Friday, November 15, 2019

Review - The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2) by S.A. Chakraborty






Title: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Pages: 640
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: 22nd January 2019


Blurb from Goodreads:

Return to Daevabad in the spellbinding sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS.

S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass—"the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind" (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir)—conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad's towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.











My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Harper Collins UK and NetGalley*






After the events of The City of Brass, Nahri's life in Daevabad sees her following the role of her ancestors as a gifted healer. But Nahri has little control in her life, with the king watching her every move, and the man that once protected her gone. She dreams of her home of Cairo.
Prince Ali has survived countless attempts on his life after being cast from Daevabad by his father. Ali misses his home, his family, and Nahri. He struggles to control the strange new powers he's had since the events at the lake, powers the marid (water spirits) have given him.
Things in Daevabad are tense, and when an unknown enemy seeks to attack the city during a celebration, the city and the people within it may never be the same again.


I was a huge fan of The City of Brass, so I was excited and slightly scared to read the sequel, but I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint.
One of my favourite things about the Daevabad books are the characters - they're all so complex and relatable. I love Nahri. She's witty and determined and is definitely someone I would want to be friends with. I felt sorry for her and Ali as they both had little control in their lives and didn't have an easy time of things.
The setting is so interesting and I don't think I could ever get bored of reading descriptions of the palace or the different quarters.
It did take me a while to get used to the terms again (there are quite a few), but it probably didn't help that I didn't re-read the first book before reading this (I only read a recap).
The plot was quite slow paced with things ramping up towards the end, which doesn't always work for me, but in this case it did as I really love all the aspects of the book. There were some plot twists, some of which I didn't see coming. It was quite dark in places, but there were funny comments from the characters to at least try and make it a bit lighter.
The writing style is very easy to follow and had me gripped.
While I didn't enjoy this quite as much as The City of Brass, it was still a very good read and a worthy sequel. I'm scared to read the third book, The Empire of Gold now! I don't want this series to end!


Overall, this was a very enjoyable read that I would recommend.


 





Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday - Dangerous Alliance

 

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 looking forward to . . .







Title: Dangerous Alliance
Author: Jennieke Cohen
Pages: 416
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 3rd December 2019



Blurb from Goodreads:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.
  





Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

Historical romance + Jane Austen + a hint of mystery?!
Yes, please!

 


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Review - With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo






Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Pages: 400
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 19th September 2019


Blurb from Goodreads:
 
Ever since she got pregnant, seventeen-year-old Emoni's life has been about making the tough decisions - doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother. Keeping her head down at school, trying not to get caught up with new boy Malachi. The one place she can let everything go is in the kitchen, where she has magical hands - whipping up extraordinary food beloved by everyone. 


Emoni wants to be a chef more than anything, but she knows it's pointless to pursue the impossible. There are rules she has to play by. And yet, once she starts cooking, and gets that fire on high, she sees that her drive to feed will feed her soul and dreams too. And anything is possible.











My Review:

*I won a copy of this book through Readers First*






Seventeen-year-old Emoni lives with her baby daughter and her grandmother.
In her final year of high school, Emoni splits her time between school, work, and looking after her daughter.
She is a gifted cook and dreams of running her own restaurant, but Emoni knows that she might have to give up her dreams in order to provide for her family.


With the Fire on High is a beautifully designed book and I like that there's food on the cover - you don't see that very often.
Emoni was a likeable and relatable protagonist. She hadn't had the easiest life, but she didn't mope around feeling sorry for herself. I liked her relationship with her grandma and her best friend.
I think this was the first book I've read where the main character wants to be a chef, so that was refreshing and interesting.
I was not a fan of the romantic interest. Some of his actions really bugged me.
The plot was pretty predictable overall, but I did enjoy what I read.
I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more.


Overall, this was an enjoyable read.





Thursday, November 7, 2019

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel


Find the tour schedule here.






Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel
Publisher: BLINK
Release date: November 5, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller


Synopsis: 

The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the streets of Chicago by a mob of crazed teens that leaves death in its wake. It’s been two years since the last attack, but Lia Finch has found clues that reveal the Swarm is ready to claim a new victim.

