Thursday, January 16, 2020

FairyLoot Unboxing - Defying the Odds (December Box)

FairyLoot is a UK YA subscription box.
Each box contains a variety of objects and a book with an exclusive cover.  

The December theme was
Defying the Odds

Here's what was inside . . .

 A pair of socks inspired by The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

A set of pencils inspired by Game of Thrones. The pencils feature the mottos and colours of several houses from the books/TV series.

An exclusive pin inspired by Aelin from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. This was designed by @bookmarkd.tattoos.

A blend of black tea inspired by Ead from The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. The tea is from @thetealeafcompany and the label was designed by @noverantale.

Two new Tarot cards which are based on characters from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. These were designed by @gabriella.bujdoso.

A set of exclusive magnetic bookmarks inspired by Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. These were designed by @pigeon.princess.

An exclusive bookish microfiber cloth which was designed by @literarylifeco.

A pouch inspired by the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. This was designed by @chattynora.

This month there were two books in the box:

An ARC of Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco. 
This edition has an exclusive cover and came with a letter from the author and a signed bookplate.

An exclusive copy of Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian.
This has an exclusive red cover, art on the reverse of the dust jacket, embossing, and is signed.
It also came with a letter from the author which has character art on the other side.

Here is everything together . . .

 This was a mixed box for me - there are items that I will use and some that I won't - but I'm excited to read the books.

Did you get this box?
What are your favourite items?


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Can't-Wait Wednesday - A Queen in Hiding

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to. 

This week I am anticipating . . .

Title: A Queen in Hiding (The Nine Realms, #1)
Author: Sarah Kozloff
Pages: 496
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: 21st January 2020

Blurb from Goodreads:

Debut author Sarah Kozloff offers a breathtaking and cinematic epic fantasy of a ruler coming of age in A Queen in Hiding, and all four books will be published within a month of each other, so you can binge your favorite new fantasy series.

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.

But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.

Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

Magic + spirits + rebels + a fight for the throne?
This sounds amazing!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Blog Tour + Top 5/10 List + Giveaway - Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Find the tour schedule here.

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary


Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her townwhere nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turnedout to be a lie?

Book Links:


Top 5 Favourite Books
1. The Awakening by Kate Chopin 
2. Beloved by Toni Morrison 
3. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav 
4. White Oleander by Janet Fitch 
5. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Top 10 Favourite Films
(this list changes, depending on my mood)
1. Misery 
2. Gone Girl 
3. The Devil Wears Prada 
4. 13 Going on 30 
5. Life is Beautiful 
6. It’s a Wonderful Life 
7. Under the Tuscan Sun 
8. The Gift 
9. Fatal Attraction 
10. Taken

Top 5 Favourite Places To Write
1. My home office 
2. Inside my car 
3. In a café that sells amazing coffee, and where I’m not apt to bump into someone I know (to avoid getting too distracted because I love to procrastinate) 
4. In my living room in front of the wood-burning stove (in winter) 
5. On my brick patio with a tall glass of iced tea (in summer)

Top 5 Tips For New Writers
1. Read a lot – active reading, the way a writer reads, looking at such literary elements as plot structure, book structure, character development, point-of-view, tense, subplots, minor characters, etc. Ask yourself what the author does that works for you as well as what doesn’t. Learn as you’re reading, taking note of style. 
2. Sit down and write – develop a routine. Treat it like it’s your job, even if you’re not getting paid. This is not something you do just when you have free time (if that’s the case, you’ll never have time. There are always more chores to do.) You have to make the time to write. I like giving myself 10-page-per-week deadlines. 
3. Join a writing group. Find one that suits you – a supportive group that gives constructive feedback in a helpful way. Writing groups can keep you cranking out pages, when deadlines for critiques loom. Members can also ask key questions that get you thinking deeper about your characters and plot. 
4. Ask yourself what the intention is for your story. Why are you telling it? Why should a reader read it?

Top 5 Favourite Authors

There are way too many to name.

Top 5 Favourite Adaptations
1. Misery by Stephen King 
2. Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty 
3. The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (based on his novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) 
4. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy 
5. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

About the Author


 Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.Stolarz found sales success withher first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz's titles have been named on various awards list.

Author Links:

Tour-wide giveaway

Open to US/CAN


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Review - Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow, #1) by Bex Hogan

Title: Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow, #1)
Author: Bex Hogan
Pages: 400
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Release Date: 18th April 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He's the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne's father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves - and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.


Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US


My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in a subscrption box*

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is the daughter of the Viper - the captain of a ship of highly skilled assassins, who is supposed to defend the Twelve Isles.
However, instead of protecting people, the current Viper inflicts pain and fear.
Marianne wants to help people and to escape from her cruel father.
Can the Viper be stopped?
Can Marianne break free from her father's grasp?

Going in to Viper I was certain I would love it - it's about assassin pirates and I'd heard lots of people rave about it. However, it was one of those books where I seem to be the odd one out.
Marianne was a likeable protagonist. I felt sorry for her and was rooting for her to get away from her father. I liked that she wanted to help and protect people.
Grace was probably my favourite character, but no one else really stood out for me.
The plot was enjoyable to begin with, but then I found that it became very predictable, and it wasn't until near the end that something happened that surprised me and I started liking the book a bit more. The plot also failed to fully hold my attention and I grew bored more than once.
The romance wasn't one of my favourites - I didn't dislike it but I couldn't feel the connection between the characters, so it felt a bit forced.
The writing style was also not one of my favourites and was hit or miss for me - there were times when I thought it was good, and times when I wanted to re-word things.
I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy Viper more.

