Audiobooks · Books · Review

Mini Audiobook Review: Empress and Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams

Audible Plus Free Audiobooks | Brian's Book Blog | Week of October 10th


When Empress starts at Aniya’s school, they’re not exactly best friends. But, when the two teenage girls accidentally cast a spell on their 16th birthday and end up switching bodies, they quickly learn that friendship is the most important magic of all.

South London’s answer to Freaky Friday, Empress & Aniya is a moving portrayal of the importance of real friendship and the ups and downs of being a teenager.

My thoughts:

It’s a quick easy read/listen, I really enjoyed listening to it. The story is about friendship – such a nice thing to see! No romance just pure platonic love! We definitely need more friendship based YA stories.

I like the magical, body switch element – it was interesting to see the girls from two completely different backgrounds be thrown into the others’.

Is it basically just Freaky Friday? Yeah, but I loved it!

It did touch on heavier topics such as class, poverty and parental relationships. The way Empress and Aniya live was an interesting juxtaposition. Aniya is from a wealthy family and has never wanted for anything. Empress is from a poor background with a mother who is rarely present.

The narrator was really good, really brought the characters to life and was a joy to listen to! I binged the whole thing. It’s very short but punchy. Highly recommend grabbing the audiobook, it’s available on the Audible Plus catalogue if you subscribe.

Rating: 4.5-5 Stars
I can’t really fault it, I have nothing bad to say!

Books · Review

Book Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea eBook : Oh, Axie: Kindle Store

Goodreads Synopsis:

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…

My thoughts:

After reading and enjoying XOXO by Axie Oh last year, I just knew when this book was announced I had to read it. It’s a YA fantasy inspired by Asian (specifically Korean) mythology! It’s also a retelling of the Korean tale of Shim Chong – which I’m not familiar with but very happy to be introduced to!

From what I’ve read about Shim Chong – this was an interesting mix of the tale and Axie Oh’s original ideas. I can’t speak on the faithfulness nor accuracy, as I said I wasn’t familiar prior to picking up this novel.

The novel is also described as being similar to Spirited Away, I haven’t seen that film since I was a child, so cannot comment on that aspect either. Both deal with a character being thrown into the spirit realm, so I kinda see the comparison. I guess it’s time for a Spirited Away rewatch!

The writing was so beautiful.
It almost reads like a fairytale, it’s very magical and pretty. Everything about the story was stunningly written. I thought the characters were all well written and I enjoyed Mina as a protagonist, I just kind of wish there was more backstory for Mina.

We jumped straight into the plot – which I like if the story is going to be fast-paced. This, however, was a tad on the slow side, to begin with. The pacing was a bit all over the place, one of the few faults. Some parts were pretty slow and some over too quickly.

The romance, I really enjoyed. Subtle and not overbearing, it was very sweet and wholesome. A little slow burn, which is my favourite, I’m not the biggest fan of instalove. It also didn’t take up the whole plot – it definitely takes the back seat for the majority of the novel.

Part of me is happy it’s a standalone, due to the lack of commitment but it was so good I wish there were more. However, the story wrapped up so perfectly, it was a joy!

I look forward to reading more from Axie Oh in the future.

Rating: 4 Stars

*Book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for a review.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is out Feb 22nd!


January Wrap Up | 2022

Hey everyone!

Can’t believe we’re already done with the first month of the year!
Time flies.

I had a really good reading month in January, pretty much loved everything I read (apart from one). I mostly listened to audiobooks, which I’ve missed doing! I didn’t read a single physical book (whoops).

The first book I read was The Girl Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh | Waterstones

I loved this! It was such a lovely fairytale-esque read.
I gave it 4 Stars
Will have a full review up soon!
*Netgalley arc

Next I listened to Empress and Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams

Empress & Aniya Audiobook | Candice Carty-Williams |

This was such a fun, freaky Friday retelling about friendship!
It also deals with some deep issues like race and class, which were dealt with amazingly.
I gave this 5 Stars

Another audiobook, Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades Audiobook | Marissa Meyer |

Omg loved this so much!
Marissa Meyer never misses.
I gave this 4 Stars

Clap Back by Nalo Hopkinson

Clap Back Audiobook | Nalo Hopkinson |

This wasn’t my favourite. I think because it was so short I didn’t really ever get invested and it was over in a snap. Has some interesting concepts and themes, wish it were longer and more developed.
Also, the narrator wasn’t the best for this one, which I think detracts from the story.
I gave this 2 Stars

The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed The Annual Migration of Clouds (Audible Audio Edition): Premee  Mohamed, Eva Tavares, ECW Press: Audible Books & Originals

My last book of January was this audiobook.
This was super fascinating, I loved the concepts and ideas here. I just wish there were more! The story was short but impactful – could’ve made a wonderful full novel.
I gave this 4 Stars
*Gifted by

Reading Goal Update : 5/70

What did you read in January?