Thursday, 28 January 2016

You And Me Always Blog Tour: Giveaway

Hello you lovely lot! Today I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Jill Mansell's new novel You And Me, Always which is released today! To celebrate publication day I've got 2 copies of the book to give away provided by Jill's lovely publisher. To enter simply follow the rules and fill in the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!


Giveaway Rules 
 To enter you have to fill in the Rafflecopter 
 Open to UK residents only 
 Two winners will be drawn and contacted by email with 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected 
 Make sure you complete what the form asks of you - I do check! Any winner who has not completed an option will be disqualified


Make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Review for Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris 
Publisher: Mira
Release: 11th February 2016
Genre: Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis: 
"Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie."

Review 
We all know a couple like Jack and Grace. He’s a handsome businessman; rich, successful and totally devoted to his wife. She’s the supportive housewife; she has the big house, throws extravagant dinner parties and has a husband who adores her. Together they’re the ultimate couple; they’re the envy of all who know them. But what if the perfect marriage is the perfect lie?

Behind Closed Doors follows Grace, and from the opening pages you know that something is off about her seemingly perfect marriage. Through chapters that alternate between past and present you follow the relationship between Jack and Grace.

In the beginning Jack seems like the perfect partner. Grace doesn’t have many people in her life who are important to her but she does have her younger sister Millie whom she’s fiercely protective of. Millie has Down’s syndrome and, being her guardian, Grace has struggled in the past to find a partner willing to take on both her and her sister. So when Jack and Grace meet through Millie, Grace is thrilled to find someone who cares for her sister as much as she does. After a whirlwind romance Jack and Grace decide to get married but after the wedding Jack’s perfect façade drops and his true intentions towards Grace and Millie are revealed.

In the present day Grace is kept as a prisoner in their home, only brought out to entertain guests at their dinner parties and play the role of Jack’s trophy wife. With Jack’s position as a lawyer and Grace’s lack of family she’s the perfect victim. With the days counting down until Millie leaves school and comes to live with them, can Grace find a way for her little sister to escape the same fate?

Behind Closed Doors was a book that I was consumed by from first to final page. Unlike a lot of thrillers it’s not the twists and turns that grip you, but the horror of Grace’s daily life and the will she/won’t she escape element. It was so interesting to read about what Jack could get away with as a powerful public figure. The book really explores themes of compliance when it comes to authority figures.

Behind Closed Doors is a book that I couldn’t put down. If you pick it up prepare to lose yourself in its pages until the end. It’s a fascinating page turner that will make you question the idea of perfection and wonder what goes on behind closed doors.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

26 Bookish Facts About Me

Today is my 26th birthday and so I thought it would be fun to do a more personal post and share 26 bookish facts about me - one for every year of my life. I hope you enjoy finding out more about me!


1.) On average I read 50 pages in forty minutes.
2.) My Nan is the only family member who regularly reads my blog (Hi Nan!)
3.) I started book blogging because I wanted a place where I could keep my book reviews together (I posted reviews on Amazon for about a year before I started this blog) I had no idea that the UKYA community existed!
4.) The first author I ever met was John Green.
5.) It takes me an hour and a half to write and format a book review.
6.) I met my best friend Ray on a Twilight fan forum.
7.) My favourite genre changes constantly! If you were to ask me right now my favourite genre is Fantasy.
8.) One Christmas, when I was a teenager, I spent the entirety of Christmas day in bed reading the books that I got for Christmas.
9.) I often recommend books to strangers in bookshops if I see them pick up something I love.
10.) My reviews are quoted in 21 books to date.
11.) My favourite blog posts to write are reviews.
12.) My favourite female author is J.K. Rowling (obviously.)
13.) I've met all of my close friends through books be that through blogging or book events.
14.) I find it really hard to finish a series. If there's a long period between book releases I lose interest in the story.
15.) I once bought a book that I already owned by accident.
16.) I collect bookmarks and own over a hundred.
17.) My favourite male author is Brandon Sanderson.
18.) I love treating my friends to books, whether that is gifting them a book once I've finished reading it or buying them a book just because.
19.) Twice when I've been on holiday I've spent the entire day in our holiday rental so that I could finish up a book I was engrossed in. The first time was for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the second time was last year for Queen of Shadows.
20.) My favourite place to read is outdoors.
21.) Some of my favourite childhood memories are of visiting the library.
22.) I only keep my absolute favourite books. The rest I gift to friends or donate to my local second hand bookshop.
23.) When we were kids my brother got a poem that he wrote published in a book. I was so jealous that I vowed that I'd have something that I wrote published in a book one day too and I did!
24.) My favourite reading snack is popcorn.
25.) I'm currently (trying) to write three books: a Middle Grade book about pirates, a gritty contemporary YA and an adult Christmas book!
26.) I'm considering getting a bookish tattoo.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Review for 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Gollancz
Release: 18th February 2016
Genre: YA, Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis: 
"I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don't remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this - it wasn't an accident and I wasn't suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I'm sure of it. But that doesn't mean they didn't try to kill me. Does it?"