Overall, this was an okay read.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Blog Tour + Interview + Giveaway - Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea) by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Find the tour schedule here.

Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea) by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: January 14th 2020
 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea, Beyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.

Book Links:

How did you come up with the idea for Beyond the Shadowed Earth? 

Earth is a companion novel to my 2018 debut Beneath the Haunting Sea. In that book, the MC gets banished from her homeland by an evil usurping empress named Eda. When I was pitching new projects to my publisher, I included a pitch for a completely separate companion novel set three hundred years earlier than the events in Sea. My publisher liked the idea of a companion novel, but wanted something more closely tied to Sea, and suggested a story about Eda. I was initially resistant to that concept, because I absolutely hated Eda’s guts, but then I jotted down a few ideas, and then a few more ideas, and before I knew it an entire plot was taking shape. Turns out Eda did have a story to tell, and it took a ridiculously short amount of time for my hatred of her to completely evaporate as I began to see things from her point of view. As for the actual plot, I wanted to write a redemption arc for Eda, while exploring a different branch of the world’s mythology I invented for Sea. So Eda’s deal with the god Tuer was born… 

Did you do any research for Beyond the Shadowed Earth? 

The most extensive “research” I did was my panicked re-reading and hi-lighting Beneath the Haunting Sea to make sure I got world-building details consistent! If I had known of the existence of Earth while writing Sea I would definitely have made some changes to the latter to save myself multiple headaches. I still might have missed some things—and I knowingly fudged one detail—but I’m really pleased with how Earth came out, and I love how it complements Sea. I did actual research on mountain terrains and steamships, as well as looking up lots of pictures of different kinds of temples around the world. 

Do you have a favourite character in Beyond the Shadowed Earth?

I really do love Eda—she’s fierce and angry and determined and sarcastic. She knows what she wants and she goes after it. Her passion, however misguided at times, is compelling to me. I also adore Morin, my book’s token adorable cinnamon roll. :D 

Do you have any advice for new writers? 

Write as much as you can, but take breaks when you need to. Finish projects, don’t just start them. Follow your passions, not trends. Find a critique partner who can give you feedback in a way that is useful to you (and vice versa). Rough drafts are meant to be rough—don’t worry, you can fix it!! 

What's your favourite book? 

A difficult question for any book lover to answer, so I will give you three, in no particular order:
The Queen of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner (really, the entire Queen’s Thief series—I’m obsessed)
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

About the Author

 Joanna Ruth Meyer hails from Mesa, Arizona, where she lives with her dear family, a rascally feline, and an enormous grand piano. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to convince her students that Bach is actually awesome, or plotting her escape from the desert. She loves good music, thick books, looseleaf tea, rainstorms, and staring out of windows. One day, she aspires to own an old Victorian house with creaky wooden floors and a tower (for writing in, of course!).

Author Links:

Tour-wide giveaway

Open to US/CAN

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review - Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes

Title: Tiger Heart
Author: Penny Chrimes
Pages: 240
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Release Date: 9th January 2020

Blurb from Goodreads:

One magical friendship. One roaring adventure.

The magical tale of a bold young chimney sweep and a remarkable tiger, a dangerously hypnotic ruby and a mystical land found across an ocean and through a storm. Perfect for fans of The Girl of Ink and Stars and Pax.

Fly never meant to end up in a cage with a man-eating tiger. And though she's no princess, when the tiger bows to her, she can't help vowing to free him and return him home.

But the bird-filled jungles and cloud-topped mountains of the tiger's homeland are an ocean away. And not everyone wants the tiger to return.

With dark and dangerous forces working against them, will Fly be able to fulfil her promises, keep them both alive and - just maybe - become the queen her tiger knows her to be?

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley*

Fly is an orphan and a reluctant chimney sweep.
Her life changes when she drops into a cage that has a tiger in it.
The tiger bows to Fly, telling her that she has blue blood and is therefore royal. The tiger vows to restore Fly to her throne, but all Fly wants is to escape from her cruel boss.
Fly promises to free the tiger and the other caged animals, and ends up on a journey filled with danger.
Will the tiger return home?
Is Fly really a princess?

My main thought about Tiger Heart is that I really want a talking tiger as my friend. Tiger was my favourite character and I liked how he tried to protect Fly.
I liked Fly - she was brave and wanted to do the right thing. However, I did find the way she talked a bit annoying at times, but I know that Fly spoke that way because of the time period the book is set in.
The setting was interesting and I liked Fly's friendships with some other orphans.
I liked the themes that the author wrote about and thought they were handled well. There were some quite dark things that happened, which surprised me.
This wasn't quite what I expected, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

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

This week the topic is
Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

There are lots of books that I'm excited to read this year so choosing only ten was difficult!

Here are my picks: 

Publication Date: 7th January 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication Date: 7th January 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Children's

 The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Publication Date: 6th February
Publisher: Picador

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: 11th February 2020
Publisher: Agora Books

Havenfall (Havenfall, #1) by Sara Holland
Publication Date: 3rd March 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication Date: 5th March 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Children's

The Switch by Beth O'Leary
Ppublication Date: 30th April 2020
Publisher: Quercus

Publication Date: 5th May 2020
Publisher: Faber & Faber

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: 23rd June 2020
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Publication Date: 30th June 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Are you looking forward to reading any of these books?