Thursday, April 30, 2020

April Wrap-Up

So April was an . . . interesting month.
Like nearly everyone else in the world I've been self-isolating in lockdown.
It was a little tough at times as I'm currently on the other side of the world from my family, but I'm very lucky that I'm staying with some friends.

Anyway, here's my month in books!

I didn't read as much as I hoped and I pre-ordered quite a lot of books.




The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry - paperback - 4/5 stars.
Sanctuary by V.V. James - ecopy - 3/5 stars - read my review here.
The Silence of Bones by June Hur - eARC - 3.5/5 stars - read my review here.

 Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle, #1) by Adam Silvera - eARC - DNF at 39% (1/5 stars) - read my review here.
Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna - eARC - 2/5 stars - read my review here.

The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy, #3) by S.A. Chakraborty - eARC - 5/5 stars - review to come!
Jackpot by Nic Stone - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.


I was approved lots of books on NetGalley that I'm excited to read. Thank you wonderful publishers!



The Vanished Bride (The Brontë Sisters, #1) by Bella Ellis

How was your month?
Did you read many books?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Review - Jackpot by Nic Stone

Title: Jackpot
Author: Nic Stone
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's UK
Release Date: 17th October 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:  

JACKPOT is a hard-hitting novel about class, money and how you make your own luck in the world.
Seventeen-year-old Rico splits her time outside school between looking after her younger brother and working in the local gas station to help her mum pay the bills.

So when she sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket and the money goes unclaimed, Rico thinks maybe her luck has changed. If she can find the ticket holder and reunite them with the cash, hopefully she will get a cut of the winnings. . . That is if she can avoid falling for the annoyingly handsome (and filthy rich) boy she roped into helping her with the hunt.

My Review:
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's UK and NetGalley*

Seventeen-year-old Rico Danger's life isn't easy - when she isn't at school, Rico spends her time working at a gas station or caring for her little brother while their mother works.

Then someone that bought a lottery ticket from Rico's work wins a huge jackpot, but the prize isn't claimed. Hoping that finding the winner might turn her luck around, Rico enlists the help of a boy from school, Zan.

Can Rico find the owner of the ticket?

Can Rico keep things professional with Zan?

I went into Jackpot hoping that it would be a light, easy contemporary read. While it was an easy read, I wouldn't call it light - Rico's family had little-to-no money and she often compared her clothes and life to that of other characters. It did annoy me a little how she kept making assumptions and judged people because of how they dressed, or things they owned, but I can understand how hard her life was. It did make me feel grateful that I am fortunate to have the life I do.

Rico was a (mostly) likeable and relatable protagonist. I sympathised with her and wanted things to work out and get better for her.

I couldn't help but like Zan even though he could be super cheesy and over the top at times. I really liked Rico's brother as well as Zan's friends Ness and Jess.

The plot was good overall and there was a twist that I didn't see coming, but I wasn't gripped by the storyline.

The writing style was easy to follow and I found myself reading the book quite quickly.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Can't-Wait Wednesday - Goldilocks

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: Goldilocks
Author: Laura Lam
Pages: 352
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: 5th May 2020

Blurb from Goodreads:

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

The team is humanity's last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there's Naomi Lovelace, Valerie's surrogate daughter and the ship's botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie's shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret -- and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid's Tale.

 Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

An all-female space mission where things start to go wrong?
Sounds like something I will love!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway - The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Find the tour schedule here.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: April 21st 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction


I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seolis living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

Book Links:


Fate. A shackle as solid as truth— unchangeable, unmovable. On the day of my departure, my sister had told me how long I was bound by the government to serve in the police bureau, away from home, from family. For one generation, she’d whispered.
My entire life.
That is, I would be free by the age of forty-one, as old as death itself.
A thunder of fluttering wings filled the sky in all directions, the birds overhead taken to flight. A shriek in the distance pierced the air; a terrified horse. Officer Kyŏn charged ahead, while it took me a scrambling moment to realize what was happening. I jabbed my heels into Terror’s side and followed him through the thicket, over the protruding roots, branches hitting my face.
Then we reached a glade and my heart stopped. Across the stream stood Inspector Han, his sleeve blood-soaked, his hand inching toward the sword at his side. A matter of paces away prowled a tiger, a deep growl rumbling from its white- and- black- striped chest. Powerful paws with sharp claws. The beast looked as large as Inspector Han himself.
“Do not move,” the inspector said, though not to us. Past the thick cluster of leaves was a horse struggling on the ground, shaking its head as blood continued to ooze from its wounded side. And hunkered down behind the creature was Maid Soyi.
Unable to look away from the scene, I hissed to Kyŏn, “Shoot it!”
A muscle worked in Officer Kyŏn’s jaw. Clearly he was incensed at an order from a girl, but he drew out an arrow and nocked it to his bow. As he aimed, the iron point trembled. What resolve he had, I watched falter and crumble.
“I’ll do it.” I snatched the weapon from him and rode out into the glade for a better aim. My motion caught the tiger’s attention. Good. My fear had reached its climax, and another sensation flooded in, a powerful longing that churned within me: the desire to matter.

