Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Wow. I haven’t read a book I’ve enjoyed as much as Graceling in ages. If you’re looking for a book to get you out of a slump, or just a really fantastic little YA fantasy, you can’t go wrong with this one.

TL;DR Katsa is Graced with the ability to kill. Her uncle, the king of one of seven kingdoms in the realm, has trained her to be his enforcer and assassin, but Katsa has had enough of killing. When she meets a Graced prince from another kingdom, she finds herself falling in love and running towards danger. But both are hiding secrets and neither of their Graces are quite what they seem…

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

5 stars

After accidentally killing a man during a childish tantrum, Katsa (and everyone around her) realised she was one of the rare Graced: people who possess a particular skill – more than just a natural ability – and that her skill was, unfortunately, killing. Her uncle, one of seven kings who rule the realm, saw an opportunity and decided to turn his young niece into a cold-blooded killer, using her reputation to inspire fear in his enemies.

Now seventeen, Katsa is well-known around the Seven Kingdoms, having been her uncle’s enforcer for years. But she’s sick of doing his dirty work, so along with a few allies, Katsa has formed a council that works under the king’s nose to spare his would-be victims. On one mission to rescue a kidnapped grandfather being held in the dungeon, Katsa runs into Prince Po, another Graceling with the skill of fighting.

Katsa finds herself falling for the mysterious prince, and when she finally builds the courage to tell her uncle she won’t do his bidding anymore, the two royal Gracelings end up on a journey to a far away kingdom where rumours abound and strange happenings are all too common. But, as they say, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

Secrets come to light, life-changing self-discoveries are made, and lies are exposed in the explosive final chapters of this book!

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I fell in love with Graceling the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once (little The Fault in our Stars reference for you there). It builds quite slowly at first, in my opinion, but once I knew who was who, and the story started to kick into high gear, I was absolutely hooked.

I gave it 5 stars, because it’s a new favourite, I haven’t enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this for months. Maybe even a year? It’s a pretty classic YA fantasy, done exactly right, and now joins the ranks of A Court of Mist and Fury and Nevernight in my ‘best books ever’ section.

That’s all I have to say about it really, just go and read it if you haven’t already, and you’re a YA fantasy fan. I’d even recommend it to adult fantasy fans, the characters are teens but it’s definitely got a more broad appeal, I would say. Plus, there are two more books in the series – not exactly sequels as they follow different characters (with the occasional cameo I believe) in the Graceling realm. I’m planning to get the other two books, Bitterblue (a character who appears in Graceling, so that’s exciting) and Fire, on Audible at some point, as I listened to the audio book of Graceling and really enjoyed the experience, and I tend to stick to either audio or paperback depending on how I read book one of a series, for continuity.

I’ll be sure to review books two and three as soon as I read them, but my Audible library is currently bursting at the seams with Children of Blood and Bone, The Lies of Locke Lamora, An Ember in the Ashes, Scythe, Escaping from Houdini, and lots more fabulous reads. And that’s not even counting my physical TBR pile, or the podcasts I’ve got stacking up…

I’d better get reading! See you next time.



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The Liebster Award #2

I was tagged by the fabulous Darque Dreamer Reads for the Liebster Award, and as the questions are always different I thought I’d give it another bash! (Check out my first go here.)

The rules also appear to have changed since June when I did this award, back then there was no list of eleven random facts about me, so at least I won’t be duplicating any of those! Let’s do this…

Liebster award 2 Lyndsey's Book Blog

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Give 11 random facts about you.