Review 
13 Minutes is a masterfully crafted YA Thriller. It’s like Mean Girls on crack and had me so addicted that I’d stay up late into the early hours of the morning to read it.

Tasha is your notorious mean girl so when she’s revived after being dead for thirteen minutes in icy water she knows that this wasn’t an accident and that many people have a reason to want her dead. Her two sidekicks “the barbies” are acting suspiciously so, with nobody to trust and no memory of what happened that night, Tasha turns to her childhood best friend Becca to help put the puzzle pieces surrounding her death into place.

I love books that explore toxic female friendships. The relationships that we make in our teens can be all consuming – bordering on obsession. 13 Minutes portrays these relationships to the extreme. It’s dramatic and exciting to read but also terrifying because behind every action there is an element of truth that’s scarily recognisable.

By the time I reached the final page I was left dazzled at the craft and complexity of this book. It’s such a brilliant study of the pressures that are placed on teenage girls to the point where their lives become one big performance. 13 Minutes doesn’t shy away from the nitty gritty of being a teenage girl and Sarah Pinborough delivers this message with subtle feminist undertones.

Overall 13 Minutes is an unmissable read for lovers of gritty, thrilling YA fiction.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Loved to Listen to (1) Cake, Sisters and Marbles

As you know over the last few months I’ve really been getting into audiobooks. I’ve found that I’m quite the fussy listener and that a terrible narration can ruin a book altogether for me. I figured that if I were to review them it wouldn’t be very fair on the books themselves. It’s not their fault if they’re partnered with a narrator that doesn’t work for me. So instead I decided that I’d start this new feature “Loved to Listen to” sharing with you some of the gems that I’ve discovered on Audible that are worth spending those precious credits on. A narrator can make or break a book and these picks are so good that I’d recommend listening to them on audio rather than buying the actual book. Today I’m starting by sharing three audiobooks about cake, sisters and marbles…


Spectacles by Sue Perkins 
Narrated by Sue Perkins 
Genre: Memoir 
Source: Credit received from Audible in exchange for an honest review 
Buy on Audible 

Review 
Sue Perkins is one of my favourite celebrities. She comes across as intelligent, funny, kind and like someone who has endless fascinating stories to share. I’m not usually interested in celebrity memoirs or autobiographies but was sold on the audiobook version of this with it being narrated by Sue Perkins herself.

Sue’s narration brings this audiobook to life. Listening to her stories is like going to the pub with an old friend for a catch up. I listened to this audiobook whilst doing chores and getting ready in the mornings and it made those mundane tasks so much more bearable. Not many people can make me laugh out loud at 7am on a Monday morning but Sue Perkins did. Not many people can make me cry whilst putting my mascara on but Sue Perkins did.

This book covers cake, travel, dogs, lesbianism, comedy, friendship, family and feminism all delivered in Sue's trademark humorous, warm and intelligent narrative. What's not to love?



Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter 
Narrated by Jennifer Woodward and Robert G Slade 
Genre: Thriller, Crime 
Source: Bought 
Buy on Audible

Review 
Karin Slaughter is an author that I’d heard a lot of good things about, so when her latest standalone crime thriller was recommended to me by somebody who has very similar taste to me in this genre I decided on a whim to try the audiobook with my monthly credit.

The book is told by two narrators Jennifer Woodward and Robert G Slade and they were both fantastic and complemented one another well. I was particularly impressed by Jennifer Woodward who narrates the majority of the book and brought so many characters to life in my mind.

The plot for this book is complex and fascinating with so many twists and turns throughout. I don’t want to spoil any of the twists that begin quite early on the book, so I’ll just say that the plot follows two sisters who begin to uncover the truth about the disappearance of their older sister who went missing twenty years ago. It’s in many ways an old trope but the sinister twists and turns are what make this book really stand out.

If I had to describe this book in three words it would be gripping, gruesome and disturbing. At one point I was listening to this at 1am because I had to know what was happening and I couldn’t sleep for an hour after that because I was so freaked out!

This is simply one of the best Thrillers that I’ve ever read and I really want to check out more from Karin Slaughter.




The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern 
Narrated by Aoife McMahon and Aidan Kelly 
Genre: Fiction, Family 
Source: Credit received from Audible in exchange for an honest review 
Buy on Audible 

Review
I’ve been a reader of Cecelia Ahern’s books since her debut P.S. I Love You first released back when I was a teenager. Her books tend to be a bit hit or miss for me but The Marble Collector was one that I really enjoyed.

The book is told in alternate chapters between a daughter and her father and for the audiobook these chapters are narrated by Aoife McMahon and Aidan Kelly. Their Irish accents really helped set the scene for this book and I enjoyed both of their voices.

The book follows a daughter whose father has lost his marbles - quite literally! Throughout his life he has collected marbles and each one has a deep connection to his identity. Now that her father is struggling with his memory she goes on a journey to find his lost marble collection and reunite them and the memories they represent to her dad.

This book really touched my heart, it’s not often you see books about father/daughter relationships and I loved exploring this one. Fergus was a particularly fascinating character and I loved recovering his memories and learning more about his life.

The Marble Collector is such a brilliant book about identity and memory and how they go hand in hand. One of my favourites by Cecelia Ahern.


Those are the three audiobooks that I've loved to listen to recently. 
I'd love to know what books you've loved to listen to on Audible - I'm always looking for new recommendations!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Never Evers Blog Tour: Tom and Lucy's Favourite UKYA Books


Welcome to my stop on the Never Evers blog tour! Today I have the wonderful duo and authors of Never Evers Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison sharing their favorite UKYA books.


Tom and Lucy's Favourite UKYA Books 

TOM


1. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 & 3/4 - Sue Townsend
Not a very original choice, I'm afraid, but I do think it's one of the best books ever written about being a teenager. Not to mention one of the funniest/most cringeworthy/unputdownable, too. Everything from bullying and first love to school, parents and friendship is covered in an incredibly funny and moving fashion.


2. Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling 
I'm a massive fan of the whole series, but if I have to pick one, I'm going for Goblet of Fire because it's got everything: the Tri-Wizard Cup, the lake, the dragons, the ball, Ron wearing that ridiculous gown... Everything. Plus, I really fancy Fleur.


3. Just William - Richmal Crompton
Like Adrian Mole, this pre-dates the whole existence of the 'YA' genre, but it was a massive favourite of mine growing up, and it really captured the hilarity and confusion and frustration and awkwardness of being a pre-teen.

 LUCY


1. Angus, Thongs & Full Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison 
It's everything UKYA should be - funny, relatable, honest... It was one of the main inspirations for our first book, Lobsters, as we wanted to try and write a Louise Rennison-style book full of cringey comedy, for slightly older teens. Georgia Nicolson is such a great character. Whether she's mistakenly dressing as a stuffed olive, or shaving one of her eyebrows off, you can't help but love her.


