Book Review: The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant


Title: The Hatmakers

Author: Tamzin Merchant

Illustrator: Paola Escobar

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: Middle Grade

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, blood, imprisonment, death of a parent

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads


Goodreads Synopsis

Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia’s world, Making – crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients – is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain.

When Cordelia’s father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him. But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war.

It’s up to Cordelia to find out who, and why . . .

Featuring illustrations by Paola Escobar.

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Top 5 Tuesday: Series to Finish in 2023


Top 5 Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme that asks you to pick 5 books that fit that week’s theme. It was created by Bionic Bookworm and is currently being hosted by Meeghan Reads. You should check out their wonderful blog for more details and the list of prompts!


Hello, reader!

It’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday! Last week’s topic was all about series I wanted to start this year. This week is the opposite: series I’d like to finish in 2023! I am in the middle of… a lot of series. Like, a ridiculous amount, y’all. That means it took me a minute to trim this down to just five I wanted to feature, haha. Just know that this list is definitely not exhaustive.

That being said, let’s get to it!


#1. The Great Library series by Rachel Caine

I have been on the last book of this series for an embarrassingly long time. At this point, I probably should reread the entire series, but, funnily enough, I remember pretty much everything that has happened so far. Which, if you know me at all, is an anomaly! I just need to finally pick this up and prepare myself to say goodbye to Jess and company. It’s gonna be bittersweet.


#2. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin series by Roseanne A. Brown

The second book in this duology was on my 22 in 2022 TBR and we all know how well that went 😂 I’m still eager to pick up A Psalm of Storms and Silence, so I’m sticking it on this list. I was fascinated by the world that Roseanne A. Brown created in the first book. I’m also completely attached to the main characters, Malik and Karina. I need to know how their story ends!

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First Lines Friday #69


First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first (I cheat a little bit here *cough*)
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!


Hello, reader!

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Today, I’m featuring a middle grade novel that I’ve already started reading. It’s been a fun and engaging read, so far, and it helps that there are beautiful illustrations peppered throughout the book. I’m excited to continue on with the story!

Before I do, though, let me share the first few lines and see if they entice you, as well.


The Line(s):

“It was a wild and lightning-struck night. The kind of night that changes everything.”


The Hints:

This middle grade fantasy is set in London.

It features clothes that are legitimately magic.

If you’re looking for a fantasy with a clever and crafty main character, this might be for you!


The Reveal:

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WWW Wednesday: Jan 11, 2022


It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney: I’m reading this with a group of bookish friends. I think the general consensus is that we don’t trust anyone and are loving it! I absolutely loved how much this feels like And Then There Were None. The atmosphere is top-notch, the writing has sucked me in, and I’m finding it hard to stick to the book club reading schedule 😂 It helps that I have so many other books on the go, at the moment. Still, I can’t wait to continue!
  • The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant: I’m reading this cute middle grade with the Middle Grade Marvels group and I’m having a blast. This is such a fun and unique story, so far. I love the Hatmakers, Cordelia most of all. She’s feisty and smart and ambitious. I’m also loving the illustrations inside the book. I think this will continue to be a great read!
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January 2023 TBR


Hello, reader!

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that I don’t typically do TBRs. Mostly because I’m a mood reader and I had convinced myself that TBRs are not my thing. I discovered last year, though, that any month where I actually made a TBR (typically for a readathon) I not only read more, but I found it less daunting when deciding what to read next. So… dare I say that I might be jumping on the TBR train?

Well, clearly I am, else this post wouldn’t exist 😂

I’m excited to give TBRs a go in 2023 and see if it helps me to reach my bookish goals for the year. Now, I’m gonna say right now that there may be more books on this TBR than I’ll actually be able to get to in January, but I’m going to give it my best shot! And if I don’t manage to read them all, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

All that being said, let’s get to what I’m hoping to read in January!



  • Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
  • What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
  • Slappy, Beware! by R.L. Stine (my 12 friends, 12 recommendations book of the month)
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Top Ten Reads of 2022


Hello, reader!

