Feature: Liebster Award

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The lovely Katie at KatieJudgesBooks nominated me to do the Liebster Award Tag. I’ve never done this before so thank you so much Katie!

The rules

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Nominate 11 blogs.
4. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Katie’s Questions

1) Why and how did you start blogging?

I started blogging after attending my first ever WorldCon in London. I met lots of lovely publishers and they gave me proof copies of some of my favourite authors and suggested I try reviewing them, especially if I wanted to work in the publishing industry. I figured I would give it a go and I got hooked. After taking a year or two out of doing it, I’m back to blogging as much as possible.

2) Does it ever feel like work and how do you juggle all the other responsibilities?
I think if you have a lot on it really can be difficult. When I was studying I definitely found it difficult to juggle blogging, working and studying. If you’re passionate about it though you should stick with it!

3) Do you ever connect with authors/chat with them?
Sometimes, I’ve started to try and participate in the Twitter Chats hosted online, these are really fun and there’s usually plenty of authors taking part.

4) Do you like writing reviews and what do you do when you have to write a bad review?
I always find it difficult to write a bad review. I think you have to be really careful and make sure that your review is constructive, no matter if you loved or hated the book. Writing reviews that just slate a book are no use to anybody. I love writing reviews for books I absolutely adored, although they quickly become a two page rant on how awesome it was.

5) Do you do tags and all these things or do you just post reviews?
I try to do book hauls and discussion type posts every now and then, as well as guest post and author reviews. I haven’t really done any tags, but I definitely want to do more.

6) Do you schedule your posts in advance or just go with it and try to post as regularly as possible?
I schedule posts if I have an agreed date i.e a blog tour or a particular date a review needs to go up, otherwise I just try and post a few times every week.

7) Do all your friends read or are you friends with people who do not read?
Actually most of my friends aren’t big readers, I have one or two who are crazy bookworms which is great, but it’s nice to have friends with other interests too.

8) What do you feel like when watching the movie/series not following the book?
I used to get quite upset about this., I was always the sort of person that would be like “but that’s not in the book!” but then I did a module at university on books and adaptation, and my lecturer talked a lot about how the two mediums are completely different things, there are plenty of reasons that things from books get changed – it might not translate, it doesn’t go with the flow of the film, budget reasons etc. She suggested that if you take them as two completely separate things, you’ll enjoy it a lot more in the long run.

9) Your favourite book at any point of life?
Oh goodness. I have so many books that I love. My favourite book is still probably The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read it when I was younger and adored it, and I’ve read it countless times since. I also hold a special place for George R. R. Martin’s books, particularly Fevre Dream and the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I also pretty much adore anything by Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas.

10) Do you stick to one genre or do you read diverse books?
I do try and read diversely but I don’t think I’m very good at that. I love fantasy and science fiction books, so I tend to gravitate towards them, whether they’re adult or young adult doesn’t really bother me. I am also a big fan of historical fiction, crime thrillers and literary fiction, but I tend not to read them as often as I do fantasy books.

11) Did you like the books you had to read in school or not?
It’s funny because my English teacher at school estimated that I would probably fail at Higher (GCSE) level. I loved books, but not particularly the ones we studied in school. I loved Macbeth, but was never a fan books like To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies. Now as a grown up I love both of those books, and I got an A in English, so what did he know!

My 11 questions are:

1. What is your favourite thing about being a blogger?
2. Is there anything in particular that got you into blogging?
3. Do you attend author events? If so which authors have you met?
4. You’re stranded on a desert island with only three books. What do you take?
5. How do you keep track of your review books, do you have a schedule or just pick them up as you see them?
6. Who are your favourite book bloggers to read reviews from?
7. You’re having a dinner party, which authors do you invite?
8. What’s the best book (or books) you’ve read so far in 2017?
9. Do you take part in the Goodreads Challenge? How many books have you set yourself and are you on track?
10. What’s one book everyone seems to love but you just didn’t like?
11. What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation?

