Sunday, July 21, 2019

Review - Enchantée (Enchantée, #1) by Gita Trelease





Title: Enchantée (Enchantée, #1)
Author: Gita Trelease
Pages: 464
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 26th February 2019


Blurb from Goodreads: 
 
Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . . 
 
When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine‘ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .









My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley*





Seventeen-year-old Camille lives in a Paris that is on the brink of revolution.
After the deaths of her mother and father, Camille tries to care for her little sister the only way she knows how - magic.
But their brother is in debt to a dangerous man, and Camille finds herself struggling to pay the rent and to put food on the table. So Camille turns to a different kind of magic - a dark magic that allows her to change her appearance and become the Baroness de la Fontaine and gamble at the court of Versailles.
Camille vows to only use this magic until she has enough money for her and her sister to live in comfort, but will she be able to stop? Or will Camille become swept up in the finery of court life?


For me, the best part of Enchantée was the setting - 1789 Paris was certainly an interesting time with Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and the whisper of revolution in the air.
I thought the author did a very good job of capturing the allure of court life and the hardship that the non-royals went through.
Camille was a good protagonist. She was relatable and I felt sorry for her. I could understand why she enjoyed being at court so much.
Sophie, Camille's sister, was another character that I liked, as well as some of the friends Camille made at court.
I quite liked the romance, which I thought was rather sweet.
The plot was interesting and held my attention, but I wasn't gripped and nothing that happened shocked me.
The magic was intriguing. I liked the idea of being able to change items like buttons into coins.
The writing style was easy to follow and was atmospheric at times.
If you enjoy reading about this time period and like magic/magical elements then I would recommend this.


Overall this was an enjoyable read.







Thursday, July 18, 2019

Blog Tour + Review - Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia










Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Pages: 336
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Release Date: 23rd July 2019


Blurb from Goodreads:

Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortals.
 
It begins with a woman. For this story, it is her story. It begins with her.
 
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but it's passing Casiopea Tun by. She's too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather's house to do anything more than dream of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she could call her own.

This dream is impossible, distant as the stars - until the day Casiopea opens a curious chest in her grandfather's room and accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death. He offers her a deal: if Casiopea helps him recover his throne from his treacherous brother, he will grant her whatever she desires. Success will make her every dream come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed only with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City and deep into the darkness of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld.

Mixing the excitement of the Roaring Twenties with Pre-Hispanic mythology, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a vivid, wildly imaginative historical fantasy.









  

*I received a eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley*





Casiopea Tun lives in her grandfather’s house with her family in a small Mexican town. Practically one of the staff, Casiopea wishes for a life away from her family where she can do whatever she wants.
Then one day Casiopea opens a wooden box in her grandfather’s room, accidentally freeing the Mayan god of death who was trapped in the box and stripped of his throne by his twin brother.
Their fates and lives now tied, Casiopea agrees to help Hun-Kamé, the god of death, reclaim his throne.
Can Casiopea have the future she dreams of or will she have to return home?
Will they succeed? Or will Casiopea die before they can?



Gods of Jade and Shadow drew me in with its lovely cover and intriguing blurb, but the writing captured my imagination and gripped me.
I really liked Casiopea as a protagonist – she was relatable, likeable and endearing. I liked that despite the way she was treated by members of her family, Casiopea still had a rebellious spark.
I loved all the interactions between Casiopea and Hun-Kamé. I devoured every word with a smile.
The setting of 1920’s Mexico was really interesting as was the Mayan mythology.
I lived for the romance. It’s one of my favourite ever romances.
The writing style was good at setting the scene with lots of description of where the characters were, but there were a few times where I thought it was a little too much – however, that’s probably because I was being impatient and just wanted to get to the action/conversations.
At times Gods of Jade and Shadow reminded me of City of Brass which is definitely a good thing (I loved that book).



Overall this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend.



 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Auto-Buy Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.



This week the topic is
  Auto-Buy Authors




1. Jasper Fforde



 Jasper Fforde is my favourite author.
He is a genius.



2. V.E./Victoria Schwab 


 
I've been lucky enough to meet V several times and she is lovely.
Her books always have interesting settings, plots and characters.  



3. Chris Wooding 



If you love fantasy then Chris Wooding is your guy.
Poison is one of my favourite books, and the Tales of the Ketty Jay series is one of my favourites.



4. Lauren James 
 


 If you love science and sci-fi, I would definitely recommend Lauren James.



5. Laura Wood



I met Laura Wood at YALC last year and it was the first time that an author recognised me from social media which was so awesome.
She was lovely and I loved A Sky Painted Gold, which has one of my favourite romances ever in it. 



6. Alwyn Hamilton



Alwyn Hamilton has only written the one trilogy, but I loved the characters and the setting so I'm excited to see what she writes next.



7. Garth Nix  



 I loved The Old Kingdom series (although I still need to read Clariel and Goldenhand!) and I'm super excited about his upcoming book Angel Mage which is coming out September/October.