2. Silence is Goldfish - Annabel Pitcher
I literally finished it this morning and it is SO good. Brilliantly written, moving and memorable.


3. The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson
Amazingly written, sensitive, real. I loved this book the moment I read it and will always have it on my book shelf and book-push it whenever I can.

 Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today Tom and Lucy! Some of these are my all time favourites too. 

 For more fun from Tom and Lucy don't miss out on the rest of the blog tour!


Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison published by Chicken House is out now priced £6.99 and available from all good bookshops.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Books I'm Anticipating in 2016 That Might Not Be On Your Radar

Hi everyone! I love doing an annual round up of all of the books that I'm looking forward to in the year ahead and I love reading them on other peoples blogs too. I noticed this year that in every post I read the same books keep coming up over and over again, they're the releases by the big gun authors that we all know and love and of course are anticipating. So I decided that this year I'd change it up a bit and share with you some books that I'm anticipating in 2016 that are less obvious and that some of you may not have heard of yet. I hope this post may add a few new books to your wishlist to countdown to alongside those big 2016 releases that we're all looking forward to!

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming March 1st 2016 
Synopsis: "“Seventy-two hours, then we have to be back at the clearing. Sunrise on the third day.”

 Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.

Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens."

Why I Want to Read it – This is a book where the synopsis really sucked me in! This is being pitched as "Outlander for teens" and even is blurbed by Diana Gabaldon herself. I love Scotland and I love rich historical fiction so I think this book will be up my street!


The Land of 10,000 Madonnas by Kate Hattemer 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming April 19th 2016 
Synopsis: "Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend in this heartwarming novel from the author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy.

Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’re gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It’s a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse’s death.

With vivid writing, poignant themes, and abundant doses of humor throughout, Kate Hattemer’s second novel is a satisfying journey about looking for someone else’s answers only to find yourself."

Why I Want to Read it – It's not often that a synopsis gets me teary eyed but this one did! Road trip books are my jam and this one sounds full of emotion, love and adventure as well as taking place across Europe!


Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming January 14th 2016 
Synopsis: ""Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.' Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. 'Are your parents quite disappointed?' 

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?"

Why I Want to Read it – This sounds absolutely hilarious! Despite all of the Women's Fiction I've read over the years I've never read one that has a Muslim women as the main character and I think that's really sad. I'm so looking forward to reading about Sofia's adventures!


Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming February 11th 2016 
Synopsis: "Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

 Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie."

Why I Want to Read it – The early reviews for this have been incredible so far! I love a good Thriller and this looks set to be one of the biggest ones of 2016. Perfect for an anti-valentines day read!


The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine 
 Add to Goodreads 
Coming January 5th 2016 (Out now!) 
Synopsis: "Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found. 

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed."

Why I Want to Read it – I haven't heard anybody talk about this so far but I think the synopsis sounds fascinating! I love Fantasy books about prophecies and this is about a prophecy foretold wrong. Sign me up!


Underwater by Marisa Reichardt 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming April 7th 2016 
Synopsis: "Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside. 

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on."

Why I Want to Read it – I think that Underwater will be a very personal read for me. I connected with the synopsis for this straight away and hope that it lives up to my expectations!


Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming May 5th 2016 
Synopsis: "Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town's bad girl, Lacey, the two bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it's a secret that will change everything..."

Why I Want to Read it – I love reading books about toxic friendships and this sounds like exactly that!


Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming December 27th 2016 
Synopsis: "Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force."

Why I Want to Read it – I think if I had to pick the number one book I'm anticipating on this list it would be this one and I'm so sad we have to wait until December for it! This book sounds like it has it all and I'm in love with the beautiful cover.


Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming February 23rd 2016 
Synopsis: "From debut author Goldy Moldavsky, the story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite boy band has darkly comical and murderous results.

Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band.

We didn't mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it's Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn't be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.

We didn't mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn't. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that's what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.