Happy New Year! I always enjoy looking back on a year of reading and looking forward to a brand new one. Part of looking back, of course, is thinking about all the books I adored this year.

I had 24 five star reads in 2022 which is just wild to me. I think my most common rating was four stars, but I’m excited that I found so many books this year that just blew me away. That being said, there were definitely some stand outs, even among my five stars. That’s why I decided to narrow it down to my top ten books that I read this year! I’m sharing these in no particular order because I think I loved them all equally, if for differing reasons.

Now, let’s jump into the list!


The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

The Basics: Adult gaslamp fantasy featuring gods and twelve dazzling realms and CHAOS.

What I Loved: I could just say ‘everything’ for all of these books, but I’m gonna try to be more specific 😂 The characters in this book are what captured my heart. Kayl and Quen live in my head rent-free and it’s weird but I love them so much. I do have a full review that you can find here.


The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

The Basics: A woman finds out that a mysterious map that caused her to have a falling out with her dad may also be the reason he died. Hijinks ensue.

What I Loved: This was compulsively readable! I’m not a fast reader and this book is around 400 pages, but I read it in a day. I enjoyed this mixture of mystery and fantasy. You can read my full review here.


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Basics: A group of morally grey characters plan a heist in 1889 Paris. You like found family? *slaps the cover* The beauty has so much found family!

What I Loved: I discovered in 2022 that I really love the found family trope and this book absolutely delivers in that realm. The characters wormed their ways into my heart. I also really loved the writing in this book.

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BBNYA Spotlight: The Gatekeeper of Pericael by Hayley Reese Chow


Hello, reader!

Today on the blog, I’m bringing you another spotlight tour for one of the semi-finalists of this year’s Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Awards (BBNYA). I’m so excited to help shine a light on some fantastic indie books. In 2022, BBNYA is celebrating the 55 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. But perhaps you aren’t familiar with what BBNYA entails, so let me tell you a little about it!

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA website or take a peek over on Twitter (@BBNYA_Official). BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.

Now, let’s get to today’s spotlight post, this one featuring The Gatekeeper of Pericael by Hayley Reese Chow!



  • Title: The Gatekeeper of Pericael
  • Author: Hayley Reese Chow
  • Publication date: April 6th, 2021
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Length: 186 pages
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Middle Grade (Upper)

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

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October 2022 Wrap Up


Hello, reader!

It’s time for another monthly wrap up! I read the same amount of books in October as I did in September, though I felt like I was taking forever to read. October was also the month of buddy reads, so I was trying to break up my reading to keep pace with the readalongs. It worked better with some books than others 😂 Still, it was a great month for spooky reads and books that got me into the fall/winter mood. I didn’t read anything under four stars, so I’m definitely counting it as a great reading month!

Now, let’s talk about all the books I managed to finish in October.


