Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Books on My Summer 2021 TBR


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

This week the topic is 
Books on My Summer 2021 TBR

There are soooo many books I could include in this post (some of which have already been included in previous seasonal TBRs), but here are the ten books that I most want to read this summer . . .

1. The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1) by Namina Forna

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity--and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki--near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be--not even Deka herself.

2. An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir

Blurb from Goodreads:

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death.

When Laia’s grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.

But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire’s greatest military academy. Should she fail it’s more than her brother’s freedom at risk . . . Laia’s very life is at stake.

There, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier. But Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined – and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

3. Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn

Blurb from Goodreads:

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
4. The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1) by Lynette Noni

Blurb from Goodreads:

Here at Zalindov, the only person you can trust is yourself.

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is a survivor. For ten years, she has worked as the healer in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, making herself indispensable. Kept afloat by messages of hope from her family, Kiva has one goal and one goal only: stay alive.

Then one day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives at the prison on death's door and Kiva receives a new message: Don't let her die. We are coming.

The queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals. Aware the sickly queen has little chance of making it through the Trials alive, Kiva volunteers to take her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

And with an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva's heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can't escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

From bestselling Australian author Lynette Noni comes a masterful and action-packed YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.

5. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

 Blurb from Goodreads:
 As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?

6. The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #1) by K.S. Villoso

Blurb from Goodreads:

A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

"I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me."

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father's rival heralds peaceful days to come.

But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It's meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she's on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.
7. Beach Read by Emily Henry

Blurb from Goodreads:
 He doesn't believe in happy endings.
She's lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?

January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she's the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.

But they actually have more in common than you'd think:

They're both broke.
They've got crippling writer's block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.

The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other's stories, their worlds might be changed entirely...
8. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix 

 Blurb from Goodreads:
 In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn't get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan's search for her father begins with her mother's possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan's. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.
9. Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

 Blurb from Goodreads:
 'This is my kind of history: carefully researched but so vivid that you are convinced Lucy Worsley was actually there at the party - or the parsonage.' Antonia Fraser
On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the world in which our best-loved novelist lived.
This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the way in which home is used in her novels to mean both a place of pleasure and a prison. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms, in fact her life was often a painful struggle.
Jane famously lived a 'life without incident', but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.
10. Little Women (Little Women, #1) by Louisa May Alcott

 Blurb from Goodreads:
'I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.'

Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - four "little women" enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England The charming story of the March sisters, Little Women has been adored by generations. Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over little Beth's death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. Future writers have found inspiration in Jo's devotion to her writing. In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature's most beloved women.

 What books do you want to read this summer?


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review - The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry




 Title: The Ghost Tree

Author: Christina Henry

Pages: 507

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: 8th September 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry.

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Bookshop

My Review:

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

Teenager Lauren lives in the town of Smith's Hollow. A year ago, Lauren's father was murdered, his heart taken from his chest.

When the brutally dismembered bodies of two young girls are found, Lauren knows from experience that the police will fail to apprehend the killer.

When Lauren has a vision of a monster with the bodies in the woods, she decides to take action and attempt to find out who the girls were.

As Lauren investigates, she finds herself getting drawn deeper into the dark, forgotten secrets of Smith's Hollow.

I'd been wanting to read a Christina Henry novel for a long time, and while I'm not a big horror fan, I decided to give the novel a go.

Lauren was the main character and I found her to be likeable and relatable. It was interesting to read her relationships and how she reacted in different situations.

The book is told from several points of view and for me there weren't too many. I enjoyed reading about what the various characters thought about what was going on.

I think the character I most felt sorry for was Miranda, Lauren's best friend. They weren't as close as they used to be and Miranda wasn't very close to her parents either.

The setting was atmospheric and the history of the town that the author created was really interesting and unique.

The plot held my attention throughout the book, but I was glad that the pace wasn't any slower, otherwise I think I would have gotten bored. While I did enjoy the plot, I wasn't gripped or overly surprised by anything that happened. There was some gore and I'm glad there wasn't more as I don't love horror.

The writing style was easy to follow and I would read another book by the author.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - Gearbreakers


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'm anticipating . . .

Title: Gearbreakers

Author: Zoe Hana Mikuta

Pages: 416

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: 29th June 2021

Blurb from Goodreads:

Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they're fighting for a common purpose--and falling for each other--in Zoe Hana Mikuta's high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown's Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu's Legend series.

We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead...

The shadow of Godolia's tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia's reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer--as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more...

Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

This sounds like it could be quite a fun read and I'm intrigued to read about Eris and Sona's relationship.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

June TBR



 Here are the books I'm planning to read in June . . .

The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill

Forest of Souls (Shamanborn, #1) by Lori M. Lee

 The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

What are you planning to read in June?

Monday, May 31, 2021

FairyLoot Unboxing - Hidden Identities (April Box)


 FairyLoot is a UK-based YA subscription box.

Each box contains a variety of objects and a book with an exclusive cover.  

 The April theme was
Hidden Identities




 Here's what was inside . . .

Foiled bookmarks inspired by The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Blood Heir by Amelie When Zhao and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. These have artwork by @talia.nobel.

A bar of handmade soap inspired by The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. This is from Little Heart Gifts and has pink and white swirls, smelling like sakura flowers.

Tarot cards inspired by Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. These are designed by @morgana0anagrom.

An enamel pin inspired by The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. This was designed by @_iceydesigns.

A tote bag inspired by the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The artwork is by @arz28.

Metal bookends inspired by The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. These were designed by @jezhawk.

The book of the month was The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. 

This FairyLoot edition has an exclusive purple cover, is signed, has sprayed and stenciled edges, as well as artwork on the inside of the dust jacket, foiling on the naked hardback, and also has bonus content. This came with a letter from the author that has character art on the other side.

Here is everything all together . . .

This was a bit of a mixed box for me.

I love the pin, bookends and book, but the other items aren't ones that I love (mainly due to the fandoms).

What do you think of this box?

What's your favourite item?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Wrap-Up



 I didn't read as much as I hoped to this month, but I still managed to read quite a few books . . .



Emma by Jane Austen - audiobook - 3/5 stars

Brother's Keeper by Julie Lee - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.



Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and Other Lies) curated by Scarlett Curtis - hardback - 3.5/5 stars

Heartstopper: Volume 1 (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman - paperback - 4/5 stars



Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake, #2) by Victoria Schwab - audiobook - 3/5 stars

Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve - ARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.



One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.

Heartstopper: Volume 2 (Heartstopper, #2) by Alice Oseman - paperback - 3.5/5 stars



Physical books:

Project Hail Mary and Malibu Rising were signed pre-orders, and Blackheart Knights was sent to me by the publisher, Jo Fletcher Books.


 NetGalley ARCs:


My thanks to the publishers!