ARC Review: Geekerella – Ashley Piston

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Release Date: April 4th 2017
Pages: 320
Publisher: Quirk Books
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

A sweet and funny retelling of Cinderella that I just adored from start to finish.

Synopsis:

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

 Review:

This is less likely to be a coherent review, and more likely to be a long rant about how much I loved this book. When I was growing up I loved the movie A Cinderella Story, which if you haven’t seen it is basically a modern retelling of Cinderella (the Disney version) in a modern way – the two characters are high school students who meet in an online college forum. If I thought I loved that movie, my love for this book is amplified a hundred times more.

Geekerella is sweet, funny, moving and just everything a story like this should be. The characters are wonderful – they’re real people dealing with real life situations. Elle has lost her father, she’s hoping to hold on to the memory of the one person she looked up to. Darien despite being famous is lonely, his fame alienating him from having any close relationships. The characters are fantastically written, and I loved them both so much.

The thing that makes Geekerella so special is the absolutely geekyness of it. There’s so many references to fandom culture – Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and everything in between, and each one of them Everyone has that one book series or television programme that they absolutely adore. For me it’s A Song of Ice and Fire, for Elle it’s Starfield – which if it was a real show I would totally watch. It’s wonderful to read a story set at a convention, something that is familiar and beloved of so many.

Geekerella takes a well known story and really puts a unique and charming spin on it. It definitely stands out from the many Cinderella retellings out there. It’s also geuninely funny, and has a really enjoyable absorbing plot. This book really speaks to all the geeks and fandom followers out there. I loved this book from start to finish, and now that I’m finished reading it I can of want to start from the beginning again.

*Also special mention to my favourite character Sage, who is just a total bad ass.


2016 Round Up – Favourite Reads!

This might be a little belated but seeing as the new year has started I thought I’d do a quite round up of my top 10 reads this year. So in no particular order:

278832141. Caraval – Stephanie Garber (coming January 31st 2017)
The magic and mystery of this absolutely gripped me. What’s real and what’s part of the game? I’m desperately waiting for book two in the series. Read my review of this gorgeous book here!


2. Frostblood – Elly Blake (coming January 10th 2017)27827203
Fire and ice have been at war for centuries, but with ice being the ruling class, Firebloods must fight to survive. Strong and firey Ruby swears revenge on the ice king and winds up getting a whole lot more in the bargain. This book is filled with action and magic. I absolutely loved it, and I just wanted to continue reading for ever and ever. Read my review of the stunning Frostblood here!

330201136. Geekerella – Ashley Piston (coming April 4th 2017)
When I was little I was absolutely obsessed with A Cinderella Story. A modern retelling of Cinderella with Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray as teenagers who meet on an online forum. Although it was good, Geekerella is a hundred times better. Elle is a massive Starfield fan who enters a cosplay contest. Darien is a young actor taking on the major role in the Starfield reboot, but what happens when their worlds collide? I love this book. It’s so geeky and wonderfu
l (so many references!) It made me laugh so many times and I can’t wait to share my review with you all!

4. The Witchfinder’s Sister – Beth Underdown (coming March 2nd 2017)31378911
This dark and compelling tale tells the story of Matthew Hopkins and his sister Alice. The story is a fictionalised account of the witch trials that resulted in the murder of one hundred and twenty seven women. The story is masterfully told, gripping you from start to finish. My review for this one will be coming soon, so stay tuned for that!

 307366775. What Alice Knew – T. A. Cotterell (released December 2016)
What would you do if you found one someone you loved committed a murder? How  far would you go to protect your family from the consequences of a single night? This taught thriller is wild ride, and was a big highlight of my 2016 books. You can read my full review of this one here!

6. The Outrun – Amy Liptrot (released January 2016)25351826
Right off the bat I’m going to say that I definitely don’t read enough non-fiction. So When I was asked to participate in a shadow panel for the non-fiction Saltire Society Awards, I absolutely jumped at the chance. There were some fabulous books, but this one was my favourite. Contrasting life as an alcoholic living in London with her childhood and current life in Orkney, The Outrun is a frank and beautiful piece of writing that has definitely encouraged me to pick up more non-fiction titles.

