February Wrap Up!

February Wrap Up!

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-17T114811.362.png
February was a great month and I managed to read fifteen books despite it being the shortest month of the year. It was a pretty mixed lot with some books I really loved and a few I was more than a little disappointed by. I’m not going to go too much into them because there’s quite a few books to get through!

book cover - 2019-03-17T114531.3091. The Calling – Cate Tiernan
This is the seventh book in the Sweep/Wicca series and I’ve been having such a good time revisiting this series. I’m so pleased that I still love them as much as I did when I read them the first time. It’s such a fun and addictive series and I really enjoyed this instalment as Morgan and the gang travel to New York and unravel secrets from her past. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T114313.4972. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is a series I haven’t revisited since I first read it as a teenager so I thought it might be fun to listen to the audiobook version. After struggling with the narrator in the edition I was listening to I found another on Scribd and I really enjoyed it. It was great to revisit a book I really loved and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. (4/5 stars)

vassa3. Vassa In the Night – Sarah Porter
This was a fairyloot book quite a long time ago and I recently heard someone talk about it because it’s a reimagining of the story of Baba Yaga. I love the cover design and thought it would be a great atmospheric read but it really wasn’t for me. I struggled with the writing style, I didn’t like the characters and I found the plot a bit chaotic. (2/5 stars)

4. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestonebook cover (39)
Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom is the first in an all new fantasy series in which the magic system is made up through scent. It was a brilliant read and one of my favourites of the month. It ended on such a cliff hanger and I’m dying to read book two. You can check out my review here, and my guest post from P. M. Freestone here! (5/5 stars)

book cover25. The Familiars – Stacy Halls
I love historical fiction that focuses on witches and I ended up completely devouring this book in one day. It was a dark and beautiful told story based on real events in history. It’s a book I still think about even though I finished it a while ago. I ranted a bit about how much I enjoyed this book here, so you can check that out if you want to know more. (4.5/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113810.1376. Queenie – Alice Munro
This was a short piece of fiction about a young girl who goes to stay with her sister that ran away with their neighbour. It really delves into the relationship between Queenie and her husband and was quite an emotional and powerful read. It’s a really quick read and it’s definitely one that makes you think about the nature of relationships.(3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113823.2377. And Of Clay We Created – Isabelle Allende
This was another piece of short fiction based on the real events of a volcanic eruption that happened in Columbia in 1985. 23,000 people died and the story follows the media outpouring about a little girl trapped in a mudslide caused by the eruption. It’s a very heart wrenching piece and it really made me think. (3.5/5 stars)

blood and sand8. Blood and Sand – C. V. Wyk
This was another book that I got in a subscription box and was really intrigued about this gender bent re-imagining of Spartacus.  I found this book quite difficult to rate because I wanted to love it, I loved the idea and I enjoyed the plot but it was much more romance focused than I had hoped it would be. I wanted Attia to spend more time reclaiming her home than developing her romance with Xanthus. I still want to continue the series but I was a little disappointed overall. (3.5/5 stars)

9. The Last – Hanna Jamesonbook cover (38)
This was a fascinating look at a world in which nuclear bombs have caused the end of the world, but what happens when a group of people staying in a hotel survive? It was quite slow paced and definitely more of a character driven book but it was a really fresh perspective on this type of tale. (4/5 stars)

bosdfsr10. The Year After You – Nina de Pass
This YA debut is a beautiful story about grief, loss and forgiving yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. It was set in a remote boarding school in the snowy Swiss alps and I fell in love with the characters, the story and the setting. If you’re looking for a gripping and moving tale this is definitely one to try. You check out my full review here! (4.5/5 stars)

