Wrapping Up The Week (9th April – 15th April)

How are we already halfway through the month? April is flying by and the countdown to moving house is getting shorter and shorter (5 days!). Unfortunately our internet won’t be sorted out until May 1st, but I am hoping that my data will be enough for me to get a few blog posts up within that time. I want to say I’ve packed up most of my things, but I haven’t. It’s a good thing I still have some time or I might be panicking.

In my last post I mentioned that my laptop had been playing up, freezing and crashing, and coming up with a code that said ‘Critical Process Died’. A bit of investigation on twitter told me that there were loads of people getting the same message which made me think it was a Windows 10 issue. Sure enough, I had another update a couple of days ago and it’s been fine since then. Obviously I was over the moon and managed to pick up with my editing again, something I had been too afraid to do in case my laptop crashed and I lost everything.

Books I read and reviewed…

ash princess

This debut novel is set to release in less than two weeks(for the US), so of course I spent a better part of the week flying through Ash Princess. You can find my full review here, but overall, I really enjoyed this book. There are some similarities between another of my favourite series, Throne of Glass, but there was great character development and the story progressed nicely. I will definitely be grabbing the second one when it comes out, hopefully next year.

I am currently reading…

I am still making my way through Nevernight, a book that is heavier and more descriptive so it is taking time to read, but I am also starting The Smoke Thieves. I was given the chance to read this by Penguin Random House on NetGalley and I am so excited to see what it is all about. Fingers crossed I can finish both of these within the week, maybe even before I move house.

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Liked But Will Never Re-Read

WWW Wednesday – Hitting 250 Followers!

I got a lot of engagement this week thanks to these two blog posts and I always find it great to spark up a conversation with my followers about books.

My WIP…

I am cutting so many words in this second draft, but it is much easier to do so than I thought. I want the beginning to be solid and to do that I have to get rid of the boring stuff. My readers need to be entertained and if they’re bored before the good stuff starts, they won’t give it a chance. In total, I re-wrote 2,000 words yesterday (unable to write before then due to laptop problems) and I’m hoping to get another 1,000 done tonight if I can.

Other Fun Stuff…

The weather has been picking up here in the UK and we managed to get out yesterday for a three mile walk in the nearby nature park which was nice and relaxing. Apart from that I have been getting things in order for moving and finding enough bags and boxes to pack up all my stuff. I hope this is the only time I will be moving this year because it is tiring.

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My week was fairly uneventful but I hope you all had a great one and read some awesome books!

ARC Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

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Title: Ash Princess

Author: Laura Sebastian

Publisher: Delacorte Books (Macmillan Children’s Books in UK)

Date: 24th April 2018 (14th June 2018 for UK)

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I was lucky enough to have been approved to read an ARC of Ash Princess from Macmillan Children’s Books on NetGalley. While this book doesn’t come out until June, I thought it best to post my review now for those who are in the US and those who can buy the book on Book Depository. I was drawn to this because it sounded like some other YA fantasy books that I loved in the past and I wanted to see if it would live up to them. In the end I found myself really enjoying Ash Princess and while it had a few tropes (love triangle anyone?) I didn’t actually mind them. If anything, I thought it was quite refreshing.

When she was six years old, Theodosia saw her mother brutally murdered when her kingdom was invaded by a tyrant known as the Kaiser. Since then he has kept her captive and either slaughtered or enslaved her people. Whenever they tried to start rebellions he took it out on her, whipping and beating her to send a message to her people. To them she is just the Ash Princess, a mockery, but she can only keep up the pretence for so long. When her last hope dies, she seeks out revenge and with the help of her people she concocts a plan to murder the Prinz. But as she grows close to him she realises that her feelings may not be as fake as she wants them to be. In the end, only she can decide what she will do to save her people.

There are a few traits of this story that relate to another famous series, but it was also unique in its own way. It starts off a little slow, as most fantasies do, but the world is slowly built up and we gain an understanding of what happened to Theo’s home, Astrea. Sebastian creates a brutal world where there is no hope until one girl decides to fight back. Throughout the book we find out more about the world, but one aspect I enjoyed was the magic and how it came about. Some Astreans have magical powers gifted from their Gods and they are enhanced with gems that come from the mines, which of course the Kaiser would harvest for himself, even though they cannot wield the magic in the same way.