266254947. The Sleeping Prince – Melinda Salisbury (released May 2016)
I had never heard of The Sin Eater’s Daughter until I received an email asking if I’d like to participate in a blog tour for the second book in the series – The Sleeping Prince. I gave book one a whirl and absolutely fell in love. I devoured both The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince in days, and I’m so glad I got the chance to stumble upon this glorious series. I am now of course (not so) patiently waiting the release of Scarecrow Queen. You can read my review for The Sleeping Prince here!

8. The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johnanssen (released July 2014)18712887
My boyfriend picked this up for me in Waterstones, and what an excellent choice he made. Strong and powerful queens ruling the kingdom, magic, mystery, danger and a little spot of romance? It ticks all the boxes. There’s also an exciting movie soon to be released starring the wonderful Emma Watson, so now’s your chance to read it before the film! Review for this one also coming soon!

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9, A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnston (released October 2015)
This little beauty is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. Sporting an absolutely glorious cover, the book is beautifully written and I absolutely loved it from start to finish. You can read my review here or you can check out my interview with the lovely author herself, here!

10. The Study Series  – Maria V. Snyder (Dawn Study coming January 2017)16130759
This one is technically cheating because it is more than one book, but I just had to mention it. The Study series is one of my absolute favourites, and so with the release of Night Study in January 2016 I decided to reread the whole series. If you haven’t checked it out you absolutely have to. Yelena and Valek will forever be two of my favourite characters. Now with the next book in the series Dawn Study coming at the end of the month (look out of my stop on the blog tour coming early February) now is the perfect time to check out this wonderful series!

Honorable mentions also go to Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and The Blackout by Marc Elsberg. Thanks for checking out my top 10 reads, and here’s hoping 2017 brings just as many wonderful and exciting new books.  


Book Review: Blackout – Marc Elsberg

30840869Release Date: December 15th 2016
Publisher: Transworld Books
Pages: 437
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon

What would happen if half the world faced a power blackout?

Synopsis:

Tomorrow will be too late.

A cold night in Milan, Piero Manzano wants to get home. Then the traffic lights fail. Manzano is thrown from his Alfa as cars pile up. And not just on this street – every light in the city is dead.

Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electricity grids collapse. Plunged into darkness, people are freezing. Food and water supplies dry up. The death toll soars.

Former hacker and activist Manzano becomes a prime suspect. But he is also the only man capable of finding the real attackers. Can he bring down a major terrorist network before it’s too late?

Review:

Do you ever sit down and read a book and get so sucked in you’re not sure where you are or how many hours have passed when you finally put the book down? That’s how I felt reading Blackout. I’d sit down to read a chapter or two and get completely sucked in. This book is so intense and actually really frightening. Not in a spooky horror kind of way, but in the absolute believability of the story. Elsberg has put a tremendous amount of research into this book, and highlights just how easy it would be for half the world to descend into chaos without any power.

Blackout centres on several different characters and what they’re doing during the power outage. The chapters can be quite short, and so in the early chapters I got a bit confused with who was who, as it was frequently jumping between character points. As the story develops though the focus is on Manzano and his struggle to stop the world from completely deteriorating.

I really felt that Blackout was a study of people, and how they react in this kind of situation. You see those that try to do good, to help their friends, to ensure the safety of those around them, those that attempt to profit from such events by charging extortionate prices for essentials, and how far people will go to survive. This book is frightening, but in the most excellent way. It is easily one of my favourite books of 2016. It really made me thing, and I continued to think about it long after I’d put the book down. Blackout serves to highlight how much humanity relies on electricity and power to provide even the most basic human needs. Without power for fridges and freezers, food becomes scarce. Without power there is no water, no heating and no light. If you’re looking for something intense and gripping, Blackout will be absolutely up your street.


ARC Review: Frostblood – Elly Blake

31134210Series: Frostblood Saga – Book One
Release Date: January 12th 2017
Pages: 304
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Find It: Goodreads. Amazon.