12. Master of Sorrows – Justin Callmos
This is the first in an all new fantasy series that I completely fell in love with. It has so many things that I love, the magical academy trope plenty of action and adventure and it was just such an exciting read. This is a series I will definitely be continuing. You can check out my stop on the blog tour here! (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (40)13. The Glass Spare – Lauren DeStefano
Quite a long time ago I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano and I loved it. The Glass Spare has been on my TBR for quite a long time so I finally decided to pick it up and I did have quite high expectations because I loved her previous series. I struggled a little with this one because I found the pacing a bit off and it felt a little repetitive. I did still enjoy it and will look to read the next book in the series, but it won’t be a priority. (3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.47714. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
Thrillers are something that I don’t read an awful lot of but have found myself rather enjoying them recently. I read One Of Us Is Lying last year and did quite enjoy it so I decided to pick Two Can Keep A Secret up. While I did really enjoy this it didn’t really feel like anything new (in fact it reminded me quite a lot of the TV series Riverdale), but if you like twisty and fun thrillers this is definitely one to pick up. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113618.75215. Rogue Protocol – Martha Wells
This is the third instalment in The Murderbot Diaries series. These novellas are fun and fast reads, following the adventures of Murderbot as he tries to uncover mysteries and not get caught in the process. I’ve had mixed feelings about this series because some of the books have been a little slow but overall I really enjoyed this third instalment. (3/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in February! Let me know some of the books you read in February below!

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

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

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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!

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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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

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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!
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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?
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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!
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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?

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2018

BOOK REVIEW (83).pngToday for Top 10 Tuesday I’m talking about the authors that I read that were new to me in 2018. There were actually quite a few that I read and have become some of my favourite new authors and I’m so pleased that I have a back list of their books to read.

1. Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Untitled design (72)
My number one has definitely got to be Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I read and devoured Illuminae and Gemina in 2018 and I also read Lifelik3 by Jay Kristoff and adored that too. I loved their high action space adventures and I’m honestly dying to read Aurora Rising already.

2. V. E. Schwabbook cover (54)
Despite owning a few of her books I’d never read any of them until 2018. I read Vicious and City of Ghosts and they were both five star reads. I thought they were expertly written and I couldn’t put them down and I’m so excited to jump into more of her work.

3. Holly Blackbook cover (13) 
This one is kind of cheating because I did read The Spiderwick Chronicles when I was little, but I honestly don’t remember much about them and couldn’t have told you who the author was at the time. In 2018 I read The Cruel Prince and like everyone else I absolutely fell in love. The Wicked King came out a week or so ago and I can confirm it will definitely be in my favourite books of 2019.

book cover (26)4. Jenny Han
I don’t read much in the way of contemporary so I had never heard the name Jenny Han until the release of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix adaptation. Fast forward a few weeks and I’d read the entire trilogy. Burn for Burn is on my January TBR so I think it’s safe to say she’s definitely a new favourite.

5. Kiersten WhiteUntitled design (18)
Kiersten White is an author I was quite familiar with though I’d never picked up any of her books. I read The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and it was one of my favourites of last year. I’m definitely looking forward to diving into more of her work and I have an e-ARC of Slayer waiting for me too!
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6. Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is another name I knew in the bookish community and I had bought a few of her books but they were somewhere in my mammoth TBR. I was kindly sent her Valkyrie duology and I could not put it down. She’s definitely become an author I want to read more from.

7. Sally GreenUntitled design (37)
The Half Bad series is something that sounds right up my alley but for some reason I’ve never picked it up, but when I got sent a copy of The Smoke Thieves I read it in a few sittings and I was really excited to meet Sally at YALC. I’m really hoping to get to the Half Bad books in 2019.
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8. Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel with the Sands is a series that so many people in the bookish community adore and I had never given it a go. I read the first book in the series in 2018 and it completely stole my heart. I can definitely see why Alwyn Hamilton is so beloved and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

9. Kiran Milwood Hargrave book cover (25)
I don’t read an awful lot of middle grade but The Girl of Ink and Stars caught my eye because of it’s beautiful cover and eye-catching title. I adored this story and I was even more excited when I got to read an ARC of The Way Past Winter. If anything I loved this even more and Kiran has definitely become my favourite middle grade author.

book cover (94)10.  Jen Williams
Right at the start of 2018 I was asked to be on the blog tour for The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams. I hadn’t read the first book in the series but it sounded like something I might enjoy so I said yes and ended up reading The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twins back to back because they were such brilliant reads.