I will warn you that there are some tough topics in this book, which include abuse, slavery and hints of rape. There were scenes that were tense and horrible to read, especially towards the end of the book, but they led to Theo’s penultimate decisions. Race plays a part as well, as the Kaiser and his people are fair haired with pale skin and the Astreans have olive skin with dark hair, something that is pointed out a few times within the book.

Unable to keep the name Theodosia, she became known as Thora, as the Kaiser wouldn’t allow her to use her royal name, and instantly we know that her life is one that has been spent walking on eggshells, cowering from the Kaiser and his men, and one that was torturous. But as the story goes on we see her finding the willpower to fight back and to be stronger than she has been. There was definitely some great character development and I enjoyed seeing her embrace her heritage.

The other characters in this story were likeable, especially Cress, the daughter of the man who killed Theo’s mother, but who treated her like a sister. Their friendship was sweet in places, especially in the beginning. However, as Theo became closer to the Prinz, you could see cracks start to form. Soren, the Prinz was a complicated character. I wanted to like him, but at the same time I was always waiting for him to become his father. The love triangle enters the story with Blaise, an Astrean who lived at the palace when Theo was young. As far as love triangles go, this one wasn’t hard to stomach and I’m looking forward to the second book where I’m sure it will feature more.

Overall, I found myself flying through Ash Princess and when I was past 75% I didn’t want to stop reading! The ending was great and sets up the second book up perfectly. It will be intriguing to see what happens to all the characters and how their stories will weave in to each other. Ash Princess was a great debut and manages to reach four stars in my opinion.

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WWW Wednesday – Hitting 250 Followers!

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and was taken over by Taking on a World of Words.

I just want to start by thanking the 250 people who follow my little blog. While the number may not seem huge, I’m just grateful that there are 250 of you who care about my thoughts and feeling on books. I’m hoping to do a giveaway when I reach 500 followers because that’s my next big goal.

Also, just a little heads up. My laptop has been playing up for the last few days (it keeps freezing, coming up with an error page) so I may have to send it off to see what is actually wrong with it. If that is the case then I may not be able to blog as much, but if my sister is nice enough I can borrow hers for a little bit. So that’s how my week is going so far. However, I have been reading an amazing book I can’t wait to finish.

What Are You Currently Reading?

ash princess

I am currently 72% through this ARC and oh my, it has gotten so good! It was a little slow to start with but the plot is coming together and I love the characters, especially a few in particular. Our Main character, Thora (or Theo as we find out) has lived a terrible, sad and brutal life under the strict rule of the Kaiser, a tyrant who came and took over her land, killing her mother. I recently just read a scene where I found myself holding my breath because it was so tense. I can’t wait to read the rest of it!

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

the oracle queen

The last book I finished was the novella called The Oracle Queen and you can find my review here. It was good for a novella and I really enjoyed finding out about this particular Queen. The Oracle Queen is a sad tale, but I didn’t feel it offered much to the story of the three Queens. Honestly, I just read it because I need something to fill in the time until Two Dark Reigns comes out later on this year.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

nevernight

The next book I will be reading will be to finish off Nevernight, which I am currently a third of the way through. I put it to the side to finish Ash Princess as there is only two weeks lefts until it gets released and I want to get a review up soon. However, I have been enjoying Nevernight and cannot wait to dive back into the story again.

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I hope you have all been having a great week so far and that you’re enjoying whatever book you are reading!

ARC Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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Title: The Belles

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Date: 6th February 2018

Publisher: Orion Publishing Group

This book blew me away. From the incredible writing and mesmerising descriptions, to the detailed characters and plot twists. I loved everything about this book. I can’t even think of something bad to say. I feel so lucky to have been approved on NetGalley to read The Belles before it comes out in February. At first I didn’t know what to expect from this book and I think that is why the story has completely captivated me and the ending has left me wanting more. As any good book should.