So I’d like to nominate these lovely bloggers, (I totally apologise if you’ve done this tag already!)

Grace @ City of Novels
Faye @ A Day Dreamers Thoughts
Abby @ Anne Bonny Reviews
Jo @ Over the Rainbow
Tiffani @ The Book Venom
Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek
The Maniacal Book Unicorn
Vanessa @ Postcards for Ariel
Nicola @ Fantastic Book Dragon
Chloe @ Chloe’s Cosy Corner
Rae @ A New Look On Books


Guest Post: Claire McFall

What Inspires Me

I talk a lot about finding inspiration for stories when I go out to schools and libraries and Ferryman_RGBtalk to you readers. The key thing I tell them is that inspiration can come from anywhere. Ferryman was inspired by a strange dream and the landscape I had to drive through on my long commute to school every day. Bombmaker was sparked by a Clive Owen film I saw called Children of Men. And Black Cairn Point was inspired by a camping trip my husband took me on. (What about Trespassers? Well… it was inspired by Ferryman! ) My point is, you can get that jolt of inspiration from anywhere and anything and anyone.

Other stories and other writers are definitely a source of inspiration.

One of the writers I admire the most is Malorie Blackman. I’ve talked before about how much I love Noughts & Crosses (Oh Callum, sigh), but that book is actually the start of a four-book series. Across the four books, Malorie Blackman manages to weave in a seamless development in the society the book is set in – where white people are the underclass and black people hold all the wealth and power – until, by the end of the fourth book, you can see real progress towards equality. This theme runs beautifully under four really exciting stories. It’s so clever.

A question I’m asked quite frequently whenever I do writer interviews is what book do you wish you’d written? The answer to that is Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip. It was a finalist in the Scottish Children’s Book Awards in 2010/2011 and I read it when I was taking part in the awards with one of my classes. It didn’t win in the end, but I loved it. The main character is a boy called Nick Geddes and he’s a bit of a bad lad. Not underneath, but no one really gets to see that. Male leads in YA fiction are much less Trespassers_RGBcommon, but what struck me was just how real the main character was – I could see echoes of lots of the boys I taught in his supposed hard-man manner. He was a thug with a heart and I loved him. I wish I’d created him.

Lastly, writers I really admire are those who can create a whole new world for me to enter. I read a lot of fantasy because I like escaping somewhere completely different. The best writers create not just people and places, but rich cultures that make the story seems so believable, I can imagine this world really does exist. The most famous example is J. R. R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, but more recently George R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has come to the fore. I also love The Iron Seas books by Meljean Brooks (adult content alert!) which are steampunk and so cool. Graceling by Kristin Cashore is another good (much more YA!) example. I’d love to have a go at high fantasy – creating my own world – someday, but I worry that I’ll struggle to think outside the box, that our world will be too ingrained in my head. I’m waiting for a really cool idea to strike, then I’m going to have a bash. Because you should always attempt something that scares you – otherwise how would you grow?

ClaireMcFallClaire McFall is a writer and a teacher who lives and works in the Scottish Borders. She is the author of paranormal thriller Black Cairn Point, winner of the inaugural Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2017. Her debut novel Ferryman won a Scottish Children’s Book Award, and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Branford Boase award. Her other books include dystopian thriller Bombmaker. Trespassers, the much-anticipated sequel to Ferryman, will be published on 14th September 2017.

 

Thanks so much to Claire for her fabulous guest post, and check back next week for a review of the stunning Ferryman!


Blog Tour: The Final Correction – Alec Birri

 

Release Date: July 28th 2017
Publisher: Troubadour Publishing
Pages: 273
Find it On: Amazon. Goodreads
Source: I was kindly sent a copy of this book by Bookollective for this blog tour.

Synopsis:

What if all brain disorders were treatable? No one would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex-offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be ‘corrected’?