Lia is the only one still pursuing her father’s killers, two years after attorney Steven Finch’s murder by the Swarm. Devastated and desperate for answers, Lia will do anything to uncover the reasons behind his death and to stop someone else from being struck down. But due to debilitating asthma and PTSD that leaves her with a tenuous hold on reality, Lia is the last person to mount a crusade on her own.

After a close encounter with the Swarm puts Lia on their radar, she teams up with a teen hacker, a reporter, and a mysterious stranger who knows firsthand how the mob works. Together, they work to uncover the masterpuppeteer behind the group. Though if Lia and her network don’t stop the person pulling the strings—and fast—Lia may end up the next target.



Book Links:










10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before



A Writing Community will help you survive.

I used to think that writing was a solitary activity and that I didn’t need a writing community, but immersing myself in the writing community has been the best and smartest parts of this journey. At some point as a debut author, you will have questions, and you won’t be able to Google the answer. Having writing friends is necessary to your survival as a debut.


You will want to ignore the advice other authors give you. Don’t.

Authors who have been through it give good advice. So many times this year, even though I recognized the good advice when it came, I dismissed it by thinking it wouldn’t apply to me. Authors would say, “Stay off of Goodreads,” and I would think, I won’t be bothered by negative reviews. They were right. Authors would say, “Learn how to manage your time. You will only get busier,” and I would think, I just need to clear *this* off my plate, and then things will slow down. They were right. Being an author, especially during a debut year is more predictable and formulaic than I ever imagined. The best part is you’re in it with so many others. Listen to their advice.


You will only get busier.

Write your second book as early on in the process as you can. You might be tempted to put this off until all your revisions and edits are done with your first book, but that’s when the marketing and publicity takes off. There is a lot of waiting between rounds of revisions. If you can, work on your next project.


You will want to prepare stock responses to the following questions.

            When will it be a movie?
            When will you quit your day job?
            Can I get a free book?
            Why is it taking so long to publish it?
            And when you are stressed, in the weeks before launch, *Why are you stressed? You
already wrote the book. Isn’t the hard part over?
*To answer that last question, writing the book is the easy part.


People will want to hear you talk.

Practice public speaking because the events come more quickly than you think they will, and people will want to hear you talk about your book and your journey. I’m a teacher, and so I’m used to speaking in front of kids. (Adults are harder) Still, one of the best things I did in my debut year was go to any book event I could find, and I listened to authors talk about their books. Because of it, I felt so much more prepared when I sat on my first panel.  


You still need to write your own synopses and pitches. 

Wherever I go, I pitch my book, only now I say it instead of write it. Get your pitch down (and several alternate versions of it quickly). My second book had a twenty-page synopsis. The silver lining in it all is that while I used to hate pitching my book and writing synopses, I’ve become better at it. 


At some point you will feel like an imposter.

Imposter syndrome will happen at some point, or it might never go away. When those moments come, learn to fake it.


People will have opinions about your book.

And they will want to share them—especially if they didn’t like something about your book. This is actually flattering, which isn’t always easy to remember in the moment. If someone is so invested in your book that they feel the need to discuss it with you, it’s usually because they were attached to your story and your characters. (You might want to prepare a stock response for this too).


You will spend a lot of time and money at the post office.

I underestimated this. Especially if you have a preorder campaign, you will be at the post office often. I also mailed out copies of my ARCs and fellow debut authors’ ARCs that were sent to me and then I sent elsewhere. Keep your receipts for all of this so you can write it off! I promise you it adds up quickly!


Set a budget and stick to it.

Even if your publisher pays for your bookmarks and swag or sends you on tour and to conferences, there will be so many little things that add up quickly. Try to go into it with a budget in mind and stick to it. Then keep all of your receipts and write off as much as you can. 






 About the Author




Kimberly Gabriel started writing in fourth grade when she wrote, bound, and gave away books of terrible poetry to family and teachers as holiday gifts. Today she is an English teacher, who still squanders all free minutes to write and uses it as the best scapegoat for her laundry avoidance is-sues. When she is not teaching or writing, Kimberly is enjoying life with her husband, her three beautiful children, and a seriously beautiful boxer in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Every Stolen Breath is her debut novel and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.