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and the Fantastic Flying Book Club*

Orphan Seol is sixteen-years-old and is a servant at the police bureau.
Seol assists a young police inspector in investigating the murder of a young noblewoman, Lady O.

As they work together, Seol develops a fierce loyalty towards the inspector, one that will be tested as they uncover secrets and clues as to what happened that night.

Will Seol’s curiosity get her in trouble?

Who killed Lady O? And why?

One of my favourite things about The Silence of Bones was the setting of Joseon (Korea) in 1800. I didn’t know much about the history of Korea, so it was interesting to read a book set there and at that specific time period when Catholics were being persecuted.

Seol was a relatable and likeable protagonist. I liked that she wasn’t meek and silent – instead she was curious despite how much trouble that might get her in, being indentured as she was at the bureau.

The characters were all interesting and intriguing. There were some I liked more than others, but none of them felt flat.

The plot was interesting and held my attention. Towards the middle the pacing was a little slow for me, but it did pick up and the storyline drew me back in.

The mystery aspect was done well and kept me guessing. This is definitely one of my favourite YA mysteries that I’ve read and it was quite refreshing to read.

I liked the themes of family and loyalty.

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

While I did enjoy The Silence of Bones, I wasn’t gripped or blown away by what I read, but I would definitely recommend it and would consider reading it again at some point in the future.

Overall, this was a unique YA mystery that I enjoyed and would recommend.

About the Author

JUNE HUR (‘Hur’ as in ‘her’) was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works for the public library. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020.

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

 Author Links:

Tour-wide giveaway

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Review - Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna

Title: Monstrous Heart
Author: Claire McKenna
Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2nd April 2020

Blurb from Goodreads: 

A sensational debut novel perfect for fans of Outlander and The Binding. This is gothic, epic, romantic fantasy at it’s very best; a tale of magic, intrigue on dangerous waters and a love story for the ages.

When Arden Beacon is sent to the lighthouse, she is simply a woman with a job to do. She neither seeks, nor expects, distraction. After years tainted by disappointment, Arden is finally taking up her family’s profession. She must prove herself worthy of her name, for she has nothing else.

But the coast she has been tasked with lighting is far from the world she knows – the salt-swept, backwater town of Vigil is battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place.

More than anyone, the folk of Vigil whisper about Arden’s new neighbour, Jonah Riven, hunter of leviathans. He murdered his wife, they whisper – a perfect, golden girl, full of charm and potential. So very different to Arden Beacon.

They say he is as much a monster as his prey, but Arden cannot get this dark stranger out of her head.

My Review:

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

Tending to lighthouses runs in Arden Beacon's family because of the family gift. With her own power a weak one, Arden isn't planning on staying at the lighthouse in the small seaside town of Vigil for long.

Life in Vigil is very different to what Arden is used to - the sea is home to gigantic sea monsters and the town is full of secrets and whispers of Arden's new neighbour, who supposedly murdered his own wife.

Can Arden survive in Vigil?

Is Arden's neighbour as monstrous as everyone claims he is?

Monstrous Heart first came to my attention at YALC, a young adult convention, but it is most certainly not a young adult book as the main character is in her late twenties and there are some graphic scenes.

The world of Monstrous Heart was an interesting one - the powers were intriguing and I liked the idea of there being sea creatures such as kraken. The bloodlines/powers being controlled by an organisation was a bit scary, and I thought it was awful that they could decide whether or not you were allowed to marry someone.

Arden was a mixed protagonist for me, as there were times when I liked and felt sorry for her, and times when I didn't care what happened to her. I actually preferred Chalice, Arden's 'stormbride' (lighthouse assistant), to Arden herself.

The romance was not one of my favourites as I didn't feel the connection between them. It just felt like they were both lonely to me.

The plot was quite slow going at times and not much actually happened. I found the first half more interesting, and my attention did wander more than once throughout the second half of the book. There were a couple of twists that I didn't see coming, but they didn't have the impact they should have because I wasn't invested in what was happening.

For me, the writing style was the main reason I struggled with the book - I found it hard to get into and hard to connect with the characters and storyline because of that.

I feel like Monstrous Heart didn't reach its potential for me, and I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more.