So, Professor Savage has been unmasked as the monster Alex Salib always knew he was. But what was their agreement and why is she still determined to see it through? The war on terror appears to be back on track but why does President Kalten seem hell bent on ramping it up – are the Americans seriously intent on starting World War Three?

And what of the treatment itself? Despite Savage’s arrest, the ‘corrections’ go on but to what end? The laws of unintended consequences are about to cause a seismic shift in the very nature of our existence. But then our new masters know that and won’t let it happen until we’re ready…
…Ready to accept the unacceptable.

Review:

Welcome to my stop on The Final Correction blog tour, run by the lovely folks over at Bookollective! The Final Correction is the third book in the Condition series, ending a trilogy of mysterious medical thrillers. I really loved the premise, the idea that brain disorders were treatable. But it’s so much more than just treating brain disorders, those with thoughts that are not what society wants them to be – murderers, those with extreme views, their ‘brain disorders’ can also be treated. I think with the advancement of technology and how rapidly medicine is advancing this is quite a realistic premise, and as a result that made the book even more enjoyable because it felt infinitely possible.

As stated this is the third book in the series. I haven’t personally read the other two books, and this one can be read as a stand alone. After having read the book I do feel like I’d like to go back and read books one and two, because although I enjoyed the story I felt there were some things I had missed out on in the first parts of the series.

The one thing about this book is that it constantly surprised me. Just when I thought I knew where things were headed, they twisted off in another direction. It’s a really enjoyable story, and the more you read the more intrigued you get – as the reader you definitely want to know more. The book is well written and paced excellently, giving the reader time to comprehend the multi-layered plot that is going on. Although there aren’t too many characters, they are very well portrayed, showing plenty of depth and emotion.

After finishing the book I went to do a little research before I wrote my blog post and was stunned to find that this series is actually based on the authors own experience in command of a top secret government organisation. For me this made the book all the more frightening and realistic. If that doesn’t give you food for thought, I don’t know what will!

Thanks for checking out my stop on The Final Correction blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops listed on the banner above! 


Book Review: Dragon’s Green – Scarlett Thomas

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Release Date: 6th April 2017
Publisher: Canongate
Pages: 354
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads. 
Source: Canongate kindly gave me a copy of this book to read.

Synopsis:

Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin (although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it). After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life.

Now, Effie and her friends—nerdy Maximilian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven—must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, where she will uncover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green

Review:

Going into this book I hadn’t read anything by Scarlett Thomas before. I own a couple of her books for adults, but they are on my never ending to be read pile at the moment. I have a few friends who absolutely adore her books, so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into Dragon’s Green, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Dragon’s Green is the first book in the Worldquake Sequence. A series which children and adults alike are just going to adore. The book is packed full of magic and excitement, and I adored it from start to finish. This book reminded me of so many books I’ve read as a child, and I really didn’t want it to end. It’s beautifully written in a smart and witty way, and the characters really leap off the page. Our main protagonist Effie is razor sharp, and a true hero.

The world building is also absolutely superb, there’s magic and monsters (and even a dragon) but all the little details are there too – M Currency and portals to the Otherworld are all richly described to really immerse the reader in this fantastic setting. This is the kind of book I would read again and again, and definitely pass on to my children. I also adored that gorgeous glow in the dark cover, it really gives you a glimpse into the exciting story within. I for one am now very much looking forward to seeing where The WorldQuake Sequence goes next, and am definitely going to be diving into Scarlett Thomas’s adult books too.

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Feature: Interview with Charlie Laidlaw

Check out our interview with author Charlie Laidlaw, all about his book The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, and the inspiration for it.

Tell us about your books:

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I’m the author of two novels, The Herbal Detective (Ringwood Publishing) and The Things We Learn When We’re Dead (Accent Press). Assuming we don’t experience nuclear Armageddon in the immediate future, and I’m not betting against it, a third novel, Darker Matters, is due to be published by Accent Press in January 2018.

A little bit about yourself:

I was born and brought up in central Scotland and am a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then but, craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian. And that’s about it.