How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell. "

Why I Want to Read it – I love, love, love the sound of this! I love books that explore superfans and fandom culture and the fact that this has a murderous edge just makes me want to read it more.


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 
Add to Goodreads 
Coming March 3rd 2016 
Synopsis: "It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer. 

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...

Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever."

Why I Want to Read it – Please can I have this now? Pirates and time travel seem to be the big new trends in 2016 and this book combines both in what sounds like an epic adventure. I'm so in love with our UK cover!


 I can't wait to get my hands on these little gems in 2016! 
What books are you anticipating this year?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Review for Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard 
Publisher: Tor
Release: 14th January 2016
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: 
"In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. 

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch."

Review 
Truthwitch is one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2016 so I was beyond excited when I got to read this way back in August 2015. Despite following all of the hype for this book on the journey to publication, and knowing from the very beginning that it was going to be something truly special, I still don’t think I was prepared for what this book would come to mean to me nor realised that it would be such a game changer for YA Fantasy.

What I loved most about Truthwitch, and what makes it so special to me, is that this book has an epic female friendship at its heart which is something I haven’t seen before in Fantasy, at least not on the same scale as Truthwitch. In many ways Truthwitch is a celebration of female friendships those strong, lifelong friendships that become such a part of you that you can’t tell where you end and your best friend begins. If you’re lucky enough to have a friendship as strong as that like I have, it is immediately recognisable in this book and is finally given a name that feels right, that goes deeper than best friend: Threadsister.

Truthwitch follows Threadsisters Safiya and Iseult’s adventures in the Witchlands. Safiya is a Truthwitch meaning that she has the power to tell if somebody is telling her a truth or a lie – a rare highly sought after power. Iseult is a Threadwitch meaning that she can see the ties and relationships people have with those they love. Together the girls are an unstoppable force and are on the run from those who wish to capture Safiya and use her in the war against the Empires.

The world building and pacing in this book knocked me off my feet and kept me turning the pages. The threads of the world building are so cleverly weaved throughout this story so that you’re constantly learning new information right up until the very end. There is literally never a dull moment as you’re continuously discovering more about this world and characters.

As well as Safiya and Iseult’s epic friendship there are also so many ship potentials to have fun with. Susan Dennard excels at intense, steamy chemistry between her characters which was fun (and at times torturous!) to read.

Truthwitch is a bright and shining new addition to the Fantasy genre with an unforgettable friendship between two daring female protagonists at its heart. Don’t miss this lavish new adventure.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Truthwitch Blog Tour: Friendships Discussion With Alyssa and Susan



Hi everyone! I'm absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the Truthwitch pen pal blog tour today to celebrate the release of the phenomenal Truthwitch by Susan Dennard! Truthwitch was one of the best books that I read last year and I'm so excited that it's finally out in the US and will be out in the UK on the 14th January. One of my favourite aspects of Truthwitch is the kickass friendship between our two heroines Safiya and Iseult, so for our stop on the blog tour Alyssa from The Eater of Books and I will be hosting a friendship based, non-spoiler discussion on Truthwitch. Stay tuned until the end as we will have Truthwitch author herself Susan Dennard join us!

                    


Alyssa & Jessica: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Truthwitch blog tour! Today’s stop is hosted by Alyssa (USA) and Jessica (UK). We’ll be discussing Truthwitch in the most non-spoilery way that we can. Join us in the comments!

Alyssa: Truthwitch was quite the whirlwind! What’s one word that encompasses how you felt about the book when you finished? For me, it was probably something along the lines of “OMG”. Although that’s technically not a word… or actually it’s three words… but you get the idea. The book was just WOW!

Jessica: I think for me it was “FINALLY” I don’t think I realised how much I was craving a book about an epic female friendship until I read Truthwitch. Sure, you see strong female friendships in contemporary all the time, but it wasn’t until I read Truthwitch that I realised how lacking they are in fantasy. Usually the heroine is too busy trying to save the world to keep up with her girlfriends so it was fantastic to see two heroines go on an adventure together here.