In Orléans beauty is everything and without it you are nothing. The Belles were created to gift the people, known as the Gris, with beauty after they were cursed with grey skin, red eyes and straw like hair, cursed for life. The Belles can use their talents to transform how people look and because of that they are precious to the people of Orléans, most of all to the Queen and the Princesses. Camellia is a Belle, but it isn’t enough. She wants to be the favourite, the one the Queen picks to live in the palace and tend to the royal family. It is all she has ever wanted, but not everything is as it seems. Camellia soon learns that there are secrets lurking within the castle and that her powers could put her in grave danger. The Queen has asked her to do something that seems impossible and it could mean risking her life to help the princess who hasn’t woken from her coma. Camellia has to make a choice and either one could have grave consequences.

The first thing I noticed about this book was how Clayton brought everything to life. As I was reading the descriptions of Orléans and the way of the Belles, I could see the vivid colours, taste the delicious delicacies and smell the flowers blooming. Everything was so clear and it felt as though I was right there, that I was Camellia. I haven’t felt that strongly for a book in a while and I found myself wanting to read more and more. As the story progresses and we learn more about the world of Orléans, their customs and the history of the Belles, the secrets unravel in such an intriguing way. Not everything is as it seems and there is always a hint of something darker lurking.

I was so interested in how Clayton came up with the idea of this novel and how she exposed the darkness that comes with wanting to be beautiful and what people would be willing to risk to achieve it. Her note at the end of the book put it all into perspective. How much would we change about ourselves if we could? It’s a dangerous question to ask and shows our obsession with waning to be perfect, something that is mirrored perfectly in The Belles.

All of the characters in this book were amazing, each with their own voice and they were so well developed, which is something that can be difficult to do when there are a lot of characters. Camellia is kind, strong, so sure of herself and inspiring. She wants to do so much good for the people of Orleans, but at the same time she yearns for the times with her sisters and before she became the favourite. She has a strong voice that wants to be heard and eventually is, proving that staying quiet never helps a situation.

The Belles had me gasping in shock and my blood boiling, cursing the spoilt Princess Sophia who is never satisfied with her looks and is, in fact, monstrous. She elicited such a strong reaction in me and that is when you know a character has really come to life, even if they are cruel and vindictive.

The last quarter of the book had me flipping through the pages faster and faster, needing to reach the end. There was twist after twist, as horrifying details emerged and the lives of the characters were at risk. The Belles has left me wishing I had the next book in my hands because I need to know how it will all end.

Overall, this book has become one of my favourites very quickly. Definitely in the top ten and it is one that I could read again, which isn’t something I say often. It challenges our ideas of what is beautiful and shows us how far some people will go to reach those standards, even if it destroys who they are inside. This book deserves all the love it is receiving and more. A five star read for me!

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ARC Review: Keeper by Kim Chance

Keeper

Title: Keeper

Author: Kim Chance

Date: 30th January 2018

Publisher: Flux Books

I am so thankful that I was approved on Netgalley to review this book because as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it would be my cup of tea and I was right. Keeper was the first book that I read on my Kindle and I really enjoyed it. Kim Chance created a book that is fun, entertaining and gripping, with a hint of danger. There were a few plot twists I wasn’t expecting (some I did) and I was left wanting to read more. While it isn’t the best book I’ve ever read (I think it has to do with the fact I’m more used to older characters so a 16 year old girl was a bit different) I did enjoy reading it and found myself laughing out loud at some parts.

Lainey Styles is your average 16 year old girl, until she is attacked by a 200 year old witch who won’t leave her alone. It seems impossible and as hard as she tries to convince herself that it isn’t real, she has to face the reality she is being haunted. With the help of her comic-book loving best friend Maggie and street fighter Ty, they piece together the mystery and realise that Lainey is also a witch.

She isn’t just any old witch though. Lainey is a Keeper, just as her mother was, and she has the ability to unlock and use the Grimoire her family has spent centuries trying to protect. But the Grimoire was stolen by the Master, a dangerous and malevolent man who is hell bent on ruling the supernatural world. It’s Lainey’s job to get it back.