What is The Things We Learn When We’re Dead about:

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a modern fairytale of love and loss. It’s about the subtle ways in which we change, and how the small decisions that we make can have profound and unintended consequences.

On one level, the book is a simple story of a young woman’s life. But, for those readers who want to make the connection, The Things We Learn is also a retelling of The Wizard of Oz: how a young woman in ultimately tragic circumstances comes to reassess her life and find a new beginning.

But don’t worry: most readers won’t make the Wizard of Oz allusion, so it’s not as wacky as it sounds!

Why the Wizard of Oz?

The book is about second chances – a young woman looking back at her life, and realising what he really has, and who she really is. That theme has been written a million times before and is universal and timeless.

The simple truism is that every piece of fiction being written now has already been written many times before – mainly by Shakespeare, although he also leaned heavily on much older sources.26790464
It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing about love, war, betrayal, death, marriage, alien invasion or the zombie apocalypse, a lot of other novelists have already been there, done that and got the T-shirt.

In that sense, “no place like home” isn’t just a physical place but a state of mind. In thinking the plot through, I realised I could either do what other authors have done and ignore the Oz link or, in my own way, celebrate it. I chose the latter.

What were some of the things that inspired you?

Somerset Maugham once remarked that “there are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” For me, that pretty much sums up what it’s like to write a novel. I really do struggle for inspiration.

But the idea for The Things We Learn was different. It came to me on a train from Edinburgh to London and so powerful was the initial idea that I hoped that the train would break down, or for spontaneous industrial action by the train crew.

I was therefore disappointed when the train pulled into King’s Cross, regrettably on time, but I did have the outline of a narrative – and, more importantly, a first and last chapter. The first chapter has changed out of all recognition, but the final chapter is still much as I first wrote it.

What was the first book that really inspired you?

The first semi-grown-up book that made a mark on me was Jennie by Paul Gallico. The central character is a small boy who is transformed into a cat. It echoed an Alice in Wonderland madness, but with adult themes. It was the first book I read that dealt with death and loss.

What are some of your favourite books now?CL bandw

I only really read contemporary literary fiction, so I must be a bit dull. But I do like books with a distinctive narrative voice – for example, The Last Family in England by Matt Haig, as narrated by a Labrador called Prince. Or Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, written by a teenager suffering from Asperger’s.

Or, even more recently, Anatomy of A soldier by Harry Parker, about a British soldier horrifically injured in Afghanistan. The impact of the book comes from a shifting narrative that is recounted by the inanimate objects that surround him – from a battery to a bullet, from a medical swab to a military drone. The overall effect is both distancing and weirdly intimate.

What advice would you give to other writers?

As a writer, I suppose you have to be a reader, and by a strange process of osmosis you do slowly absorb other authors’ wisdom – how to structure a book, how to create good dialogue and narrative, and pace and context.

Also, try to have a support structure around you: p

What’s next?

That’s entitled Darker Matters and is being published by Accent Press in January next year. It’s about love, loss and is, at least partly, a satire on the unexpected consequences of celebrity. It’s a dark comedy, I suppose, but I hope the smiles far outnumber any tears!

www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

Thanks so much for checking out this interview with Charlie. Also take a look at this fab video trailer for The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, available here!


Reading Challenge: The Reading Quest

So I’ve seen lots of people signing up on Twitter to do a month long readathon called The Reading Quest. It’s basically a fun video game style quest to conquer your TBR pile! Now that my dissertation is almost finished and I’m hoping to have lots more time to read, I thought this would be a fantastic way to kick things off. All the information is available on Aentee’s blog Read at Midnight. There is a point system involved, explained in the link there, which I will try and follow, but I’m mainly hoping to make a bit of a dent in my TBR over the next few weeks!

(Also all the beautiful graphics for this were done by CW of Read, Think and Ponder. They’re so stunning!)

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These are the four different character class options, and sticking with the video game theme I’m going to go for the Mage option, because that’s what I usually pick for games.