Alyssa: I didn’t think of that! I think I was more concerned about the fate of our protagonists. :D But that’s so true - YA non-contemporary lit has a bit of a scarcity in strong female friendships. I think one of the the reasons why I love fantasy the most is because of the epic story - but it’s so important to show some female solidarity in what used to be a heavily male-dominated genre. One of my favorite female friendships in non-contemporary YA is Ismae and Sybella’s, from Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassins series (one of my favorite series in YA!). Despite being separated for a book and a half, the pair maintain their strong connection and stand with each other with the duchess. They grew up together and fought together and learned the ways of Death together - not an easy friendship!

Jessica: I love that series too! I think it’s brilliant that Truthwitch is bringing female friendships into the limelight especially for a teenage audience in YA. As a teenager the most important thing to me were my friendships and so it’s great to see that being reflected more and more in YA. Truthwitch got me thinking about other strong female friendships that I’ve loved in books. Staying in the fantasy genre I love the friendship between Celaena and Nehemia in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas . I think that Sarah and Susan’s friendship is reflected in their own characters which is wonderful to see.

Alyssa: Celaena and Nehemia’s friendship surprised me! I wasn’t expecting them to be so deeply connected, but I loved how their friendship came about. It’s such a beautiful reflection of Sarah and Susan’s relationship! As well as Safi and Iseult’s friendship. I love seeing authors who are such good friends! Another set of powerful relationships in YA fantasy is the six girls in the Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly. There are six girls who are linked together by ancient magic, and while they had a rocky start when they learned about each other, their friendship and connection became very unshakeable. Especially Serafina and Neela’s! They are like sisters. All of these strong friendships show that there can be an epic plot and all the impending doom of saving the world, but a girl can always have time for friends! And other relationships, amirite?

Jessica: Speaking of other relationships, who are you shipping in Truthwitch!? As well as friendships Sooz does romantic relationships so, so well. I could practically feel the chemistry sizzling off the page for some couples! There is a ball scene early on in Truthwitch that had me blushing! My favourite ship though is a bit spoilery so I don’t want to say too much here but let’s just say it involves Iseult and had me feeling ALL OF THE FEELS come the end of the book!

Alyssa: Oh my goshhhhh, I ship Merik and Safi so hard! I think by now, most people know at least about this couple. There are (in my opinion) two other ships in the book BUT *zips lips*. For any readers interested in a swoony Merik/Safi scene, I shared one during the Waterwitch Babes blog tour! One of my favorite scenes - along with the ballroom scene. I loooove the pair’s banter. There are two other pairs, one of which is not quite a ship - yet! What do you think - will Sooz go in that direction in the next books? :D

Jessica: I think she will! I’ve spoken to a couple of friends who have read it and they seem to think the same which I’m very excited about.

Alyssa: It would be so great! I love that pair. My favorite ship has to be Merik and Safi though. While I love the girls, Merik is my favorite character - he’s got a bit of a temper, which I love. He’s also so duty-bound and driven, and he has good intentions and a fierceness about him that I really like. He’s so devoted to Nubrevna, which is honorable and respectable. But mostly, I like his temper. The first meeting between him and Safi is precious!

Jessica: I’ve seen a lot of love for Merik! I think my favourite character has to be Iseult. I can see a lot of Iseult and Safi’s relationship between myself and my best friend. When we took the quiz on the Truthwitch website to find out which character we are I wasn’t the least bit surprised when she got Safi and I got Iseult. I see a lot of myself in Iseult, she’s very relatable to me so I think that if I had to choose she would be my favourite character.

I see you’re in the Water clan - are you a Waterwitch then? I love all of the different types of witchery in this book and can never decide which type of power I would like to have! I took a quiz (yes, I am addicted to these quizzes okay?) that placed me as a Waterwitch but I also love the idea of being a Wordwitch! If any readers would like to find out what type of witch they’d be you can take the quiz here.

