The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory - Lauren Mayhew AuthorThe Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory – 5 Stars

The fact that it took me a few months to finish this book doesn’t reflect on the quality. When I pick up a book and read it for the first time, it often takes me a few weeks, not months like this one, but I’m busy and have many late nights, so reading anything goes out of the window. I really wanted to love this book, and I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Blurb: Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her household for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou’s close friend and a Lancaster supporter – until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV.

Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines. Continue reading “The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory”


Black Panther

Black Panther Film Review - Lauren Mayhew Author
Image: Marvel Studios

Black Panther – 4 out of 5 Stars

Synopsis: After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king – and as Black Panther – gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Black Panther is another film from the Marvel universe, and there’s not many Marvel films that I haven’t watched. I’m always excited to see what Marvel have up their sleeve next, and off the back of Thor: Ragnarok, I was expecting big things. Continue reading “Black Panther”

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour Film Review - Lauren Mayhew Author
Poster: Focus Features

Darkest Hour – 4.5 Out of 5 Stars

Synopsis: A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch Darkest Hour. There are so many depictions of Churchill in films, TV and books, I wasn’t sure how this one was going to differ. Darkest Hour chose to show the very beginning of Churchill’s leadership during the war, rather than his health decline in later years. It was great to see the battles that he faced from members of the opposition, the King, and even members of his own party. Continue reading “Darkest Hour”

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman - Film Review - Lauren Mayhew AuthorThe Greatest Showman – 5 out of 5 Stars

Synopsis: The Greatest Showman is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder we feel when dreams come to life. Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

This film was something special. Michael Gracey did a fantastic job with his full length feature debut. More experienced directors would shy away from the thought of directing a musical, but Gracey was right not to. He had a vision and he went for it.

I’m not a massive musical fan, Grease being one of the only exceptions, and Disney of course, but you expect a certain level of cheese with that. I haven’t even watched La La Land yet, and it’s supposed to be amazing. Maybe one day I’ll get round to it. Anyway, when I heard it was a musical, I wasn’t expecting to love it. I would have been happy to watch a film based on P.T. Barnum’s life without the singing, but I could not have been happier than when I left that cinema last night. I was totally in the mood for a singalong on the drive home. Continue reading “The Greatest Showman”

What Makes a Good Book Review?

Book Reviews - Lauren Mayhew AuthorI’ve always wondered what people like to see in a book review. As an author, any review 3 stars or more is greatly appreciated. Even a 3 star review can mean that the reader enjoyed the book, they just didn’t love it. Every review is appreciated by an author, indie or not.

One of my most liked posts on here is a book review. I wrote it almost two years ago now, and it still gets views. I do wonder sometimes how people stumble upon that post. It made me think why that review was so popular. If people enjoyed it enough to like the post, it meant the format of the review must have been to certain people’s taste. You can find it here.

These are the 5 steps that I use to write my reviews. Continue reading “What Makes a Good Book Review?”

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare - Lauren Mayhew AuthorClockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare – 5 Stars

The Clockwork Angel is the first in the trilogy of ‘The Infernal Devices’. The first time I read this book must have been in 2010 after finding it in my local library, and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s now one of my favourite books ever. I’ve read it quite a few times, and it never lets me down. I only wish that I’d written this review after the first time of reading the book. It would be great to see what I thought of it back then!

Blurb: Magic is dangerous – but love is more dangerous still… When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all. Continue reading “Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare”

Rigel by Eli Ingle

Rigel by Eli Ingle - Lauren Mayhew AuthorRigel (Appointments on Plum Street Book 1)  –  Eli Ingle  –  3.5 Stars

Blurb: Appointments on Plum Street is a series set across six worlds, three dimensions and multiple times zones. The first book, Rigel, starts the story as we see the young orphan Rigel on Earth, miserable and alone. Then one night his life is changed forever when a crew of airship pilots tear through the sky and offer to take him to another world.

On their journey they come across other children and Rigel finds that they are all at the centre of a legend thousands of years old … and he has no memory being part of it. The children are the Light Ones and the only hope of saving each planet against The Darkness. Continue reading “Rigel by Eli Ingle”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling - Lauren MayhewHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling – 4 Stars

Blurb: It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I was so excited to read this, and though I tried to hang on in the hope that I’d see it on stage first, I couldn’t. Tickets are almost impossible to get, and when it comes to Harry Potter, I have no willpower.

The fact that I managed to read this in the space of a few hours is a testament to how good it is. I couldn’t put it down – I just had to know how it would end. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling”

United As One – Pittacus Lore

United as One by Pittacus Lore - Lauren MayhewUnited As One – Pittacus Lore – 5 Stars

Blurb: The Mogadorian invasion has come to Earth, and they have all but won the battle for our planet. Their warships loom over our most populous cities – like New York City, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi – and no army will risk making a move against them. The Garde are all that stand in their way . . . but they are no longer alone in this fight. Human teens from across the globe, like John Smith’s best friend, Sam Goode, have begun to develop Legacies of their own.

The Garde have always known there is power in numbers. If they can find these new allies and join forces with them, they just might be able to win this war. The time has come for the Garde to make their final stand.

This is the last in the series of the Lorien Legacies, and I’m not 100% sure I’m ready for it to be over. Part of me was so excited to get my hands on this book, and the other part of me is quite sad. This was the last book series I’ve been waiting to complete, so it’s like the end of Harry Potter all over again. Excuse me while I go cry in the corner…

Continue reading “United As One – Pittacus Lore”

The Diamond of Darkhold – Jeanne DuPrau

The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau

The Diamond of Darkhold – Jeanne DuPrau – 3.5 Stars

Blurb: It’s been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks.

Now, struggling through the harsh winter aboveground, they find an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device from before the Disaster, which they believe is still in Ember.

Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.

I’m really not sure what to write about this book. I didn’t hate it, hence the 3.5 stars, but I didn’t love it either. In the end, it all just got a little silly. I appreciate that Lina and Doon found the way out of Ember, but I refuse to believe that they were the only two citizens of Sparks who thought it may be beneficial to go back to there. Continue reading “The Diamond of Darkhold – Jeanne DuPrau”