In a world ruled by Frost, one young Fireblood will struggle to survive…

Synopsis:

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

Review:

I absolutely love this book! It’s pure action packed fantasy, and I was gripped from the very first page. Frostblood is the first in a new fantasy series, in which fire and ice are mortal enemies. This premise caught by eye right away, and it wound up being the perfect read during the icy winter break. Frostblood was such a fantastic, addictive read and it ended up being one of my favourite books of 2016.

The thing that truly makes the book are the characters. Ruby is such a wonderful protagonist. Strong and firey like her powers but also vulnerable and very human at the same time. She might have this amazing power, but she doesn’t transform into this all magical being overnight, she makes mistakes and doesn’t master every skill, making her a fascinating and believable character. I loved her, and seeing her struggle and fight to survive was a gripping and intense story. Similarly Arcus is a well fleshed out and fascinating character, sometimes cold and unyielding, but also loyal and determined. They both make for fascinating main characters, and were incredibly well written.

The story flows so well, and Blake takes the time to explain how the magic works, making the world feel so much more fleshed out. The romance is also so building, making it much more believable and satisfying when things start to happen. I loved every minute of Frostblood, the magic, the mystery and the danger. I have so many more things I want to know, and I really think this series will be a big hit. The only downside is that now I have to wait an eternity to read Fireblood to be released.


Blog Tour: What Alice Knew – T. A. Cotterell

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Author: T. A. Cotterell
Publisher: Black Swan
Release Date: April 20th 2017
Pages: 384
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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If someone you loved had a deadly secret, how far would you go to find out the truth?

Synopsis:

How far would you go to keep a secret?

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Review:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Welcome to the final stop on the What Alice Knew blog tour! This book is absolutely fantastic. It grips you from the beginning and keeps you thinking about it long after you’ve finished. This is one of those stories that really makes you think about how well you know someone. Alice thinks she knows Ed completely, there is nothing he could do that would surprise her. But after the events of one night, their lives are changed forever.

Alice is a protagonist of the story, and she’s the perfect character, partly because she’s so relatable. She’s a wife, mother, woman in her dream job. This story is so addictive because if things can so easily happen to her, couldn’t they happen to anyone?

This book is a psychological thriller at its very finest. I enjoyed this complex tale from start to finish. I came up with theories on my lunch break, only to have them destroyed by the time I read another chapter. I loved the way Cotterell examined things from different perspectives, you never just see one side of the story. The story revolves around one important premise. Should Alice stay with her husband, knowing his secret? Or should she leave, but destroy the lives of her children?

The writing is fantastic, the story is well thought out, and grips you instantly. The book is over three hundred pages, but I read it immensely quickly, partly because I was just so desperate to know how it was going to end.

This story is dark, intense and absolutely wonderful. On a cold winter night, this could be the perfect gripping story to keep you company.


Feature: December TBR!

It’s December already! How has it come around so quickly? With Christmas on it’s way my to be read this month is pretty ambitious. I’m hoping that with a break from University and work I might get through some more lovely books.

1. The Witch Finder’s Sister – Beth Underdown31378911
Release Date: March 2nd 2017

The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six…

1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she has no choice but to return to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witches, and of a great book, in which her brother is gathering women’s names.

To what lengths will her brother’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

This book came from the publisher with a beautifully fragrant lavender flower and a letter from Alice. I can’t wait to read this one. It sounds like it’s going to be one intense ride.

2. The Book of Mirrors  30755095– E. O. Chirovici
Release Date: February 21st 2017

When literary agent Peter Katz receives a partial book submission entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued by its promise and original voice. The author, Richard Flynn, has written a memoir about his time as an English student at Princeton in the late 1980s, documenting his relationship with the protégée of the famous Professor Joseph Wieder. One night just before Christmas 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home. The case was never solved. Now, twenty-five years later, Katz suspects that Richard Flynn is either using his book to confess to the murder, or to finally reveal who committed the violent crime.

But the manuscript ends abruptly—and its author is dying in the hospital with the missing pages nowhere to be found. Hell-bent on getting to the bottom of the story, Katz hires investigative journalist John Keller to research the murder and reconstruct the events for a true crime version of the memoir. Keller tracks down several of the mysterious key players, including retired police detective Roy Freeman, one of the original investigators assigned to the murder case, but he has just been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Inspired by John Keller’s investigation, he decides to try and solve the case once and for all, before he starts losing control of his mind. A trip to the Potosi Correctional Centre in Missouri, several interviews, and some ingenious police work finally lead him to a truth that has been buried for over two decades…or has it?