I will start off by saying that it does take a little while to get into the action of this book. I felt that it took a bit of time to get to all the witchy magic, but once we do it is great. There is action, drama and fighting scenes (I love those), as well as twists and turns that made me gasp (yes, they were that shocking). The writing was fun, bubbly and easy to read. Kim Chance perfectly captured the way a 16 year old girl would react to being told she is a witch and the language she used was perfect.

The characters in this book are just as good! Lainey was wonderful, smart, funny and unique. It was great to be in her mind and experience the emotions that we would be feeling in her situation. She doesn’t just accept what is happening to her and I loved that. I also enjoyed seeing her relationship with her Uncle Gareth and his girlfriend who is a seer (Lainey’s parents died when she was young) and how much they cared about her.

As for Lainey’s best friend Maggie, well…how can you not love someone who always uses superheroes for analogies (I’m a big Marvel fan). She also says ‘holy crapkittens’ which made me chuckle, and she will do anything for Lainey, something I could definitely appreciate. Ty was a little mystery that captured my heart the more we learned about him. He’s charming, a total kickass and kind towards Lainey. While they may have seemed a little cheesy and cliche, I ended up loving the characters, especially our mysterious 200 year old witch.

Yes, there are some YA tropes thrown into this book, but I felt that they were different to others and it was refreshing. I found myself flying through Keeper, especially after the halfway mark and the last quarter was my favourite part. There is a lot of action, magic usage and problems that Lainey and her friends encounter. We have an interesting villain who wants magic for himself and is ruthless when he doesn’t get his way.

Overall, Keeper was an engaging read and it has left me wanting to read the next one (let’s home Kim Chance does write it because I need answers to some things). It is not the best YA book I have read and even though it is a little similar to others, I ended up enjoying it. When it comes to giving this book a rating, I am deciding between 3 1/2 stars and 4 stars, so I’ll give it the higher one!

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My January TBR Pile

At the start of the year I headed to my Goodreads account and set my reading goal as 50 books for 2018.  On average that is one a week, but we all know that sometimes you fly though books and with others it can take an age to complete them. 50 is a good number and hopefully I can reach it by the end of the year.

For January, there are a lot of books that I want to read (especially as I got a lot in the month of December). It was very difficult to choose the main four, but here they are:

I received an e-ARC of Keeper by Kim Chance from Netgalley and have already finished reading it, so keep an eye out for my review of it in the next few days.

Currently I am reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, the third book in the Throne of Glass series. Every time I pick up this series to read I get excited (I’m just lucky I have the one after as well).

The other day I pre-ordered Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings and as soon as it arrives you can be sure that I will be reading it. While there are mixed reviews out there already, I want to be able to make up my own mind about the first book in the Duology.

I first started reading Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard a couple of months ago and put it on hold while I tackled some others. January will be the month that I finish it and can finally move on to Kings Cage, just in time for War Storm to come out this year.

Anything else that I manage to read this month is a bonus! As long as I can read these four, I will be happy and on track to reaching my goal of 50 books.

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What books are on your TBR pile for this month?

Wrapping Up The Week (11th Dec – 17th Dec)

It’s nearly one week until Christmas! How excited is everyone about that fact? I have finished all my Christmas shopping and everything is being delivered in the coming week (the postmen are going to hate me). I don’t know about you, but I always feel more relaxed once I have everything organised and all that’s left to do is to wrap the presents and stock up on the drink.

The past week has been much better than my previous ones. My boyfriend is on the mend and we will be able to travel to Ireland after Christmas, something we didn’t think would happen. He’s healing extremely quickly and it’s safe to say that we are over the moon. As well as this, I also started my new job and I couldn’t be happier. It’s makes all the difference when you love what you do and as I get to write for a living in a marketing role, it’s a dream. My new team is great and so friendly, they even got me a few gifts in their secret Santa (something I didn’t think would happen at all). You can see them in the image below (and yes, I did open the wine the other night).

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I especially love the mug, which I will be using everyday for my morning coffee. Not only did I have a great week at work, I finally finished reading a book (cheers in the background) and I will explain about it in the section below.

