said, if you are a fan then I highly recommend this. The art is so, so beautiful; the cameos are variously funny and intriguing; the story is canon and its going to be a while till the next game so... anything to tide me over?

Both of these novels have reminded me of why I want to get into graphic novels (pretty pretty art) so if you have any recommendations for me please do let me know what are some of your favourites!!

Tuesday, May 1

Unreleased Books We Could Kill To Get

Hello friends! I'm like, 1000% sure that as bookworms we all have a long as hell to-read pile slash wishlist that consists entirely of books that were already published. (Am I right, or am I right?) 

HOWEVER, I'm also sure that you all have a nearly as long list made up of books that have not been published yet - I mean, it would be kind of impossible not to with all the awesome titles being released soon, or not so soon. 

TODAY, following this week's TTT topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl), Clare and I have brought you 10-10 books we are super-duper excited about, and would legit fight to get our hands on. 

BEWARE, you'll likely leave this post with a bunch of new books on your tbr, you've been warned. 

*click on covers for goodreads!*

Saturday, April 28

Where Houses Walk and the Dead Talk - The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with. 

But that's tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It's even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties--and no playmates that stick around for more than a day. 

So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it's up to Marinka to find her--even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife. 

With a mix of whimsy, humor, and adventure, this debut novel will wrap itself around your heart and never let go.

Thursday, April 26

Underhyped #Ownvoices Novels You NEED In Your Life

Hello friends. Lately, I've been reading SO MANY books that I truly-truly wanted to showcase on the blog, but there are two problems with that: a) I really don't have the time to write that many full reviews, b) I've mostly been in the mood to write, shorter, bullet-point reviews anyhow, SO the time has come for some mini-reviews! 

And not just for any random booksbut a three AMAZING, yet underhyped novels, featuring #ownvoices characters. These three stories are fantastically unique and well-crafted, and it pains me a great deal that they aren't more popular. Please, if you're able to, support these books, these authors, because they are truly spectacular.

Saturday, April 21

Just the Most Fun a Romance Lover Can Have: My Lady's Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel

You are the plucky but penniless heroine in the center of eighteenth-century society, courtship season has begun, and your future is at hand. Will you flip forward fetchingly to find love with the bantering baronet Sir Benedict Granville? Or turn the page to true love with the hardworking, horse-loving highlander Captain Angus McTaggart? Or perhaps race through the chapters chasing a good (and arousing) man gone mad, bad, and scandalous to know, Lord Garraway Craven? Or read on recklessly and take to the Continent as the “traveling companion” of the spirited and adventuresome Lady Evangeline? Or yet some other intriguing fate? Make choices, turn pages, and discover all the daring delights of the multiple (and intertwining!) storylines. And in every path you pick, beguiling illustrations bring all the lust and love to life.

Thursday, April 19

Royal Rantings - Reading Styles

So, this was an actual conversation Vera and I had a couple of weeks ago. There's SO MANY TYPES of reading. It's not as simple as just picking up a book and getting started on it- especially when you're a book-blogger. Picking up the book itself is a tedious task most times. You check reviews, maybe on social media pages, on Goodreads, Amazon. You talk to your friends about it. You then check with the rest of your TBR and prioritize because why not. You may end up with a completely different book from what you first set out to read. You then pick up the book and sit down- oh wait, a pencil, bookmark (or sock, who cares), notebook, sticky notes? Snacks? Properly snuggled in? Okay, and then you ACTUALLY start reading, and this is when things get even more complicated. Here's part of our convo so you get what we're talking about:

Tuesday, April 17

Popular Books We Feel Everyone Has Read But Us

Hello! Today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) we chose to go with a topic that happens to us all too frequently! It seems like there is constantly some book that everyone has read but it somehow passed us right by. Here are some of the books we've heard oh so much about but have never gotten around to reading!  

Saturday, April 14

How To Keep Your TBR In Control: Trying Out & Rating Different Methods

Hello, friends! As bookworms, many of us suffer from over-flowing to-read piles. Some of us have the privilege to own an unbelievable amount of books - either as physical copies or ebooks - while others have to battle with incredibly long wishlists when picking their next. And, yes, of course there are some, myself included, who struggle with both.