Overall, this was an okay read.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

DNF Review - Infinity Son (Infinity Son, #1) by Adam Silvera

Title: Infinity Son (Infinity Son, #1)
Author: Adam Silvera
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Children's
Release Date: 14th January 2020

Blurb from Goodreads:

Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.
Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

My Review:
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK Children's and NetGalley*

- DNF at 39% - 

Emil and Brighton are twin brothers who live in a world where two groups of people with powers are at war with each other - the Spell Walkers and the specters.

Brighton is a superfan of the Spell Walkers and wishes he had powers of his own. Unlike his brother, 
Emil doesn't want powers, he just wants the violence to stop, and to stop living in fear of the enforcers.

Then one day, accidentally getting into a fight, Emil discovers that he has a power of his own, and finds that the Spell Walkers and specters both want Emil on their side.

Emil doesn't want to fight, but does he have a choice?

I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant going into Infinity Son having seen quite a few people say that they were disappointed by the book, but I was determined to give it a fair chance, which I feel like I have.

The premise was interesting and I liked that there were mythological creatures like phoenixes and hydra in a modern day setting.

One of my favourite things was the diversity.

None of the characters really stood out for me.

Emil and Brighton were very different people, and I found Emil much easier to relate to. Brighton did annoy me a bit at times.

What I read of the plot was okay, but it didn't hold my interest and not that much happened in the 39% that I did read.

I struggled to connect with the characters and didn't care what happened to them. I also couldn't connect with the writing style.

It got to the point where I was just skim reading and not actually reading the book properly, so I decided to DNF.

I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more as the concept intrigued me.

Unfortunately, this wasn't for me.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Blog Tour + Top 5 List + Giveaway - Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost

Find the tour schedule here.

 Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 14th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

Book Links:

TOP 5 List

Hi! I’m very excited to be included in this! Let’s do 5 tips for becoming a better writer. :)

1. Do your research. 

There are a million questions you have to ask yourself in order to hone your path and make it as straight as you can. What kind of writer do you want to be? Do you want to write for adults? Younger readers? If so, what age group? What books do you admire within the age group and genres you want to work in? Who published those books? Who represented those books? All of these questions are vital and when you can answer them for yourself without having to research, you know you’re closer to ready to create the story you REALLY want to create.

2. Think of your favorite authors as your eventual peers rather than untouchable celebrities.  

Really. Because hopefully one day they will be your peers. Look at their work objectively on the second or third read (enjoy it first!) and determine what it is about their work that you love. What works? What are they doing right? Can you do something similar (the answer is probably! Because if you’re drawn to it, you probably are interested in it!) What about their stories resonate with you? Then experiment until you find your own skills. 

3. Say yes to more things. 

No person is an island, and you can’t get writing that resonated without having real life experiences. Be daring! And remember that daring is subjective. Going skydiving might be daring for one person and actually saying yes to an invitation for coffee with a new acquaintance might be daring for someone else. Find what’s daring (yet reasonable) for you and seek out new experiences. Sure, you may hate it sometimes, but more often than not, you can at least find a story in it.

4. Keep a journal by your bed. 

Or at least actually type things into your Notes app so you can remember them. Some of my coolest ideas have come in dreams, and if I hadn’t written them down, I’d have forgotten them like we always tend to forget our dreams. And if you don’t dream stories like I do, dream journaling still has therapeutic properties, and everyone can use a little self-reflection.

5. Don’t be afraid of criticism. 

You have GOT to grow a thick skin about your work. See all criticism as constructive. Even if someone absolutely hates your work, choose to see from their point of view and learn what it was about your work that was so off-putting for them. More often than not, there’s a grain of truth. It’s your decision what to do with that grain of truth. People tend to be very fragile when it comes to their writing, which I understand, as writing is our filter through which we present our minds and ideas to the world. It’s very personal! But if your ultimate goal is to use your art to make things better, you have to be willing to listen to others about your work and the messages you’re really sending. Trust me! You won’t die! And eventually you’ll be able to choose which criticisms you listen to and which you disregard. It’s a liberating point to get to, really.


About the Author

Kate Pentecost was born and raised on the Texas/Louisiana border, where ghosts and rural legends lurk in the pines and nothing is completely as it seems.

She holds an MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was recently nominated for a Rhysling award for her poem "Small Town Witches."

Her debut novel, Elysium Girls, is forthcoming from Disney Hyperion in 2020 in print and audio formats.

She is obsessed with the Romantic Poets and can be identified by the enormous tattoo of Percy Bysshe Shelley on her arm. She lives in Houston (H-Town, Space City, etc.)

Author Links:

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Open to US only