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So here are the books that I am going to try and tackle during this challenge. I’ve only chosen the books for the mage quests just now, if I manage to get any further I will add the others in later. This is the first reading challenge I’ve ever signed up to, so fingers crossed I don’t fall at the first hurdle!

1. A Book With A One Word Title: Carnivore – Jonathan Lyon
2. A Book That Contains Magic: Roar – Cora McCormack
3. A Book Based On Mythology: Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
4. A Book Set In A Different World: Everless – Sara Holland
5. The First Book In A Series: Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Some of these are books I’ve wanted to read for ages, and a few are from my current review pile. Will update as time goes on, but here goes!


Book Review: First Love – Gwendoline Riley

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Release Date: 2nd February 2017
Publisher: Granta
Pages: 169
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: Granta kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis:

Neve, the novel’s acutely intelligent narrator, is beset by financial anxiety and isolation, but can’t quite manage to extricate herself from her volatile partner, Edwyn. Told with emotional remove and bracing clarity, First Love is an account of the relationship between two catastrophically ill-suited people walking a precarious line between relative calm and explosive confrontation.

Review:

It took me a very long time to get my thoughts in order about First Love. Despite being not even 200 pages, this was a very heavy read, and took me quite a while to get through. The book is very much a character study, and focuses on the relationship between our main character Neve (the book is told from her perspective) and her marriage to the slightly older Edwyn.

As the book continues on, their relationship becomes more and more volatile, and it becomes clear they are definitely not suited to be with each other. The relationship is portrayed as very claustrophobic and confining, and Riley’s simple narrative style definitely imparts that to the reader. It’s a very fascinating read as we see Edwyn project his anger and self-loathing on to Neve, we see Neve have doubts about their relationship and begin to hate herself for continuing to stay with Edwyn despite how he treats her. There’s quite a lot of dialogue in the book, as there are only a few characters, the majority of the plot takes place in the conversations between the couple. The conversations flow really well, and seems very natural, and they definitely fit with the minimalist writing style.

This is certainly not a happy ending kind of book, and while it might not take you too long to read, it certainly gives you a lot to think about. The book was shortlisted for the Bailey’s Prize and I can completely understand why. It is hard hitting and sharply written. While it was a compelling book, I can’t particularly say that I enjoyed my time reading it. For me this was an interesting read, but did not draw me in the way that my five star reads do. I do definitely think it’s worth reading, and if you find yourself with a few spare hours on a quiet Sunday afternoon, First Love might just be the compelling piece of writing you’re looking for.


Book Review: S.T.A.G.S – M. A. Bennett

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Release Date: 10th August 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 294
Find It On: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I was sent a copy of this book through ReadersFirst

Synopsis:

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school…

Review:

This was such a fun and enjoyable read. I read it over the course of two days, and the mystery kept me wanting more the whole way through. S.T.A.G.S is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and takes a common theme – being an outsider – and turns it into a whole new ballgame.

I really loved the characters in this book. Greer’s Dad is a nature film maker, so the two watch a lot of movies, and I really liked the way she continually referenced films in order to explain her point. I also really liked Nel and Shafeen, Greer’s only real companions. I also found it really interesting the way the Medievals are like carbon copies of each other, M.A. Bennett did a fantastic job of bringing out everyone’s high school nightmare with this group.

The setting for S.T.A.G.S is a really beautiful one, and one that definitely came alive in the story. It certainly is huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ village, with lots of mountains and lakes. The setting in the heart of the Lake District really is a fantastic backdrop for this story.

S.T.A.G.S is certainly a twisty and turn-y thriller. As Greer and her friends attempt to figure out what on earth is going on, there are several things you’ll totally see coming, but also more than a few that you’ll be completely a taken back by (I know I was). I love a story that can keep me guessing, and this exciting YA mystery, definitely ticks that box. S.T.A.G.S would also make one hell of a movie/television series, so I’m definitely going to be keeping my fingers crossed for that. If you’re looking for a quick and entertaining mystery, S.T.A.G.S is a must read for sure.