What I'm trying to say here is that, one way or another, most bookworms are buried under massive to-buy and/or to-read-owned book piles. Keeping track of all that, deciding how and when to get rid of books can prove to be tough. Helpful tips are all over the internet, which is great! But sometimes, it's hard to predict which method would be the best, and how exactly to go about doing it when there are no pointers given. To help you with that, in today's post, I'm here to not only list some common methods, BUT to also showcase how well they worked for me, what difficulties I faced, etc. while trying them. 

Disclaimer: This is only MY opinion. I cannot guarantee that what works for me, will work for you the same way. With that being said, I did my best to stay as objective as possible when commenting on these methods. So let's get right into this!

Tuesday, April 10

Our Favorite Novels We're So Ready To Revisit

Hello friends! Tuesday means two things for me, (1) we're one day closer to the weekend, and (2) it's time for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)! Now, Clare and I were struggling a teeny tiny bit with today's topic - smh, we are so bad at this 'following the weekly theme' thing - so we switched it up a little and so, instead of books we loved but don't want to reread, we'll be writing about books we're so ready to revisit. I SWEAR WE'LL GET BETTER AT THIS THING. Anyhow, without further ado, let's jump right into our lists: 

10-10 books we loved, and cannot wait to reread.

Saturday, April 7

My Favorite Bookish Haunts

So I recently came across Roberta's discussion post on what makes one decide on whether or not to comment on a post and that had me thinking... Why not do a shout out for some of my favorite blogs in here? While there a lot of great blogs out there, there are a select few that I always try to make time for. 

I can't exactly find a particular set of reasons as to why I tend to gravitate towards these particular blogs, but I find that I generally interact the most with them. Some of these have similar reading tastes to mine, so it's always great to have another perspective on things. Some of them have wildly different tastes and even if I wouldn't read what they do, I still like reading what  they have to say. Some of them are friends, some are not...yet. Some comment back, some don't. But whatever it is, I find these blogs really amazing and I feel it would be a crime to not share them with y'all! 

I figured this could work as both a post to let y'all know some of my favorites and hopefully introduce you to a few new ones in the process, and also make myself aware of the ones I frequent. A win-win situation either way, so let's start the party already! 

Thursday, April 5

Mini Reviews to Two Super-Popular Backlist Books

THE book that made me want to write this post in the first place, because I needed to flail about it & push y'all who haven't read it yet a tad bit into its direction. Yes, it was THAT good. 

Let's go, 4 Reasons to read Grave Mercy, a Historical Fantasy set in the Middle Ages: 

⚔️ The main characters are assassin nuns, ASSASSIN NUNS!! Is that not reason enough?? They are vicious and well-trained in all the different methods of killing AND they are excited about said killings. 

Tuesday, April 3

Our Favorite Novels Where The Characters Outshine Everything Else


Hello friends! For today's Top Ten Tuesday post (weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl), Clare and I have decided to switch up the topic a little bit, because we were SO BAD at trying to come up with answers for the original TTT that is: 'Characters I liked That Were In Non-Favorite/Disliked Books'. Now, we didn't want to venture too far away from the theme, thus we modified it to 'Books Where the Characters Outshine Everything Else', and wow, are we excited to show these 10 (5-5) books + characters with y'all! So, without further ado, let's get right into this post!

Monday, April 2

ALL the Exciting Books Being Released in the Second Quarter of 2018

Hello friends! Today, much like in the beginning of every month, we brought you some of the most exciting book releases we could dig up. However, unlike before, we decided to do a release calendar every quarter of the year, instead of every month, quality over quantity and all that. That means that for today, we've showcased the new releases of the second quarter of the year (April, May and June) that we couldn't be more excited for. To limit the length of this post, we've only shared 4-4-4 books per month, so you'll find the total of 36 books in this post. Have fun browsing through our mini-lists!

*click on the covers for Goodreads*

Saturday, March 31

My Life in Books Tag!!

As you may know I only recently joined The Regal Critiques and I wanted to do a tag that helps people get to know me bookishly (yes that's a word)! So much of my life has been shaped by and around books so this was a really fun tag to try! 