So those are my top ten new to me authors in 2018! If you’ve read any of their books let me know what you thought or if you’ve a favourite you think I should read and if there were any favourites that were new to you last year. 

Christmas Book Haul!

Christmas Book Haul!

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Today I’m back with the second half of my December book haul! My family were kind enough to get me quite a few books for Christmas so I thought I would do a little update on what they were!

1. Empire of Sands – Tasha Suri

book cover (83)This gorgeous fantasy book has caught my eye a few times so I’m really excited to pick it up.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V. E. Schwab
I’m trying to complete my collection of V. E. Shwab books and she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I’m hoping that once I but A Conjuring of Light I’ll be able to binge the set.

book cover (86)It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

3. This Cruel Design – Emily Suvada
The second instalment in the This Mortal Coil series, the first book ended on such a cliff hanger that I am dying to know what’s in store next.

book cover (84)The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

4. Night Film – Marisha Pessl
I’ve seen this on a few lists of really scary and intense reads that you can’t put down and it sounded so intriguing that I couldn’t wait to get a copy.

book cover (85)On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more. 

5. A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos
I’ve seen a few people compare this to Harry Potter and that definitely had me wanting to know more. It’s a lot bigger than I was expecting it to be but it sounds brilliant and I’m really looking forward to it.

Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many book cover (82)floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides. 

Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.

6. The Graces – Laure Eve
I’ve always wanted to read The Graces and had planned to pick up a copy at YALC last year and by the time I went they didn’t have any copies left. I’m so happy to have a copy now and it’s going to the top of my TBR.

book cover (87)Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

7. The Selection Series – Kiera Kass
Everyone tells me that this is the kind of series that you just plough through because it’s so fun and you just need to binge all the books. I’m going on holiday for a few days at the end of the month so I might take this with me because I think it would be the perfect series.

book cover (88)For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

8. Melmoth – Sarah Perry
I haven’t had a chance to read my copy of The Essex Serpent but Melmoth sounded even more intriguing to me so I was really excited when I unwrapped a copy on Christmas morning.

book cover (92)For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters—and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.

But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . .

9. A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas
book cover (89)Carrying on my Sarah J. Maas collection with the newest instalment in the ACOTAR series. I’ve heard mixed things about this but seeing as it’s so short I can’t imagine it will take me long to get through.

Hope warms the coldest night.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. 

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

10. Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames
book cover (93)This is a book I never thought I would pick up because I wasn’t sure it was my kind of thing, but after reading so many reviews – particularly the ones from Justine at I Should Read That, I thought I would give it a shot.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld. 

11. Uprooted – Naomi Novik
I still haven’t read Spinning Silver (oops), but I think Naomi Novik is going to be an author I really love. I love the idea of these fairy tale style stories so I’m hoping to get this one soon.

book cover (91)A dark enchantment blights the land.

Agnieszka loves her village, set in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind. 

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she is everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he takes.

12. The Call – Peadar O’Guilin
This YA dystopian has long been on my wishlist and it sounds like such an addictive read!

book cover (90)THREE MINUTES
You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun.

TWO MINUTES
The Sidhe are close. They’re the most beautiful and terrible people you’ve ever seen. And they’ve seen you.

ONE MINUTE

Nessa will be Called soon. No one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she’s determined to prove them wrong.

TIME’S UP

Could you survive the Call?

So those are all the lovely books I got for Christmas! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought of them and also let me know if you received any beautiful new books for Christmas!

December Wrap Up!

December Wrap Up!

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Today I thought I would post a little update about all the books that I read in December. December was a bit of a hectic month but I was also off over the Christmas period so I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done. In total I read 13 books, so let’s dive into what they were!

