Book Review: Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell

Book Review: Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell

BOO.png
Series:
Storyworld #2
Release Date: August 10th 2017
Publisher: Heads of Zeus
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

The second StoryWorld novel set in the glamorous, pressurized world of a live London TV station.

StoryWorld is the nation’s favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the cauldron of conflicts and resentments that constantly simmers off-stage.

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the heated world of live TV. Liz Lyon must balance the monster egos at work with the demands of her teenage daughter – and the man she’s just started dating – at home. It’s all in a day’s work.

Review

sdskdjThis was a fantastic, gripping read from author Jane Lythell, full of twists and turns. When a new woman joins the team at work, Liz feels the balance of power has shifted. She has to keep a lid on all her feelings as she maintains her role as a television producer. Coupling this with raising her daughter and dating, Liz’s life is full of surprises and shocks.

I really enjoyed reading this book partly because I found the main character so likeable. She’s a strong woman who looks after her team and works hard. I liked seeing her play the peacekeeper, diffuse the tensions and solve problems on her feet. She felt like a realistic and layered character, dealing with a teenage daughter and starting a new romance. She often has doubts about herself too, which felt quite refreshing for a main character.

I must admit that when I read Behind Her Back I did not know it was a sequel and I haven’t actually read the first book. I didn’t feel that that hindered my reading experience though, and you can definitely read it as a stand alone. I am however excited to go back to book one and find out what I missed. I love the tense, explosive atmosphere that Lythell has created, and am definitely eager for more.

Jane Lythell has drawn on her own experiences as a TV producer for this series and I think that’s part of the reason that it works so well and feels so real. The book is well paced and definitely makes you want to just read one more chapter. If you’re looking for a gripping and engaging read that’s different from anything you’ve read before, Behind Her Back is exactly what you’re looking for.

Book Review: WaR – Wizards and Robots – Will.i.am & Brian David Johnson

Book Review: WaR – Wizards and Robots – Will.i.am & Brian David Johnson

war.png
Release Date:
January 25th 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was given an ARC of this at YALC 2017.
Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Synopsis

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.

Ada, Geller and the robots must learn to work together to change the past and secure the future. But they don’t have much time before a mysterious enemy launches its attack on Earth…

Review

kkkI wanted to like this book. I thought it would be a light and fun read that I could enjoy over the weekend, but it just wasn’t for me. Ada and her mum are entering a competition to create a robot with the most human intelligence, meanwhile there’s a band of wizards from the past (who were almost wiped out by a group of time travelling robots who are being mind controlled by a force known as the Spawn), hellbent on stopping them from creating it. Meanwhile in the future The Spawn have wiped out almost everyone and only the remaining few robots at the Hadron collider can stop the Earth being destroy completely. Confused yet?

I feel like Wizards and Robots had some potential. I really liked Ada and her mum. Ada is the strong techy girl who I thought made an excellent protagonist, but the story had too much going on for me to get to know her as well as I would have liked. The wizard aspects I felt had potential too, but with so much ground to cover the reader doesn’t get the chance to understand the magic systems in play.

The science and technical aspects of the story are clearly very well researched and I enjoyed those aspects of the story, but I otherwise struggled to finish this book. Particularly the last section of the book, which heavily focuses on action sequences and then what felt like a bit of a rushed ending. If you’re a fan of science fiction and like a mash up of ideas you might really enjoy this one, but it just wasn’t for me.
2 stars

January Book Haul!

January Book Haul!

x.png
Today I’m bringing you my January Book Haul! I’m trying to make a concerted effort to buy less books in 2019 – I’m also tracking how much I spend on books over the year so that will be interesting to see what the total is in December. I was lucky enough to get quite a few books from publishers (thank you so much!), so as usual I’ve split them into two lots. Let’s dive in!

Books I Bought:

1. The Wicked King – Holly Black
The sequel to The Cruel Prince obviously had to be the first book I bought in 2019. I’ve read this already and it was brilliant.

book cover (13)You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

2. The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One – Amanda Lovelace
ssdI really loved the first book in this series so I just had to pick up the second instalment of Amdanda Lovelace’s inspiring poetry. I’ve also read this one too and loved it as well.

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

3. The Witch of Willow Hall – Hester Fox
I have an e-ARC from Netgalley for this book that I still haven’t read so when I saw it in the bookshop I decided to pick it up.

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

halTake this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall. The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end… 

4. A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
I really love Brigid Kemmerer’s books so I’m so looking forward to reading this Beauty and the Beast retelling.

book cover (46)Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

5. King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo
Favourite author has a new book about one of my all time favourite characters, need I say more?

book cover (47)Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Books From Publishers:

6. The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
This dark and twisted thriller completely hooked me and I can’t wait for the next book in the series (check out my full review here)

book cover (98)A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

7. Dark Forge – Miles Cameron
The continuation to the Master and Mages series was another brilliant read and you can check out my stop on the blog tour here.

book cover (99)Only fools think war is simple.
Or glorious.