Author Links:









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http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November TBR



This year is just flying by!

There are still SO many books that I want to read before the end of the year so my November TBR is quite ambitious.

This month I'm hoping to read . . .




The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo



Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik




What are you planning to read in November?




 

 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand


Find the tour schedule here.



 


 The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 5th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary



Synopsis:

A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies...

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.



Book Links:









  Lists to Make In Order To Become a Better Writer



When I teach creative writing, I always start each semester by having my students make a series of lists to help them see themselves more clearly. So I’m passing that on to you, dear book addicts! Let’s jump right in.


1. Make a list of books in the particular genre you’re interested in writing in. You should read the heck out of that genre. When I first realized that the novel I was writing (my first novel, Unearthly) was YA, I read 72 young adult titles that year, just to get a feel for what YA was like. The more knowledgeable you are of your genre, the more easily you’ll be able to find your place in and understand how you can contribute. Also make a list of books that are outside of your chosen genre/genres, but might be inspirational, too.
 

2. Make a list of your talents and skills as a writer. Are you good at dialogue? Do you create detailed settings? Are you good with plot? List everything—both things that sort of come naturally to you, and techniques you’ve picked up. Now take a good look at your list. Ask yourself: how can I write to my strengths? What kind of projects would best showcase my talents? Think of writing like auditioning for American Idol: you want to pick a song (*cough, STORY) that shows that you’re relevant to today’s market AND demonstrates your talent in the best way possible.
 

3. Make a list of your flaws as a writer. What do you struggle with? Do you do too much showing instead of telling, or is your problem the opposite: you have trouble getting the character to reflect and tell us what’s meaningful in a scene? Do you find it hard to describe characters? Do you have a tendency to drift into cliché? Be honest with yourself. Nobody has to see the list but you. You don’t have to be ashamed—all writers, even the best ones, have flaws. Just ask Stephen King about endings. :) Once you have a list, try to look at it as a to-do list for how you might improve. Find writers that are great at what you suck at and try to study how they make it work. Read craft books. Work on writing smaller pieces, like short stories or even simply scenes, where you exercise at those skills. Soon you’ll find that you’re writing better.
 

4. Make a list of things you are passionate about or things you are an expert on-- subjects that compel you to write. The poet Richard Hugo calls these “triggers.” I know that the word trigger has a different meaning these days, but the idea is the same: things that bring up emotions in you. Once you have a list, ask yourself, am I writing about the things I’m excited about? Sometimes we write what we think other people want to read, instead of following are our obsessions. But the truth is, if you don’t love the things you’re writing about, nobody else will, either.
 
 

Okay, so you’ve got your lists. Now to make plans on how to use them! Good luck and happy writing!


CH







About the Author


 
 

 Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and the upcoming novels THE HOW AND THE WHY and MY CALAMITY JANE (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.



Author Links:







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Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Wrap-Up




*This contains spoilers for the October FairyLoot box*




Here's what I planned to read this month . . .










WHAT I READ




 Good Omens by Terry Pratchett - paperback - 2.5/5 stars
Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.
The Good Luck Girls (The Good Luck Girls, #1) by Charlotte Nicole Davis - ARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.






 Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1) by Maya Motayne - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.
Angel Mage by Garth Nix - hardback - 3/5 stars - read my review here.







Music and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell - eARC - 3.5/5 stars - read my review here.
 Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers, #1) by Nicki Pau Preto - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.







HAULED BOOKS






The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2) by Philip Pullman - I got both the normal hardback and the exclusive, signed slipcase edition, which is gorgeous.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hinks - I got this in a trade.

The Sky Is Mine by Amy Beashel - this is an ARC copy that I requested and was sent by Rock the Boat.

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo - this is the FairyLoot edition which I pre-ordered before having read my ARC, which I unfortunately didn't like very much :(

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - this was my sister's copy but she didn't enjoy it so I claimed it.

Not photographed is the October FairyLoot book which was The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh. This edition is signed, has red sprayed edges and has character art on the inside of the sleeve.







CURRENTLY READING





Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2) by S.A. Chakraborty



 



 What books did you read in October?