This book just sounds so fabulous! I feel like I might fly through this one, because it will be just so gripping. Definitely going to be looking around my shoulder when reading this one.

278272033. Frost Blood – Elly Blake
Release Date: 10th January 2017

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Nothing like some fast paced YA fantasy for this wintery season! Can’t wait to dive into this – I think it might be my first read this month.

4. This Is30809345 How It Always Is – Laurie Frankel
Release Date: 9th February 2017

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bitter sweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently.

I keep hearing such wonderful things about this book. Think it will be the perfect warm and touching book for the Christmas season. ~

So that’s my round up of December TBR list! Have you read any of these yet? What did you think? And what lovely books are you reading over the Christmas holidays?


Book Review: Grief is the Thing with Feathers – Max Porter

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Author: Max Porter
Release Date: 25th August 2016
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Pages: 114
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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Synopsis:

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

Review:

This is probably the most unusual book I’ve read in 2016. Even after finishing it days ago I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Part fiction, part poetry and a few other things in between, this story is one that definitely sticks with you. The story surrounds a young family after the sudden death of their mother and wife. They cannot function without her and are overcome with grief. As a result of this a crow enters, becoming their counsellor and helper to piece the family back together.

The story is told from different perspectives – sometimes the dad, sometimes the kids and of course the crow. It is a fascinating look at how grief can affect people differently. The crow ultimately helps them to being to piece themselves back together before flying off and leaving them to continue on with their lives. This book is a short one, only one hundred and fourteen pages, but it feels like there is so much contained in such a short book. It’s difficult to even explain a little bit what this book is like. It’s wonderfully written, unique and beautiful.

This review will not remotely do this book justice. It’s dark and compelling, the crow is particularly fascinating – how he finds human’s dull except when they are grieving – and is such an interesting and poignant look at how grief can affect someone. Taken from the Emily Dickinson poem “Hope is a thing with feathers” this book is experimental, and doesn’t sugar coat the harsh realities of dealing with the loss of a loved one.


ARC Review: The Visitor – Christopher Chase Walker

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Release Date: November 25th 2016
Publisher: Cosmic Egg Books
Pages: 88
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon. 

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*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

The strange and mysterious story of what happens when a stranger comes to town…

Synopsis:

Satan, in the form of a bewildered and naked old man, arrives in Brighton one dark and snowy December morning. That night a gull kills itself trying to get at Lucy Cuthman, a charity worker in her early 30s, through her bedroom window. A thick fog descends over the city – and lingers. The Old Man is twice attacked on the streets, before finding the squat where Geoffrey Cantor, our cultured and Byron-quoting narrator, lives. The Old Man discovers he has a mesmeric singing voice, and starts to busk around Brighton. He attracts the attention of Lucy, who is so diabolically enchanted that she can only see him as a beautiful young boy in need of help. In this guise, the Old Man visits her at work one evening – and promptly disappears. Hopelessly beguiled, Lucy searches everywhere for him. Meanwhile, mysterious bundles of money start turning up at her charity.

Review:

I found this short little book a quick and interesting read, full of dark and unsettling imagery. It is very beautifully written – the prose is really outstanding, conjuring up some really powerful scenes. In the beginning  I struggled a little to understand what was going on, it is made entirely clear who the narrator is, or who he is telling the story to. I feel if this had been more clearly outlined, I would have enjoyed the story more. The story is in many ways is a modern day take on the fall of Eve, and the seductive nature of Satan.

Interestingly the book is set in Brighton, and having been there a few times, it makes for an interesting read with the familiar location and the tense and unusual story. I did find it a little difficult to connect with the characters, though I found Lucy to be the most interesting. The story has some really wonderful tense scenes – the one where a seagull attempts to break through the skylight window in attempt to reach Lucy, and her first encounter with the Old Man were two particularly fantastic scenes, the writing and pace of the story being absolutely excellent. The style of writing fits extremely well with the story, and flows very easily.