Thursday, March 29

World War Two, a Jewish Girl, and a Nazi Boarding School - Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

"Never lie when you can tell the truth. Lies have to be worked out in advance or they will tie you up 
and eat you."

A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined.

Tuesday, March 27

Magical Places We'd Love To Visit

Hello, friends! Veronika here, and wow, I'm so excited to share with you today's post! Clare and I are both massive fans of fantasy novels, and so it only seemed logical to share with you magical places instead of real life ones. So, breaking the rules of Top Ten Tuesday a bit (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl), let me present the 14 (7-7) places we'd love to visit.... emphasis on the visit, you'll see why. 

Saturday, March 24

Stuff That Positively Pisses Me Off In Books

Hello friends, today's post is a little bit ranty, a little bit negative, but ALL kinds of relatable (I hope?) if you also dislike some of these things. So go ahead, continue reading if you're up for a good moan about cringe-worthy slash annoying tropes in books. 

Thursday, March 22

Feminism and Strong Female Friendships Mean I'm in Love With The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

"Bitches bite back. And men hate that. Society hates that."

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has...

Tuesday, March 20

Our Over-Flowing Spring TBRs

Hello, friends! Veronika here, and I am über-pumped for today's post, because today marks the first occasion when Clare, OUR NEW CO-BLOGGER, is joining me for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)! As for the topic, Spring TBR... by now, many of you likely know that I'm terrible at following TBR lists. No joke, at this point the bar is set so low that I'll celebrate reading even one (1), yes, ONE book from this list by the end of spring. What about you, Clare? 

Clare: Honestly with my current reading I'll be lucky to hit one all spring too! But there are so many amazing books releasing this season and so many other incredible books that I own and still haven't read because I am awful at TBRs!! 

Now, Spring, 2018, we're READY TO READ ALL THROUGH YOU. 

Saturday, March 17

Dinosaurs, Humans and an Overcrowded Planet - The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson (The Extinction Trials #1)

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln's ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters - human and reptilian - they can't afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other...

Thursday, March 15

Yet Another Milestone at The Regal Critiques

It's been four years already! Four years since this little blog was born. Four years of talking about all things bookish, ranting, venting- you name it. On this occasion, we decided to have a look at how exactly we came to be The Regal Critiques, and so, let's have a look at our timeline, shall we?

15th of March, 2014

The birth of this blog, by the name of Reading is Dreaming With Open Eyes. The proud mom? Veronika.

18th of June, 2015

Addition of a co-blogger when Vera made the truly momentous decision of sharing her baby with another human. Enter Ruzaika.

19th of June, 2015

Blog revamp-  a design change, as well as name change to The Regal Critiques. 

Since today is a special day and all, we'll let you have a look at the brilliant list of names we came up with first when trying to decide on a name for the blog! Excuse the typo and the general silliness, but you'll see Royal Rantings, the title we now use for our discussion posts was actually considered as a name for the blog itself! 

Aaaand now we're here today  celebrating yet another milestone here on the blog and we have mighty exciting news for you! Drumroll please! *cue drumroll*  As of this day, 

Saturday, March 10

Unique Characters and An Unflinching Look at Expat Life in Saudi Arabia in A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved. 

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. 

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley

Thursday, March 8

A Series To Binge #1: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

The plot gets better and darker with each book. I am so very impressed with the way the author built-up the series. See, I fairly enjoyed The Naturals, I really liked Killer Instinct, I loved All In, but I was absolutely blown away by Bad Blood. SO MANY THINGS CONNECTED, and like, yes, THIS is how you write a great, psychological thriller series. I need more like this, and I need it NOW.

Saturday, March 3

All the #GirlLove You Can Imagine in Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

“Weak or strong - she didn’t know what they meant anymore. Maybe they didn’t mean the same thing for everyone.”

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Thursday, March 1

Release Calendar - March 2018

Bonjour, mes amis! Here we are, yet again, at the start of another brand new month with the most exciting of new YA releases! We've tried to limit our choices to only the ones we are absolutely dying for- like every other month, really- but you can see the attempt has been very much futile since we have more new releases than we could possibly get around to this month as well. Anyhoo. Have a look at our pick of the most promising of YA books coming out this month!