3. Answer the 11 questions they gave you.

4. Nominate 11 blogs.

5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

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Eleven Facts About Me…

  1. I am now the proud fur-mum of two pointers! We adopted Woody a couple of months ago from the GSP Rescue charity, he’s 7 and was originally used as a gun dog in France. He and Bailey (2) are best friends now and keep each other company while we’re out 🙂
  2. I don’t have a middle name, and I’ve always felt like I was missing out. I used to pretend it was Ann when I was a kid – original I know! Probably because my nan’s middle name is Ann…
  3. My dad chose the name Lyndsey, after Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac. He added the extra Y because he thought it would look girlier (Lindsey Buckingham is a bloke). Thanks Dad. Apparently they couldn’t think of anything that went with Lyndsey, hence the lack of middle name.
  4. I’m currently preparing for NaNoWriMo next month, I’m diving back into a project I started in July for Camp Nano before giving up and focusing on Pitch Wars. I’ve just decided to add a secondary timeline and POV character, with absolutely no experience or knowledge of how to do this. Wish me luck! Any tips or links to helpful blogs would be greatly appreciated!
  5. I love the countryside and pretty much hate the city. I can see the benefits of living centrally, for work, shopping, public transport etc. but I just can’t imagine living there long term. I need wide open spaces, greenery and to be able to see the stars at night. I’ve lived in a lot of different places, and I’ve always preferred living in rural areas to urban ones.
  6. I like crafting in my spare time, I find it really therapeutic. I’ve tried loads of different things, Scrabble art, paper cutting, candle making, soap making etc. I always like to have a project on the go, so since I started writing it’s been that, but I still love to try my hand at different crafts.
  7. My favourite colour is turquoise and…
  8. …my favourite animals are dolphins.
  9. I love red lipstick. I wear MAC Ruby Woo at the moment, but I’ve gotten into those matte lip paint things so I might try a red one of those as mine is a nude/taupe colour.
  10. The best holiday I’ve ever been on was for my mum’s wedding in 2014. It was a cruise in the Caribbean, me and my husband flew out a week early so we had some time to ourselves, and then my mum and stepdad stayed a week later so they did too. Both parts were absolutely wonderful, spending time alone together in such a gorgeous setting and then getting to celebrate my mum’s wedding on a beautiful beach in St Thomas. It was heaven.
  11. I’m a fan of bucket lists, I had one for my twenties that I’m currently in the process of achieving the last goal, and right on time as I turned 29 in August! My list for my thirties consists of ten things to learn/do and places to visit. Things like scuba diving and skiing, and places like Hawaii and Vegas. Funnily enough, writing a book was never on my list, I suppose I didn’t think I’d really ever do it so putting a time limit on it (even a whole decade) would have felt like setting myself up for failure. So there you go, not only have I achieved all my ten goals for my twenties, I’ve also written a novel! Go divider

    Eleven Answers…

    Have you read a book with a perfect ending?

    The only book I can think of with a perfect ending that stayed with me is Harry Potter. I remember feeling really satisfied and content with how J. K. Rowling wrapped up the series and gave us a little glimpse into the future. All was well.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone JK Rowling Lyndsey's Book Blog

  1. Does your favourite movie have a perfect ending?

    I don’t really have a favourite movie, but the ones I love where I can remember the ending are the really ambiguous ones that leave you with questions, like Inception and Shutter Island.

    Why did you start your blog?

    I wanted somewhere I could share my writing journey with fellow writers, maybe build a readership of people who’d like to buy my books when they’re released, and hopefully make some friends. It’s also a nice sort of journal of how far I’ve come in the writing/publishing journey.

    Do you have a follower goal in mind?

    I honestly didn’t expect to gain a single follower, so definitely not. I’d love more, but I’m so happy with the number I have (around 320) and I’m grateful to anyone who finds my rambling interesting enough to read!

    What advice would you give to your beginner blog self?

    Interact with other similar blogs, chat in the comments and take part in blog hops and memes!

    Where is the best place you have visited?

    I’ve been lucky enough to visit so many amazing places. Rome is absolutely stunning, so much history and beauty in one city. Italy on the whole is amazing, Pompeii was fascinating and Venice is obviously gorgeous. If I could only visit one country ever again for the rest of my life it would be Italy. For the food and wine alone!

    Who is the most inspirational person in your life?

    My mum. Is that really lame? She’s the person I look up to most, our paths and ambitions are completely different, but I see how hard she’s worked to get to where she is and I’m really proud of her, and hope I’m just as successful in my own way one day.

    What is your favourite book or movie genre?

    My favourite book genre is fantasy, but I’ve got really eclectic taste in movies. I love sci-fi/fantasy, but I also like suspenseful thrillers and crime, superhero movies, slushy chick flicks and comedies. I’ll watch almost anything if it’s a good story. I’m trying to branch out a bit more with my reading as I know I’m probably missing out by being so selective!

    If you could write yourself in to a book or movie, which one would you be a character in?

    Harry Potter, every day of the week.


    Do you like going to concerts?

    I do, I love concerts, I go with my Dad mainly and my younger brother too. I used to always be at small indie gigs, or seeing whoever was playing the Student Union that week. Nowadays I go to some sit down City Hall concerts as well as grungy dive bar gigs.

    What is one food you absolutely hate?

    Artichoke *gags*.

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    I’ve been away for a while so I’m a little (OK, a lot) out of the loop right now, that’s why I’m not going to nominate eleven bloggers, I’m just going to leave this one as an open invitation. I’ll give my eleven questions so anyone who fancies having a go at this award can answer those and just tag me in your post so I can come and see it!

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    Eleven Questions…

    1. Name a blogger you admire and whose blog you love.
    2. If you had to blog about something else, what would your new blog subject be?
    3. Do your family and IRL friends know about your blog, and do they read it?
    4. What was your favourite book as a child?
    5. How do you feel about book to movie/TV adaptations?
    6. What’s your dream job?
    7. Where’s the last place you went on vacation?
    8. What are you hoping for this Christmas?
    9. How did you meet your best friend?
    10. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
    11. What would your superhero name be?