This was a really unique little read, and with it being only around eighty pages, it’s certainly a quick read and one you will easily be absorbed into on a dark winter night like tonight.

 

 


ARC Review: Caraval – Stephanie Garber

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Series: Untitled – Book One
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Pages: 401
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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A gorgeously written story of magic and mystery that I absolutely adored.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis:

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Review:

This has got to be one of my favourite books that I’ve read in 2016. It’s a fantastic story and one that sucks you from the outset. I spent a long time reading Caraval, not because it was a hard read but because the story is written so beautifully, the settings so richly depicted that I wanted to savour it, to take time over such a wonderful book.

The plot is fantastic and has so many layers to it, Scarlett and her upcoming nuptials, the game of Caraval, who Master Legend is, what Julian wants. There were so many things going on, it’s a complex and intense ride, and one that grips you right until the very last page.

I loved the way everything was described with colours, the prose is so beautiful and well done. This is the kind of book that once you’ve finished reading, you want to return to page one and start all over again. I feel like I could read it again and notice things I missed the first time round, because it’s just such a wonderful and complex story.  The magic is electric, it lures you in, and I found myself sitting down to read a chapter or two and still being there, completely absorbed hours later.

The world building is excellent, the story feels real and exciting, the characters are likewise all interesting and well built. Our main character Scarlett is a really interesting one. She isn’t just the simply pretty young heroine of many books, she’s complex and damaged and makes for a really wonderful protagonist.

I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about this book, it was truly superb and I loved reading it. I think it will definitely be a big hit when it is released in 2017, and I am fiercely looking forward to a second book in the series.


Book Review: Sleepers – Megg Jensen

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Series: The Swarm Trilogy – Book One
Release Date: July 20th 2011
Publisher: DarkSide Publishing
Pages: 227
Find it: Goodreads. Amazon.

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An interesting fantasy series full of magic and politics.

Synopsis:

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she’s filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?
Review

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

This is the first book in a three part series entitled The Swarm. Sleepers follows the story of a young girl named Lianne, taken from her homeland at birth to be a servant to the queen. On her birthday she becomes ‘activated’ meaning she can access her magic, and the rage she feels to the conquering kingdom.

This was a quick and interesting little tale full of magic and drama. I really enjoyed a lot of the political aspects of the novel, how the adopted children are made to belief that their home country is thankful for the invasion that came upon them. The idea of magic being bled from the country, to stop them rising up again. There are quite a few surprising twists and turns that keep the story going, although personally I felt it was a little too fast paced for my liking. At only just over two hundred pages, I would have liked to slow the story down a bit, and get to know the characters a bit more.

Lianne is a good protagonist, she’s likeable and being inside her head means we get an in depth view of what life is like as a stranger in a new kingdom. Her love interests are two completely different, although somewhat predictable characters, the quiet and shy Bryden  versus the more angry and outspoken Kellan.

I struggled a little with the world building in this story. It might be because it is so fast paced, but I felt very little got explained, and no resolutions came by the end of the book. More might be explained in book two,  but I found this a little off putting. It is an enjoyable fantasy story, with plenty of romance if you’re looking for that kind of thing, but for me it was a fairly bog standard story.

The Swarm trilogy does seem to have lots of potential, I think only a very small part of this world and story has been revealed in Sleepers, and I’m looking forward to reading book two and three, to see what happens to Lianne and her friends.


Book Review: A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnston

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Release Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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A beautiful and engrossing story that I absolutely would read again!

Synopsis:

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster

Review:

A Thousand Nights is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, a book which I didn’t know very much about. This is not the only retelling that has been released in the last year, with The Wrath & the Dawn also following a similar storyline. One of the things that initally caught my eye was the stunning cover, it immediately drew me in, and the synopsis made me incredibly eager to read the book. I whizzed through it in a couple of days, and it’s a particularly enjoyable story.

The descriptions of the desert and the city are excellent within the novel. I loved the water garden which the main protagonist spends a lot of time in, I really felt that it came alive. One issue I had with the story is the lack of character names – we never learn the protagonist’s name, and her family are just referred to as her sister or her mother etc. which became a little frustrating. Despite that I absolutely loved the main character, she’s fascinating and brave, and sacrifices herself for the good of her family.