Feature: YALC Book Haul

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So as many of you know last weekend saw bloggers and ya fans flocking to London for London Film and Comic Con and the Young Adult Literature Convention. Myself amongst them, I had a fabulous time, and I bought some beautiful new books, as well as winning/was given some gorgeous new arcs. I only posted a little about the books that I bought so I could focus more on the arcs, but will add in goodreads links if you want to know more about them. Here’s we go!

Books I Bought:

1. Gilded Cage – Vic James

This book has been on my wishlist for absolutely ages, so when I saw Vic James was signing, I absolutely knew I had to pick it up. She was absolutely lovely and chatted away about the book. I’m so excited to start it!

 

 

2. Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Footy

This book caught my eye on the YAHQ stand. It has such a beautiful cover and when I picked it up it sounded so amazing. The book deals were really fab at YALC so I got this for £5 and it was available a little earlier than in bookstores!

 

3. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

I have heard such fantastic things about this book from the book blogger community. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone give it less than 4 stars. So when I heard this was going to be on sale early at YALC, I knew I had to buy a copy. It was a bit of a mad dash to get one, as they sold out in a few hours, but I’m sure it’s going to be worth it! (Also how stunning is that cover? I could look at it forever.) Lauren James also kindly signed my copy, and it’s pretty much gone straight to the top of by TBR!

 

ARCs:

1. WAR: Wizards and Robots – Will.I.Am and Brian David Johnson

Goodreads

The lovely folks at the Penguin Platform stand gave me a copy of this. It sounds really fantastic and I’m looking forward to reading it.

When a young man breaks into her home claiming her life is in danger,  Ada Luring’s world changes forever. Geller is a wizard, on the run from his father’s hidden clan who want to kill Ada and her mother. Sara Luring is the scientist who will create the first robot, the wizards’ age-old foes.

But a robot has travelled back in time to find Ada, and will lay everything on the line to protect her, as she may just be the key to preventing the earth’s destruction in the future.

2. Otherworld – Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Goodreads

This was a very hot proof over the weekend. The lovely folks at Rock the Boat did a blogger giveaway for it and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to be there. This book is the first in a series from Jason Segel (from How I Met Your Mother) and since it’s about gaming I think it will be right up my alley. Very much looking forward to reading this one.

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

3. Everless – Sara Holland

Goodreads

There were two proofs I was really hopeful to get over the weekend, one was Fireblood by Elly Blake (which sadly I didn’t get, but I now have an e-galley so it’s not all bad!) the other was this beauty. I’ve heard some overseas book bloggers talking about how stunning this is, and was so so happy to have got a copy. I’m probably going to dive into this straight after The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

4. Blackbird – N. D. Gomes

Goodreads

This was a surprise giveaway that happened just as I was walking past the YAHQ stand. I hadn’t heard much about it, but now that I’ve read the blurb I’m really excited to read this one!

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

5. The Fandom – Anna Day

The Fandom is another book that has been getting loads of buzz on Twitter and social media recently. The lovely folks at Chicken House were giving away copies in exchange for signing up to their newsletter, so I was delighted to get a copy. Anna kindly also signed my copy of The Fandom, and I can already see big things for this beautiful book!

Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands…

6. Zenith – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

Goodreads

I think this was possibly the most sought after book the whole weekend. The queues to get a copy did get a bit on the forceful side, but YAHQ were kind enough to give me one. The book sounds stunning, a sort of YA Star Trek style epic with kick ass leading ladies, and I’m very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into it!

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situationand at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

7. Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Goodreads

This took me completely by surprise because I had no idea that BKMRK were planning to do a giveaway of Invictus proofs. This book was already on my wishlist, so I was so happy to be one of the lucky 100 people that got one. Ryan also did a signing that day so I managed to get my copy signed as well!