Alyssa: Yes and no! I was placed as a Voidwitch when I took the quiz, which I took twice (“Void is the element of power. It is creative and inventive and dark. Your choices reflected an original mind, open to many things. Void is the possibility of everything.” - I’m okay with that!). BUT I definitely identify with the Waterwitches - as a Waterwitch clan of Sooz’s Witchlanders street team. I love the street team! It’s a lot of fun and we do tons of creative promotional stuff, rather than spammy repetitive messages. Sooz is fantastic!

I think being a Waterwitch would be epic - the Waterwitch in Truthwitch is one of my favorite characters. I think being a Poisonwitch would be interesting (as it is a subset of Waterwitchery)! I’m a chemistry nerd so the thirst for that type of knowledge is there. I cannot wait to discover more types of witches in the future books! Do you think we’ll get to meet more rare types, like Truthwitches or witches from the Void like Aeduan?

Jessica: I LOVE the street team. I have a few friends who are part of it and it looks so fun! Ohhh you’re right a Poisonwitch would be so interesting. I love that there is so much potential for different types of magic in Truthwitch and I definitely think that more types will get revealed throughout the series. I felt like in Truthwitch we were only just being introduced to this world and new magic system and that Sooz has so much more in store for us! Because I got to read Truthwitch early there is such a long wait for book two and it’s already killing me! Trying to keep this spoiler free, what would you like to see from the next book?

Alyssa: Ahem, more from the ships! Safi and Merik (it IS called Windwitch!), but also development of the one ship that we shan’t spoil! I’d also like to see Safi develop and wield her Truthwitch power, which I think is very probable. I also think we’ll see a lot more of Aeduan and his internal struggle with certain… things. And you?

Jessica: Most of the things that I want to see more of are spoilery! Let’s just say that I’d love to learn more about Safi and Iseult’s friendship and what that means for this world. I’d also love to see more of Aeduan and the ship that we can not spoil!

Alyssa & Jessica: Thanks for reading our discussion *cough* fangirling *cough* of Truthwitch. We’d now like to welcome Truthwitch author Susan Dennard to join the discussion and answer our question for her.


Alyssa & Jessica: If you and your friends lived in the Witchlands, what would you get up to?

Susan: If my friends and I lived in the Witchlands…Well, as much as I’d like to say we’d be down in the Pirate Republic of Saldonica raising a ruckus, let’s be honest! My friends and I (most of whom are authors) would probably live in the canal-filled, trade hub of Veñaza City. We’d all be Wordwitches (able to magically manipulate spoken and written word to persuade or tell fantastic stoires), and we’d probably sit in a coffee shop all day while we waxed poetic. ;)

Hmmmm, the pirate option was way more fun, wasn’t it?

 If you've read Truthwitch feel free to join in with our discussion in the comments! And make sure to follow the rest of the blog tour for more Truthwitch goodness. 

 Find out more about Susan and her books at: http://susandennard.com/

Sunday, 3 January 2016

My Top 10 Favourite Books of 2015

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I'm so excited for a new year of books and blogging to begin but first we have to get out with the old, to get in with the new and so to wrap up my reading for 2015 today I'm sharing with you my top ten favourite books read last year.

I managed to read 123 books so getting it down to 10 was hard and there are so many wonderful books that didn't make this list that I loved too. These ten books aren't necessarily the best, most accomplished, well written books I read this year but rather personal favourites that left a lasting impression on me. I'm going to be counting down in order finishing on my number one favourite book of 2015 so let's get started!

10

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 
What I loved about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is that despite being a LGBT book it doesn't feel like a LGBT book and what I mean by that is that this is simply a love story that just happens to be between two guys. There are so many fantastic books out there about coming out and what it's like to be a gay teenager that are so profound and moving and important but with this book the focus was on the romance and I loved the normality of it. This book felt like a turning point in LGBT fiction for me and I adored everything about it. 