The plot was a bit slower paced that I expected it to be, but I think that fit the story very well and made for a much more effective ending. I loved the magic in the story, which was just so fascinating and made the story particularly gripping. There isn’t much in the way of romance in the story, which I found quite refreshing as so many young adult tales focus so much on the romance element. The story certainly highlights female empowerment, something that isn’t often the case for this kind of story. If you’ve read One thousand and One Nights or are looking for a fairy tale with a bit of a twist, A Thousand Nights should definitely be on your reading list.

 

 


Blog Tour: Crush – Eve Ainsworth

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Release Date: March 3rd 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 288
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

A dark and compelling novel about what it means to be in control…

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Synopsis:

Love hurts … but should it hurt this much? Reeling from her mum’s sudden departure, Anna finds the comfort she needs in her blossoming relationship with Will. He’s handsome and loving, everything Anna has always dreamt of. He’s also moody and unpredictable, pushing her away from her friends, her music. He wants her to be his and his alone. He wants her to be perfect. Anna’s world is closing in. But threatening CRUSH-BLOG-TOUR-03everything is a dark secret that not even Will can control… Eve Ainsworth’s gripping second novel is a pitch-perfect exploration of love at its most powerful, addictive and destructive.

Review:

Welcome to the blog tour for Crush by Eve Ainsworth, run by the lovely Faye Rogers PR! This novel is a dark and gripping one, and is something that I enjoyed immensely. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy fiction so it was nice to take a step back from dragons and magic, and read about something real. Because that’s exactly what this story is about, people living in the real world, coping with life’s problems –  Anna’s mum has walked out on her family – and what happens in an abusive relationship. This is by no means a light and fun read, but it’s engaging, moving and a well thought out story.

The whole novel is paced very well, the relationship between Anna and Will unfolds very naturally, and it doesn’t feel rushed like many novels which focus on the relationship between two people. The book is very well written and makes a subject which people would find uncomfortable to read about, one that is much more approachable. I  think that one of the most interesting things about this book is that it highlights that not everything is black and white. Your perspective of a relationship is only one side of the coin, and what motives a person to do what they do isn’t always what you think it will be. It’s a fascinating look into humanity and relationships.

If you’re looking for some realist fiction –  something that feels so genuine that I wouldn’t be surprised to find Will and Anna were real people – then Crush could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s not the easiest subject choice, but it’s an addictive read that’s well worth the time it takes to read it.

Thanks for checking out my post on the Crush tour, and be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the banner!


Blog Tour: The Sleeping Prince – Melinda Sailsbury

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Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter- Book Two
Release Date: 4th February 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 336
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

Book two of The Sin Eater’s Daughter is even more intense and exciting than the first!

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Synopsis:

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save
her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
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Review:

Welcome to the blog tour for The Sleeping Prince, run by the lovely Faye Rogers PR! This series is gearing up to be one of my absolute favourites. If you loved The Sin Eater’s Daughter, you’re definitely going to want to read this. Just as dark and exciting as the previous book, The Sleeping Prince will leave you hungry for more. Just like the previous book in the series, it grips you from page one, and absolutely does not let you go
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This helping features a new set of characters, but still has all the fantastic plot vehicles that we’ve come to expect. Full of surprising twists and turns, the cliff hanger a the end of the novel is going to leave you desperate for the next book in the series. The new protagonist Errin is a fascinating one, and one that I think is much more likeable that Twylla. I really enjoyed being inside her head and looking at things from her perspective. The Sleeping Prince is also a fantastic character, he’s twisted and dark and everything a villain should be. Can I also point out how much I love the covers for this series? They’re absolutely beautiful and so eye catching, love them!

The simple way to sum up The Sleeping Prince is just that it’s a pleasure to read. It has everything you could possibly ask for – and so much more. It’s well written, has plenty of murder, mystery and excitement. I absolutely love all the folklore and world building in this series. It’s dark, gripping and just a wonderful wonderful story. If you’re looking for an addictive fantasy series, The Sin Eater’s Daughter is just what you’ve been looking for. Once you’ve raced through The Sleeping Prince – which you absolutely will, I devoured it in a few sittings – your only problem will be waiting for the final instalment!