Gemina – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoffbook cover (1)
First off I continued my love affair with the Illuminae series. I couldn’t wait to dive into the second instalment and if it’s possible I loved it even more than I loved Illuminae. This was a definite favourite. (5/5 stars.)
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The Island – M. A. Bennett

I really enjoyed S.T.A.G.S by the same author and was really looking forward to reading this one. It was a bit unbelievable and I really struggled with the main character. Overall it was an interesting story but it didn’t live up to my expectations. (2.5/5 stars)

The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugobook cover (65)
I finally got around to reading The Language of Thorns and I really enjoyed these beautiful fairy tale stories. It was interesting to get another take on the Grishaverse and while these stories didn’t hook me in the same way as Bardugo’s other books, I still really liked them. (4/5 stars)
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The Lost Sisters – Holly Black

I am just obsessed with all things related to The Cruel Prince so as soon as I heard about this little short novella I dived straight into it. Told from the perspective of Taryn, I loved every second and if anything it just made me more desperate to read The Wicked King (5/5 stars)

My Sister – Michelle Adamsbook cover (63)
This creepy psychological thriller was an intense, wild ride. The story follows a young woman who is estranged from her family. When her mother dies she returns home to uncover why she was sent to live with her aunt as a child. The story is multi-layered with lots of sinister twists I didn’t see coming, it was a brilliant read. (4/5 stars)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chobskybook cover (34)
I remember reading this as a teenager and thought it would be interesting to revisit the book as an adult. I enjoyed reading the story, mainly for the feeling of nostalgia, but I didn’t love it as much as I did when I read it the first time. I think possibly my tastes have changed in a big way, but overall I found it a fairly average read. (3/5 stars)

Lifelik3 – Jay Kristoffbook cover (62)
After reading Gemina I wanted to dive straight into Obsidio but I didn’t have a copy, so instead I picked up Lifelik3. This story is crazy fast paced with brilliant characters and an unforgettable story. I’m so excited to read the next book in the series, I’m only hoping I won’t have to wait too long for it to be released. (4.25/5 stars)

book cover (3)To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo
I was really excited to read this after all the buzz around it when it was released. I love retellings and this sounded like the dark and sinister Little Mermaid retelling we’ve all been waiting for. I thought this was easily going to be a five star read for me, and while I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I liked the characters and the story was fun and interesting I think it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had in my head. (4/5 stars)

Artemis – Andy Weirbook cover (61)
This is one that has been sitting on my shelf for a while and since I’ve really been in the mood for space stories I decided to pick it up. This is my first Andy Weir book and I really liked it. My enjoyment was much more focused on the characters rather than the actual plot. I loved Jazz and her band of merry helpers, she was such a funny fascinating character that you can’t help but love her. (3.5/5 stars)

book cover (32)Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce
I think I’m one of the few people that didn’t read Tamora Pierce growing up. Wild Magic is my first book by her and I found it a little difficult to get into. The story was a little slow paced for me and I found the story left me wanting more. I am interested to continue the story and learn more about this large cast of characters that are so well known in fantasy fiction. (3/5 stars)

book cover (60)Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
I haven’t read a classic in quite a while and I thought it was time to revisit an old favourite. Alice’s Adventures are stories that I will never tire of. They’re fun, fascinating and so easy to dip in and out of. If you haven’t read Lewis Carroll’s books before, you should definitely give it a shot. (4/5 stars)
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My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

This caught my eye honestly because of the title. It arrived from the publisher and I ended up reading it in one day. It was dark, at times funny and honestly just such a gripping story. I really loved the authors writing style and I flew through this short, original story. (4.25/5 stars)

The Winter of the Witch – Katherine Ardenbook cover (53)
The last book I read in 2018 was also probably my favourite book of the year. The conclusion to The Winternight Trilogy was everything I hoped it would be and more. It broke my heart and I am so sad to be saying goodbye to the characters from one of my all time favourite series. Everything about these books has captured my attention. The gorgeous writing and the stunning setting, the blend of magic and mystery as well as a memorable cast of characters. If you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale then now is the perfect time to pick it up as you can binge read all three (5/5 stars – all the stars!)

So those are the books I read in December! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought and also let me know what the best books you read in December were!