Some are warriors, some captains; others tend to the fallen or feed the living.

But on the magic-drenched battlefield, information is the lifeblood of victory, and Aranthur is about to discover that carrying messages, scouting the enemy, keeping his nerve, and passing on orders is more dangerous, and more essential, then an inexperienced soldier could imagine . . . especially when everything starts to go wrong.

Battle has been joined – on the field, in the magical sphere, and in the ever-shifting political arena . . .

8. We Are Blood and Thunder – Kesia Lupo
This honestly sounds like such a stunning book and comes out in April from Bloomsbury Books.

bldthIn a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear – those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke’s Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won’t hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine … Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within.

9. Five Feet Apart – Rachel Lippencott
This kind of reminded me of a Fault in Our Stars kind of story and I know there’s a movie coming out soon so I’m definitely going to have to get to it before that comes out!

book covlhkjgerCan you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

10. The Killing Joke – Christa Faust
I loved the Harley Quinn novel in this series and Titan books kindly sent me copies of book one and three!

killing jokeA tragic, unnamed engineer-turned-criminal is immersed in chemicals that disfigure him bizarrely, driving him mad and thus giving birth to the Joker. While the insane criminal is imprisoned, Batman and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) patrol Gotham City together, taking down perps such as the crime boss Maxie Zeus. Simultaneously Detective Harvey Bullock works with Commissioner James Gordon to take down a drug factory. Back in Arkham Asylum, Joker learns of a new technology he wants to acquire and escapes, setting out on a mission designed to break the Commissioner, forcing him to abandon his ideals as a police officer. In a violent home invasion he shoots and cripples Barbara, then takes Gordon hostage. Batman races to rescue Gordon, ultimately confronting his arch-foe in an amusement park fun house. This edgy adaptation by Hard Case Crime novelist Christa Faust expands upon the cast and adds intricate layers to the events of the graphic novel, further examining the nature of morality.

11. The Court of Owls – Greg Cox
This is the third instalment in the DC comics novels!

bojhghgBeware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed
Speak not a whispered word about them, or they’ll send the Talon for your head.
–a nursery rhyme

The Court of Owls is a criminal secret society that has existed in Gotham City since the 1600s, led by some of the city’s wealthiest and most influential families. They employ deadly trained assassins known as Talons, taken as children from circuses such as the one where Dick Grayson’s parents were killed. These children are trained to become the assassins known as Talons. Bruce Wayne came to the Court’s attention when he announced plans to reinvigorate Gotham, threatening their control. They sentenced him to death, bringing themselves to the attention of Batman. Though they suffer defeats, the Court continues to fight to retake control of the city’s underworld – a fight that has gone on for centuries.

12. Shadow Captain – Alastair Reynolds
This is the second book in the Revenger series, it’s been a while since I read book one so I’m definitely going to have to binge read them both.

bjhk coverAdrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession.

Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.

Shadow Captain is a desperate story of cursed ships, vengeful corporations, and alien artifacts, of daring escapes and wealth beyond imagining … and of betrayal.

13. Dread Nation – Justina Ireland
This has long been on my wishlist so I was super excited to be sent a copy to coincide with the publication in the UK.

book cove4rJane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

14. Sky In the Deep – Adrienne Young
I’m so excited about this Viking/Fantasy story and I’ll be participating in the blog tour so make sure you check that out.

grhwoigwRaised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

15. Stronger, Faster & More Beautiful – Arwen Elys Dayton
This sounds like such a unique and fascinating read so it’s very high up on my priority list.

jjjjjSet in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”

This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.

16. Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley
This sounds like such a fun and exciting middle grade story and this is another one that I’m participating in the blog tour for!

hjDarwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors into different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world . . . and only he can save it.

The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out . . .

17. End of Magic – Mark Stay
Mark kindly reached out and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his new fantasy novel and of course I immediately said yes. This sounds amazing and it’s definitely going to be my next read!

endThere are epic fantasies where magic is a thing of the past, spoken of in hushed tones until some kid pulls a sword from a stone and it all kicks off again… This is not one of those stories. The End of Magic will take you back to a time when magic collapsed, when the world went mad, chaos reigned, and we’ll get to see it through the eyes of three people who have everything to lose… Sander Bree is a royal mage. The personification of privilege, he lives a cushy life advising the king on matters of court and politics, yet still finds plenty of time to complain that he’s stuck in a rut.