8. Samantha Shannon 



 I'm yet to read The Priory of the Orange Tree but I love the Bone Season books. Especially Warden *swoons*



9. Brigid Kemmerer



 Brigid Kemmerer writes my favourite contemporary YA books, and her Beauty and the Beast adaptation - A Curse So Dark And Lonely - is one of my favourite reads this year so far. 



10. S.A. Chakraborty
 

 I've only read The City of Brass but I LOVED it and have a copy of The Kingdom of Copper on my shelf.
I can't wait to see what else S.A. Chakraborty writes.

 




Do you have any auto-buy authors?


 

Monday, July 15, 2019

My YALC Tips



YALC is a young adult book convention at London Film & Comic Con. It's being held at Olympia, London between the 26th and 28th July.
Details can be found here


This will be my fifth year attending so I thought I'd write a post with some tips!



1. Take Food and Drink With You

 While food and drinks are sold at Olympia, it is cheaper to take food with you. There are supermarkets nearby if you do want to take food in with you.



2. Panels

The panels can get busy so be sure to get a seat as soon as you can.
I've attended a few panels that I wasn't sure I would enjoy and I found them interesting, so if you're not sure what to do then check out what panels are on. I've discovered several books thanks to panels.



3. Signings

The queues for the book signings can be VERY long. 
In the past I queued to see Victoria Schwab for about an hour (it was worth it) but, if you can, then queue for a signing as soon as possible. 
I've skipped panels so that I can get a spot in a signing line as soon as an author's name was put up on the wall. So if you don't mind missing a panel it's definitely worth it!
But if you don't want to skip a panel then get a seat at the side and make a run for the signing line as soon as it ends :)
  If you can't get to a signing then authors are usually happy to sign books and talk to you while they're wandering around the floor. But be sure to check what days the authors are going to YALC for just in case you end up missing them.
Some authors may only be signing a certain number of books, so keep an eye out on the YALC Twitter page! (It's been announced that V.E./Victoria Schwab will only be signing three books and won't be personalising them).
 
 
 
 4. Book Stalls

The books on the Waterstones stall are full price but they have some signed books and books that aren't sold at any of the other stalls. 
The publisher stalls all do sales on the Sunday and sometimes give away things that they were selling the previous days (I got a t-shirt for free from Electric Monkey a few years ago).  If there is a book that you really want to buy then I wouldn't leave it until Sunday for the sales to buy it just in case there aren't any copies left.
Also follow the publishers on Twitter throughout YALC as they give out secret passwords and limited ARCs. 
@JennieLy on Twitter is making a list of the ARC drops so keep an eye out for that.
And make sure to take CASH! There are cash machines nearby but they've always got big queues. Plus the stalls usually only accept cash.
 



Do you have any YALC tips?

 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Review - New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Colour, Edited by Nisi Shawl






Title: New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Colour, Edited by Nisi Shawl
Pages: 279
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: 12th March 2019


Blurb from Goodreads:

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius. 


Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page. 


Includes stories by Kathleen Alcala, Minsoo Kang, Anil Menon, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alex Jennings, Alberto Yanez, Steven Barnes, Jaymee Goh, Karin Lowachee, E. Lily Yu, Andrea Hairston, Tobias Buckell, Hiromi Goto, Rebecca Roanhorse, Indrapramit Das, Chinelo Onwualu and Darcie Little Badger.










My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Solaris Books and NetGalley*





New Suns is an anthology containing short stories written by authors of colour.
There are seventeen stories and each offers something different.
However, for me, I found seventeen to be a few too many. Especially as there were only a handful that I actually enjoyed - I struggled to get into most of the stories either because of the writing or I couldn't connect with the plot or characters. I did end up skipping to the end of a few or skim-reading them.
I think I would have preferred it if the stories had a specific theme e.g. space travel/stories, or if there had been different themed parts/sections of the anthology. As it was, it felt a bit like a hodgepodge of different stories - which I suppose wouldn't have bothered me as much if I'd enjoyed more of them.


Overall, I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more.






Friday, July 12, 2019

Blog Tour + Giveaway - The Changeling of Fenlen Forest by Katherine Magyarody


Find the tour schedule here.







Blurb:

Elizabeth thinks she knows the gloomy Fenlen Forest. But when her treasured unicorn fawn, Sida, goes missing, Elizabeth tracks her into a strange land where the people think Elizabeth is a changeling, a malignant being who too closely resembles a missing girl.

If Elizabeth can find her fawn and uncover the fate of her lost double, can she stop the fear from turning into hate? To solve the deepening mystery, Elizabeth befriends a handsome, skeptical young shepherd whose stories hint at a dark secret lurking at the forest’s edge, and follows a herd of wild unicorns with the ability to unlock the past.



  

Purchase Links:















About the Author 




 Katherine Magyarody grew up in Toronto, Ontario. During graduate school, she researched the history of adolescence, taught children’s literature, and wrote fiction on the sly. Her debut short story, “Goldhawk,” is anthologized in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2017. She currently lives in Connecticut, where she blogs about interesting and weird unicorns at https://offbeatunicorn.com/about-offbeat-unicorn/

 Author links:








 Tour-wide giveaway

Open INT