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

8. The Treatment – C. L. Taylor

Goodreads

I love a good thriller and this sounds right up my alley. This again was given to me by YAHQ, who were very generous with their proof giveaways over the weekend. (I think there were even more books given out on the Friday as well!) C. L. Taylor also popped by to sign some books at the YAHQ stand, and it was really fantastic to meet her!

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

9. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

Goodreads

This was another complete surprise and I’m so happy to have a copy. The Exact Opposite of Okay sounds completely kick ass, and Laura was there to sign copies too!

 Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

10. The Book of Fire – Michelle Kenney

Goodreads

This was such a cool book to get and I can’t wait to read it. It’s one of those proofs that’s plastic bound, so it did get a little dented on the way home, but given the amount I had to carry, I can live with that. It has also been dubbed ‘The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator’ and if that doesn’t peak your interest I don’t know what will!

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told. Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders. 

Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. 

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever. 

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

So that’s all the beautiful books I got this weekend. Were you at YALC, did you get any of these? Are there any you’re particularly looking forward to reading? Let me know in the comments below!


Blog Tour: The Companions – Sarah Dunnakey

33548805Release Date: July 27th 2017
Pages: 320
Publisher: Orion
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: Orion kindly sent me a copy to review for this blog tour.

Synopsis:

1932 – Twelve-year-old Billy Shaw lives in a palace. Potter’s Pleasure Palace – the best entertainment venue this side of the Pennines, complete with dancing and swing-boats and picnickers and a roller-skating rink. Billy’s ma runs the tea rooms and Billy himself looks forward to becoming the assistant to Mr Potter when he grows up. Until, that is, Mr Potter arranges for Billy to go to High Hob, the big house at the top of the valley, to be companion to Jasper Harper.

Jasper lives with his mother Edie and his Uncle Charles, brother and sister authors, escaped from London, and some say debt and scandal, in order to write. On his arrival, Billy finds a haphazard household where nothing that’s meant is said, and he runs wild with the untamed Jasper, spending all the time they can on the moors trying to catch The Beast. For four years the boys are inseparable, but when Charles and Edie are found dead, ruled a double suicide, Billy has already left the valley to start a new life in London. His time in the Harper household is written out of history.

2015 – Newly-appointed custodian of Ackerdean Mill, formerly the Palace, Anna Sallis begins to sort through the chaotic archives of the Mill, the Palace and the Harper siblings, and finds documents pointing to inconsistencies in the accepted story of Charles and Edie’s suicide. Anna becomes curious about what happened to her neighbour Frank’s Uncle Billy, absent from the known story. Why did he leave the valley? And what did he know about the events at High Hob?

Review:

Welcome to my stop on The Companion blog tour! I really enjoyed this book, it’s mysterious story, full of suspense with plenty of history thrown in too. The Companion features two alternative points of view. One in current times (2015) and one in 1932 when Charles and Edie were alive. I really love this kind of dual narrative because it really builds the suspense, and you get to see things from all different angles.

One of my favourite things about this book was the beautifully written prose. It flows seamlessly between the two different time frames, and I so easily became absorbed in the lovely writing. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and it really makes the setting come alive. The book is obviously full of mystery, and I loved that it kept me guessing right until the end. I something think if you figure out what has happened straight away it can ruin your enjoyment a little, and while I did guess one or two things there were plenty things I  kept wondering about right till the very end.

The characters are really well portrayed too. Billy is definitely my favourite, and I loved the strong sense of Yorkshire dialect that came through the book. I also found Anna really interesting too, as she collected all the information and unearthed these long forgotten secrets.

I also absolutely love the gorgeous and atmospheric cover for book, it’s really striking and definitely adds to that overall mysterious appeal. The Companion is a really addictive, enjoyable read and I have since passed it on to my mum who kept asking me what the book was about. If you’re looking for a page turner of a book to read over the summer, The Companion will definitely keep you occupied on your days off!

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Thanks for checking out my stop on The Companion blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops below!

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