Rosheen Katell is an immigrant freelancer and, with Anzu her griffin, she’s worked hard to build a reputation as a trustworthy truth seer. She never lies, never kills. Oskar is Rosheen’s younger brother. Mute from birth he is a moonchild. Alone and vulnerable, he will endure more change than anyone. Both Sander and Rosheen are entirely dependent on magic. The source of their power is the Lapis Moon in orbit above. Very soon, that magic will be gone, changing their lives and their world forever. Sander must keep a promise that would have been difficult enough with magic, but is a suicide mission without it. Rosheen is forced to side with a murderous warlord, and her once-solid principles are tested and found wanting. Oskar needs to survive unthinkable terror and find his sister. All are set against one another in a war unlike anything the world has seen before.

So those are the books I picked up in January! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know which ones to prioritise!

Blog Tour: The Year After You – Nina de Pass

Blog Tour: The Year After You – Nina de Pass

yau.png

Release Date: February 14th 2019
Publisher: Ink Road
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

New Years’ Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in a tragic accident. Cara survives. Her best friend Georgina doesn’t.

Nine months later, Cara is struggling, consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back.

Up in the Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows about her past. And she intends to keep it that way. But classmates Ren and Hector have other ideas. Cara tries to keep her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight-talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are determined to break down the walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to.

The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara is quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance.

Review

bosdfsrThe Year After You follows a young girl named Cara who is sent to a boarding school in the remote Swiss Alps. On New Years Eve she survived a fatal accident, but her best friend Georgina did not. Consumed by grief, she wants nothing more than to complete the school year and move on, nothing is going to bring down the walls she has built around herself. But as she is drawn into life at Hope Hall, she begins to hope that maybe, things will get better.

The Year After You is such a beautifully told story. It begins with a single tragic event that completely changes Cara’s life. The story focuses very heavily on grief and PTSD and it handled both of those issues extremely deftly. It really hones in on the idea of loss how others around Cara – such as her mother – don’t want to believe that she’s suffering from a mental illness. The story is stunningly told with beautiful writing and I definitely felt myself becoming wrapped up in this well executed plot.

The thing that really made the book for me is the characters. Cara is a real fleshed out character and she seems very realistic, but I also really liked Ren, Hector and Fred. They’re all loyal and fascinating characters and each one is dealing with their own secrets. I really liked seeing them develop as friends and grow as characters and that’s definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed this story so much.

The Year After You also features a really stunning setting and the remote boarding school trope is one that I absolutely adore. The beautiful old building in the snowy Alps, the cable car journeys and the remoteness of the school really helped to bring this beautiful story to life.

The Year After You is a beautifully told tale of friendship, grief and ultimately of second chances. The story completely blew me away and if you’re looking for a brilliant new read – I can’t recommend this highly enough.
5 stars
The Year After You by Nina de Pass blog tour banner.jpg

Blog Tour: The Last – Hanna Jameson

Blog Tour: The Last – Hanna Jameson

the last.png

Release Date: 31/01/19
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 392
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Breaking: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington

Breaking: London hit, thousands feared dead

Breaking: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

Review

book cover (38)This story follows the events of in which a series of nuclear bombings occur which triggers the end of the world as we know it. Jon Keller is attending a conference at a hotel in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland and so survives the attack along with 19 other people. Jon decides to document his time at the hotel in an attempt to process what has happened to the world. Whilst checking the water tanks the boy of a young girl is found and Jon begins to investigate her murder – but how will he get justice for her murder when the world as they know it no longer exists?

I loved this quiet and fascinating story because it was so unlike the typical end of the world books I’ve read. It really gripped me from the outset and it has immediately become one of my favourites of the genre. The story felt so realistic and I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The world ends because of politicians that make the wrong decision – something that could easily happen given the current political climate. We never find out much about why the bombings occur and the story very much focuses on the creepy setting of this old hotel and the twenty strangers that are surviving there.

The story was well paced and I really liked the characters. It’s really interesting to see them change as the story develops, as panic and paranoia sets in about which one of them could have murdered the young girl. While it’s a really gripping story it is very much character focused and the action mostly happens elsewhere. There’s plenty of really interesting interactions between the characters and I loved the realistic way everyone was portrayed.

If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic stories this is a must read. The Last is a dark, tense and originally told story that feels incredibly real, so if you’re looking for something on the scarier side, this will certainly do the trick.
4 stars
02022019_thelast.jpg

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

ttt
Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re talking about our favourite couples in books. I don’t read romance novels or much in the way of contemporary so most of these are from fantasy books! There might be slight spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read these books so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

1. Yelena & Valek – Study Series
Yelena and Valek are definitely my favourite couple from a book. This series is one of my all time favourites and I loved watching their relationship grow over the six books.
the calling
2. Hunter & Morgan – Sweep Series
These two were some of my favourite characters growing up and I loved them as a couple. I’m currently rereading this fifteen book series and I still adore the characters so they definitely deserve to be on this list.