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And there you have it! I can’t wait to read your answers and get to know you all a little better, don’t forget to tag me in your posts 🙂





The Blogger Recognition Award

Hello there! It’s been a while since I posted here and I’ve really missed it. I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus over the last few weeks, Pitch Wars was a really worthwhile and valuable, but completely exhausting experience, and I’ve had a few personal things going on, but I’m back and excited to get back on track!

Thankfully, I was tagged by the fabulous Katie @ Read with Katie for the Blogger Recognition Award, which is the perfect way to ease me back into blogging!

If you haven’t checked out Katie’s awesome blog yet, pop over there immediately! Or, when you’re done here, that’s cool too.

Blogger recognition award Lyndsey's Book Blog


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.


How I started my blog…

This isn’t my first blog, but it’s the one I’ve kept at the longest (recent hiatus excepted). I started it around a year ago when I first started writing my book, I wanted somewhere to share my progress and to hopefully meet other writers and readers.

In my writing research, I’d seen lots of posts about author platforms and the importance of having an online presence where readers and anyone searching for you could go to contact the author and just generally find out more.

I thought a blog might be more fun than an author website, somewhere I could post snippets of my writing, advice I’d come across and found useful, and other fun posts that people might enjoy. To be honest, I didn’t expect many followers or really anyone to stumble across my little corner of the internet, but so far there are over 300 of you! So thank you all for joining me on my journey to publication (fingers crossed!), for liking and commenting on my posts, and cheering me on. I couldn’t do it without you!


Advice for new bloggers…

#1 – Interact with your followers and fellow bloggers

The one thing that’s made the biggest difference to my blog stats, and also helped me build a community of fellow bloggers and writer friends, was interacting with other blogs. Basically, that means replying to comments on my posts, commenting back on my followers’ own blogs, and taking part in blog hops.

Joining in with weekly or monthly memes like Beautiful People by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, or Top Ten Tuesdays by The Broke and the Bookish is also a great way to find similar blogs to follow and interact with.

One of the best blog hops for writers I take part in is the Author Toolbox Blog Hop by Raimey Gallant, which is a monthly hop where we share posts with advice, support and experiences. You can take a look back at past posts by visiting the hashtag on Twitter, if you’re a writer and blogger I definitely recommend getting involved, the quality of posts is absolutely fantastic and the community of writers taking part is inspiring to say the least!

I follow a lot of the bloggers I follow on their social media accounts too, mainly Twitter and Instagram, and I’m a member of several Facebook groups with other bloggers and writers I’ve met online too. Interacting with other bloggers who write about similar topics, or who you admire and would love to emulate, is the best piece of advice I can possibly give if you want to get the most out of blogging!

#2 – Find your niche

People are more likely to subscribe to your blog if they know what to expect from your posts. Is your blog about books? Reading them, or writing them? Which genres do you prefer? Do you write reviews? Are they in depth and detailed, or mini taster reviews? Do you include spoilers? Those are the kinds of things people like to know before subscribing.

There are millions of blogs on the internet, probably even billions, so you need to carve out a little corner of paradise for yourself where like-minded individuals can find you and your posts. There’s nothing completely original in this world, so don’t worry about coming up with something brand new that’s never been done before, but if you have a niche you’re more likely to attract the right kinds of readers, people like yourself who maybe didn’t think anyone else was into the exact same type of sci-fi, or little-known manga, as them.

You’ve probably heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Well, that applies to blogging too. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll wind up with a blog that has no identifiable category, that search engines struggle to place in results, and readers won’t subscribe to because they can’t guarantee that every post will be relevant or interesting to them.

You don’t have to be as specific as ‘a blog about 15th Century Italian poetry with religious imagery’, but you need to give your potential readers an idea of what to expect. For example, my blog is about writing and reading YA lit, that’s the general theme of this blog. I diverge a little, I read and review some adult lit, and I lean towards fantasy, but also feature contemporary and thrillers. But on the whole, the vast majority of my posts are either about reading or writing, and mostly YA fantasy.


I nominate…

I’m going to leave this one open, so if you fancy sharing your blogging story and some tips for newbie bloggers, feel free to pinch this tag!


Thanks for sticking with me through the impromptu hiatus, I’m hoping to be back to regularly scheduled programming from now on. I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo next month, but I’ll do my best to keep posting here as well.

In other news, I sent my first query for THE FAIR QUEEN yesterday, so I’m officially in the query trenches! Wish me luck, I’ll keep you all updated on any developments (that I can share 😉 ) and you can all commiserate with me as the rejections start to flood in.


Until next time!



Blogger recognition award Lyndsey's Book Blog