Books I read and reviewed…

Everless

This, by far, is my favourite read of the year. I was accepted on NetGalley to read Everless by Sara Holland (something I prayed would happen) and as soon as I picked this book up, I didn’t want to put it down. I was hooked from the beginning and it has become one of my favourite YA Fantasy books. It was easy to give this 5 stars and you can read all my thoughts here. 

I am currently reading…

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I put Angelfall on hold while I read Everless, but I am planning on finishing this hopefully (fingers crossed) before we’re halfway through the week. I am over halfway now and I’m really liking it. Angelfall is such an easy read, it’s lighthearted and fun, just what I need at the moment.

Posts from the week…

Unfortunately the only post I wrote this week was the review of Everless, but I will try to do a couple more this week. With the new job, I think I needed time to adjust because I was way more tired in the evenings than I realised I would be. I didn’t even have to energy to write (I’m very sad about this fact).

Other Fun Stuff…

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A few weeks ago Peaky Blinders returned to the BBC for its fourth season and I have been loving it. Season 3, for me, wasn’t as good, but this one just blew everything out of the water. The season finale will be shown on Wednesday, so I am looking forward to that. If anyone hasn’t watched this series then you have to check it out. It’s so addictive!

I haven’t really been doing much else. I’ve been spending some more time on Twitter and connecting with the community there, so if you haven’t given me a follow it would be great if you could (I follow back, too). My novel is coming along, just a little bit slower now that I’ve got my new job. As I will have more time over Christmas I am hoping to knuckle down and churn out at least 1,500 words a day (just 500 more than my normal target).

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I hope that you have all had a great week and that you are enjoying the lead up to Christmas!

ARC Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless

Title: Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Date: 4th January 2018

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

I want to start this review off by saying that I was so happy to find I had been accepted on NetGalley to review Everless by Sara Holland. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it was going to be a book that I would enjoy. It has been a while since I read one that captured my attention and managed to keep it, and trust me when I say that Everless easily managed to do that. I was hooked until I had read the last page and some of the twists that this book had were amazing. Sara Holland created such a unique world and I believed all of it.

Set in the land of Sempera, time is the currency and the rich rule over all. The myth of alchemy and sorcery has been around forever, telling of a time when the two bound time to blood and created blood iron coins that time could be bound to. The richer you are, the more time you have and the poor are selling their time to stay alive. Jules and her father are running out of time and can no longer afford to pay their rent and eat. Her father has given everything and she worries that he now longer has the time they need, so she offers to help by going to Everless.

Everless is the stately home that belongs to the Gerlings, a rich family that Jules and her father have history with. Not everything is as it seems though, and as she remembers her past, she is thrown into a world that she doesn’t truly understand. There are consequences to every action and Jules must try to find the truth of why she was told to stay away from Everless and the Gerlings, especially the Queen.

The world that Holland has created had so much mysterious and I was always left wanting more. She writes beautifully and it flowed well, always making me want to read for longer than I should. We are given the history of Sempera and the blood iron early on in the story, and while it is a lot to take in at once it was described perfectly. The legend of the Alchemist and Sorceress was excellent, and it was believable. As I made my way through the book, I found myself becoming more engrossed and I wanted my questions answered. I wanted to find out the truth and when I did, I was shocked. There were twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting and Holland had me gasping out loud in shock.

The characters in the story are wonderful and mysterious. Personally, I loved Jules and how selfless she was to try and save her father. She is just a girl trying to discover herself and learn how to survive in a world that is cruel. I can’t say too much without giving away plot details, and this isn’t the kind of book that should be spoiled for anyone.

I was glad that even though there were a lot of characters, it didn’t feel like there were too many, and Jules’ relationships with them all seemed genuine. Learning about her past with the Gerling brothers was great and being able to see the comparison with the present was interesting. It was great to read a book where a romance wasn’t at the centre of it. I especially loved the mystery that surrounded the Queen and why she was deemed so dangerous, something you will have to find out by reading this incredible book.

Overall, this book was mind blowing. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to read the second book when it comes out. Holland has created an original and captivating book that I know fans of YA Fantasy will love. It was so easy to give this book 5 stars and it is more than deserving of them!

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