3. Vasya & Morozoko – Winternight Trilogy
I recently read the final book in this beautiful trilogy so I couldn’t make this list without my favourite heroine and the King of Winter. They were such fascinating characters and the romance between them blossomed so well in the story!
book cover (55)

4. Jude & Cardan – Folk of the Air
I imagine this one might be on a lot of people’s lists. The love/hate relationship between Jude and Cardan is one of the things I love most about this trilogy and honestly I’m just dying to read Queen of Nothing.


5. Hanna & Nik – Illuminae Files

I loved these two so much. Hanna is on the surface a pampered princess but with much than meets the eye and Nik is the drug dealer with a heart of gold. What’s not to love about this couple?
Untitled design (6)
6. Alosha & Riden – Daughter of the Pirate King

This duology was completely not what I was expecting and was much more romance focused than I originally thought but I really loved the sassy banter and budding romance between Alosha and Riden in this series so they were an easy choice for this list!

7. Lara Jean & Peter – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
THEY ARE JUST SO CUTE AND ADORABLE. This is the only contemporary couple on this list but they are just perfect. I loved them in the books and I adored them in the movie – they’re sweet and funny and definitely one of the best couples.
book cover (16)
8. Alina and Mal – Grisha Trilogy

This might be a bit of a controversial one. I know a lot of people don’t like Alina and Mal together and while I really love the Darkling, I think Alina and Mal make a really lovely couple and ultimately she ended up with the right person.

9. Hoshiko & Ben – Showstopper
These two make a really fascinating couple because they come from such different worlds. Ben is rich and lives comfortably with his status as a Pure and Hoshiko is forced to perform in a deadly circus as one of the Dregs of society. They get together and they’re such a sweet couple!
Untitled design (75)
10. Lou & Robert – A Sky Painted Gold

This Gatsby-esque historical fiction novel features a romance between the wealthy Robert Cardew and local girl Lou and I completely fell in love with their story when I read it last year. It’s a perfect summer read and a gorgeous romance!

So those are my top ten couples from books. Which couples made your list?

Guest Post: Where I Wrote Shadowscent – P. M. Freestone

Guest Post: Where I Wrote Shadowscent – P. M. Freestone

shadowscent.png
Where I Wrote Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom by P.M. Freestone

Some people can write anywhere, anytime, with any distractions going on around them. I envy their ability to shut out the world and instantly become one with the words. That said, I’m lucky to have lots of options when it comes to writing spots. And I’ve managed to ‘train’ myself to write in some less likely places, too. Here’s just some of the locations where I wrote Shadowscent:

1. My study

WhiteboardAfter many years of writing at home, I’ve recently managed to dedicate most of a room to writing. I painted it the deepest, darkest blue, which I find helps with concentration. It’s also filled with plants—on shelves, stands, even hanging from the walls—most of them on NASA’s list of top plants for using on the ISS, because I’m a nerd like that. There’s also another beloved item hanging from my study wall, my whiteboard. Here’s where the plotting and planning happens, usually beginning with a cast of characters (blurred out in this photo because it’s for a Sekrit Project!)

2. Libraries

EdinburghCentralLibraryThere’s a reason that multiple libraries feature in Shadowscent. I love them. There was a particular time in my childhood where we couldn’t afford to buy books, so the library was a paradise. When I went on to university study, I veritably lived in libraries. My favourite is the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Then, whenever I visit London, I try to make room for a writing or research session at the British Library. In Edinburgh, I love the Central Library for getting my fix of hushed voices and the scent of old tomes—it also has a gorgeous ceiling to gaze at while figuring out thorny plot points.

3. Trains, planes and airports

AirportsI do a fair bit of travel, both for author stuff and for my other job, so I’m often furiously drafting or desperately editing while on the go. I’ve learned to work in airports, and on planes and trains wherever possible. Last year, I finally invested in some noise-cancelling headphones and this has made all the difference.

4. Outdoors

VerandaScotland doesn’t make a frequent habit of putting on prime outdoor writing weather, but when it does, I’ll grab the laptop and head out into one of Edinburgh’s beautiful parks. I’m also fortunate enough to able to get back to Australia once (sometimes twice) annually, so I squeeze in as much outdoor writing time while I’m there—hat and SPF 30+ essential! My favourite place is on the veranda at my sister’s house, if I can get the locals to let me concentrate…

SHADOWSCENT: THE DARKEST BLOOM by P.M. Freestone (SCHOLASTIC) is available now.