 9

Winter by Marissa Meyer 
The Lunar Chronicles is such a fantastic series all round but I think what made Winter especially impressive is how Marissa Meyer managed to tie in four different fairytales into one book giving each of them enough time to wrap up, not only with the plot of Winter, but with their individual stories. Despite this book being a 823 page monster I was constantly gripped by this finale and never wanted it to end. Now that is an accomplishment!

 8

The Murder Most Unladylike Series by Robin Stevens 
I'm totally cheating here and including all three books in this series because I read them all this year and can't choose between them - they are all so good! The Murder Most Unladylike series as a whole is some of the most fun I've had with reading this year. This might be a Middle Grade series but it's so enjoyable for any age group. The series is set in 1934 and follows the adventures of Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong as they start their own detective agency when a murder happens at their boarding school. This is a series that just makes me so happy and I can't wait for the fourth installment in 2016. 

7

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard 
Luckily for you guys Truthwitch is finally out in two days time and I'm so jealous of everyone who has yet to read it! I got to read a US ARC of this back in August and since then I've been obsessed with this book (to put it mildly.) My favourite thing about Truthwitch that I think makes it stand out from all other YA Fantasy out there at the moment is that at the centre of this story is the friendship between two girls Safiya and Iseult. It was so refreshing to see a Fantasty novel with friendship at its heart. Truthwitch is in many ways a celebration of strong female friendship and is such a special book for me.

 6

One by Sarah Crossan 
One is probably the most unique and moving book that I read in 2015. It's the first book that I've read that's written in free verse and I was taken aback by how beautiful I found it to read. One follows Grace and Tippi and their life as conjoined twins. I don't think another book made me cry as hard as this book did last year.

5

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 
You know those books that completely transport you to somewhere else? So much so that you look up from reading and forget where you are for a moment? Well A Darker Shade of Magic did that for me. I was so caught up in this world of grey, red, white and black that even now I just have to close my eyes and I can imagine it so clearly. V.E. Schwab's writing is astounding and I'm so excited for A Gathering of Shadows to be released this year!

 4

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller 
Hello, heartbreak Madeline Miller be thy name. To put it simply this is one of the greatest love stories I've ever read and I can't actually talk about it all that much because I start to cry. Needless to say that this genre isn't my usual hangout but OMG IT DOESN'T MATTER! If you like books at all you need to read this book.

 3

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne 
Oh, obviously! Seriously, if you know me at all then you'll know that this book was going to make my top ten. I think that out of all of the books on this list Am I Normal Yet? was the one that I had the most personal connection with. This book is about OCD and feminism and it just hit my heart in all the right places. I'm pretty sure that for as long as she keeps writing, Holly's books will make it into my favourites list every year.

 2

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson 
Yes, I'm cheating again by including the whole series. Just one? Shut up! You can't make me choose! Ahem. So when I tried to review the first book in this series The Final Empire I stared at a blank space for some time and ended up just typing "Epic" and leaving it at that because this series made all of my words seem worthless and futile when trying to describe it. Brandon Sanderson quickly became my Fantasy King last year and this year I made an actual New Years resolution to "read more Brandon Sanderson" that guy is a freaking word magician and if you like fantasy and haven't read the Mistborn series yet then you are missing out.

 *drum rolls* 

1

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
In case you hadn't guessed already from my not-so-subtle hints all over the internetz Six of Crows is my official favourite book of 2015. If you've read the Grisha trilogy Six of Crows is a bit like that, only on steroids. It also includes a brilliant cast of diverse, questionable characters who will become the characters that you care about MOST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD because they are so messed up yet precious. As well as being set in an epic fantasy world and having the best cast of characters of the year, there is also a heist because Leigh obviously didn't feel like this was enough already. Six of Crows was everything I love rolled into one and it's hard to imagine that anything other than the sequel will ever compare to it.

 So there you have it, did any of these books feature in your favourite books of 2015? 

Looking back on this list 2016 has a lot to live up to! Bring it on!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blog design by Imagination Designs using images from the Valentine Owls and Valentine's Day clip art kits by Pink Pueblo