Books Read


  • The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery: I was reading this as part of the Middle Grade Marvels buddy read in September. Clearly, it took me a wee bit longer since it’s in my October wrap up 😅 This is through no fault of the book, though! This was an incredible read that had me hooked from the beginning. It just suffered because of my weird reading mood in September. This was a wonderful middle grade story about friendship and fighting for what’s right, even if it feels like everything is against you. The backdrop of this story is WWII and there is an air raid on London that is intricately detailed, so it can get a bit intense. Still, I had a great time with this book and really fell in love with the characters. ★★★★
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones: I’ve read a few Stephen Graham Jones novels now and I think I’ve found my favorite, so far. This was such a dark, atmospheric, incredible book! The entity stalking the main characters in this book was suitably creepy and I loved the background story that was created for it. The fact that this is rooted in Blackfeet culture was interesting, as well. This was a frightening, engaging read and makes me want to read even more from this author! ★★★★★
  • The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling: I read this book as part of a buddy read. I did not stick to the reading schedule, though, because, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop! This was such a fun, witchy romance that had me enthralled from page one. It was a quick, cute read and I was hardcore rooting for our main couple, Vivi and Rhys. I haven’t read many second chance romances, but if they’re all like this, I can see myself wanting more! I also love the town in which this was set. It was so cozy and gave the perfect Halloween vibes. I liked this book so much that I pretty much immediately picked up the next book in the series, which you’ll see later in this post, haha. ★★★★
  • The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham: I read this fantasy novel as part of a tour hosted by The Write Reads. You can tell the author really thought about the world he created in this book a lot because the worldbuilding was top-notch! I was enchanted by this portal fantasy and found it easy to picture it all in my head. This book read like a movie, which is something I always love! I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed but, overall, this was such an engaging and enjoyable read. You can find my full review here. ★★★★
  • Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: I’ve been hearing more and more about the author T. Kingfisher lately but I hadn’t read anything by her. I figured it was spooky season and this looked probably creepy, so I picked it up at the library. I’m so glad I did because I ended up loving this! It was a dark fairytale that starred all of the side characters that don’t usually get the spotlight. It was dark and funny and digs into some real world topics in a way that I very much enjoyed. And there’s a bone dog and a demon chicken! What more do you need, right? After this experience, I’m excited to give more of her books a try! ★★★★
  • The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley: Similarly to the last book, I’ve heard so much about Lucy Foley but had yet to pick up any of her books. I found this book on Scribd and figured, “Why not?” Again, I’m so glad I gave this a shot because I had a great time! This was a wonderfully atmospheric thriller that made me want to never go to Paris 😂 The apartment building itself is almost a character of its own it has so much sinister personality. I wanted to strangle a good portion of the characters and I guessed a few of the twists, yet I still found myself on the edge of my seat, eager to read what was going to happen next. And I certainly didn’t see the ending coming! Again, now I’m excited to pick up more from this author. ★★★★
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BBNYA Spotlight: Emma and the Minotaur by Jon Herrera


Hello, reader!

Happy Tuesday, y’all! It’s time for another spotlight tour for one of the semi-finalists of this year’s Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Awards (BBNYA). I’m so excited to help shine a light on some fantastic indie books. In 2022, BBNYA is celebrating the 55 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. But perhaps you aren’t familiar with what BBNYA entails, so let me tell you a little about it!

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA website or take a peek over on Twitter (@BBNYA_Official). BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.

Now, let’s get to today’s spotlight post, this one featuring Emma and the Minotaur by Jon Herrera!



  • Title: Emma and the Minotaur
  • Author: Jon Herrera
  • Publication date: April 8th, 2020
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Length: 207 pages
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Middle Grade (Upper)

Bookshop::TBD::Amazon::
Goodreads

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Blog Tour: The Miraculous Sweetmakers by Natasha Hastings


Hello, reader!

I have another wonderful tour post for you today hosted by The Write Reads. This time, I get to tell you my thoughts on an upcoming middle grade fantasy that is as sweet as it sounds: The Miraculous Sweetmakers by Natasha Hastings! This magical book took me on a frosty adventure and I loved every minute of it.

Before I get further into my review, though, I have people to thank. First, thank you to Dave @ The Write Reads and all of the crew for giving me a spot on this tour! Second, thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free e-ARC via Netgalley so that I could participate. It is, as always, appreciated 😊

Now, let’s get to my post!



  • Title: The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair
  • Author: Natasha Hastings
  • Illustrated by: Alex T. Smith
  • Publication date: November 1st, 2022
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Middle Grade
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: Depictions of child neglect, death of a loved one, grief

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads



An amazing and captivating, curl-up-on-the-sofa debut about a magical frost fair and the lasting power of friendship.

It’s a cold winter during the Great Frost of 1683. Thomasina and Anne are the best of friends, one running her father’s sweet shop and the other the apprentice at the family apothecary – together they sell their goods on the frozen River Thames. When a family tragedy turns Thomasina’s world upside down, she is drawn to a mysterious conjuror and the enchanted frost fair.

But soon the world of Father Winter threatens to claim everything she holds dear. Will they be able to solve the magical mysteries that surround them . . . ?

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