Thanks for checking out my stop on the tour, be sure to check out the rest of the schedule too!


Blog Tour: The Memory of Light – Francisco X. Stork

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Release Date: January 26, 2016
Pages: 336
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: She can’t even commit suicide right. But for once, a mistake works out well for her, as she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.

But Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide, Vicky must try to find the strength to carry on. She may not have it. She doesn’t know.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one — about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? Now read Francisco’s guest post about the difficulties with writing about mental health!

The hardest thing about writing fiction with characters that have a mental illness is the craftsmanship necessary to make the story interesting and hopeful. Mental illness, when it is realistically portrayed, is not a pretty thing to watch and persons with mental illness are not very attractive. So it takes a lot of very careful thinking, imagining and writing to create characters that are engaging and that inspire the reader to get to know them and even to care for them and love them.

The writing of The Memory of Light took a long time (four years) because I had to make sure that Vicky (the main character) had the right voice and that her thoughts and feelings and actions were an accurate reflection of her illness but also energetic and upbeat and even funny at times. It was also important to show that in some way the issues that mentally ill people deal with are issues that affect all of us in some way. The lack of meaning and purpose in life that affect a person with depression can affect all of us.


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Francisco X. Stork is the author of the acclaimed Marcelo in the Real World which received five starred reviews and won the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, named a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection; and Irises. He was born in Monterrey, Mexico, spent his teenage years in El Paso, Texas, and now lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, with his family. Visit him online at www.FranciscoStork.com.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Thank you for checking out my stop on The Memory of Light blog tour, run by the lovely Rock Star Book Tours! Make sure you check out the rest of the stops (you can see the schedule by clicking the banner below.) As part of this tour there’s also a fantastic give away of five finished copies of the book, click here to enter!

The Memory of Light


Blog Tour: Night Study – Maria V. Snyder 4

16130759Series: Soulfinders – Book Two
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Publisher: Mira
Pages: 448
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

Maria V. Snyder’s newest novel will leave you on the edge of your seat.

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Synopsis:

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her any more. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realize it’s far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Review:

Welcome to the blog tour for Night Study, run by the wonderful Rock Star Book Tours! I think I must be beginning to sound like a broken record, but Maria V. Snyder’s novels are completely astounding. Picking up right where Shadow Study finishes, the latest helping in the Soulfinders series is gripping, intense and everything Yelena Zaltana fans could possibly wish for.

The story is intense, full of the magic and adventure that we’ve come to associate with the Study series. I love the different points of view in the novel. Not only do we get Yelena’s perspective, but Valek’s and Janco’s as well. It’s great to enter the heads of characters I’ve loved for so long. Yelena as always is stubborn, determined and an absolutely wonderful character.

There’s a rich amount of magic in Night Study, and something I absolutely adore about this series is the amount of detail Snyder puts into the magic as well as the detailed history of both Ixia and Sitia. After waiting so many months for the release of the novel. it’s wonderful to catch up with all the wonderful characters in Snyder’s series.

There’s lots of romance in this helping from the series. The relationship between Valek and Yelena is such a fascinating one, and they are one hell of a power couple. It’s great to see them working together in Night Study, which doesn’t happen all that often in previous novels.  I don’t want to say too much about the plot – it’s definitely a book you want to enjoy spoiler free – I’ll just say that it’s exciting and wonderfully written. There’s a few surprises, plenty of drama and action as well as a lot more in between.  If you enjoyed Shadow Study, you are not going to be disappointed.

About Maria:

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes atMaria the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.

Maria’s research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: maria@mariavsnyder.com.

Where you can find Maria:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads

Thank you for checking out my stop on the Night Study blog tour, make sure you check out the other stops on the tour for interviews and loads of other great posts. (Just click the banner below to find the schedule!) As part of this fantastic tour there is also a give away of the novel: six US winners with receive a copy as well as four international winners, good luck! Enter here!

Night Study