Friday, 31 October 2014

October Book Haul


It's Halloween!

It's also book haul time.

 

Considering the level of self-restraint I had this month, I think it's clear to say that I'm fit to take over the world. My pile of books I've bought make a one digit number. Yep. ONE
And that number is 6. Or 3 really. The other 3 were bought using other means.


#1 - Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Read and reviewed this and absolutely loved it! Possibly the best YA Fantasy I've ever read!

#2 - Ink by Amanda Sun
I've been so eager to read this! A book set in the beautiful Japan!

#3 - Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman
Red. Freaking. Pages.

#4 & #5 - The Dreams Thieves & Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
I read The Raven Boys this month and fell in love with this series so I obviously had to pick up the rest of the book, including newest release - Blue Lily, Lily Blue! (Look at that gorgeous spine. It has blinded me with its beauty.)
TDT Goodreads | BLLB Goodreads

And finally...

 
The final volume in the Vampire Knight Manga by Matsuri Hino
I live and breathe in this series. It's incredible and the artwork is just breathtaking. The limited edition comes with a special art book with fabulous drawings so get your hands on one quick if you're a fan of this series!
Goodreads

I also received quite a number of books for review this month!

23303106 23388346 23153555 22044335

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Thank you to the publishers and bookbridgr for the review copies!

Any of these take your interest?
What books did you get this month? (Hopefully not too many!)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

REVIEW: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

17399160Author: Sara Raasch
Published by: Balzar & Bray on 14th October 2014
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy/Fantasy, Magic
Pages: 422
Format: Hardback
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | B&N

Summary:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterian's only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians' general, Sir. Training to be a warrior - and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather - she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn't go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into the world of evil magic and dangerous politics - and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.



It's okay to say an Author is one of your favourites even if you have only read only one of their books right?
Right.
Because Sara Raasch is definitely one of my favourites now.
I wasted no time in ordering a copy of this book (even though it hasn't been published in the UK yet).

GOD.
Where to begin? Snow Like Ashes was brilliant. Brill-iant. As one of my highly anticipated 2014 books, it didn't reach my expectations. It exceeded them. For someone who adores Fantasy, I have to say that this is one of the best YA Fantasy novels I have ever read and I've read quite a few. I was sucked in and taken by the staggeringly impressive world-building within the first 15 or so pages. It was so refreshing to welcome a brand new world for me to drown myself in.

People may say those who love Game of Thrones would find this book an ideal read, but I, myself, haven't read George R.R. Martin's epic High Fantasy series and I'm not a fan of the TV show, and I still loved this book. This is the start of a sparkling new Fantasy trilogy led by a strong-willed and not to mention, totally kick-ass female protagonist - Meira.

Meira is one of 8 survivors from the kingdom of Winter. Primoria is made up of 8 kingdoms. 4 Season kingdoms - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter which are subject to only one type of climate, taking after their name. And 4 kingdoms known as the Rhythm kingdoms who experience all 4 seasonal cycles as usual. What's special about this is that the people of each kingdom are born with characteristics that reflect their kingdom name. For example, the people of Winter (Winterians) are born with pale white skin and hair, constantly welcoming the cold. I found this idea pretty neat because we get a range of diverse characters! Each kingdom also has a royal conduit - an inanimate object that had been infused with magic by the chasm before it disappeared. But of course, we have our power hungry enemies - the kingdom of Spring. 

There is so much I can say about the setting, I can go on for hours but let's focus on the main issue at hand here. The plot is undeniably clever and well planned, there is never a dull moment. With a war in the making, Meira is a character who is constantly trying to prove herself to her kindgom's general - Sir. I love how she is the stubborn yet confident fighter who would do anything for the sake of a kingdom she has never known. She has flaws yet there is nothing that screams 'unlikeable' about her. She is the type of female protagonist I seek because Meira is incredible. She isn't afraid to stand her ground and never allows the fact that she is a woman, stop her from achieving her goal. Especially this one scene where her marriage to Cordell's Prince is supposedly the only way to save their kingdom.

'I jam my elbow into Sir's stomach and rip his hand off my neck. He stumbles back, coughing, a look of shock falling over him. "No." ... "You do not get to lecture me like this is some lesson you're trying to drill into my head. This isn't our training tent. This is my life."'

Freaking yes! For once, women are defended against the stereotypes and actually have some importance other than being used for marriages and alliances. I loved how Meira stood up for this. Another thing I want to add is how some kingdoms require a female heir to use magic. FEMALES. Extra brownie points for that one.

You know what was even better? The Romance in this book didn't overtake the main purpose of the plot. It's brief and doesn't completely consume Meira's thoughts and isn't heavily detailed that it drags on. It was simply perfect and wonderful. Yes, there is a love-triangle, circling around Meira, her best friend Mather and Prince Theron of Cordell. I'm kicking myself about this because I loved both love interests. The author doesn't give you any incentive to actually hate either guy and that makes me feel like someone rammed a knife in my gut and is constantly twisting it in.

WHY MAKE US SUFFER THIS WAY?

I loved the writing and the simple yet expressive flow of words that are easily read off the page. Because it is a somewhat lengthy book, we see actual relationships develop. My favourite has to be between Meira and the general who raised her - Sir. (Or William) I loved how she strives to be acknowledged by him and constantly seeing him as a father figure, despite him being against the idea.

There's so much excitement, intense battle scenes galore and heart-stopping action. It's extremely difficult to put this book down. I absolutely loved it. The characters were incredible, the plot was filled with so many unexpected twists and not to mention that show stopper ending that stole my breath away. FABULOUS. I will read this book over and over, and that means you should too.

Rating:
Gold Wreath

Phenomenal.

Friday, 24 October 2014

REVIEW: The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas

23388346I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any form.

Author: Jo Thomas
Published by: Headline Publishing on 6th November 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Chick-Lit, Romance
Pages: 375
Format: ARC
Source: HeadlinePG, bookbridgr
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Book Depository

Summary:

Dooleybridge, County Galway.
Population: 482 (or thereabouts).

The last place Fiona Clutterbuck expects to end up, alone, on her wedding night.

But after the words 'I do' have barely left her mouth, that's exactly where she is - with only her sequined shoes and a crashed camper van for company.

One thing is certain: Fi can't go back. So when the opportunity arises to work for a local oyster farmer, Sean Thornton, she jumps at the chance. Now Fi must navigate suspicious locals, jealous rivals and a wild, unpredictable boss if she's to find a new life, and love, on the Irish coast. And nothing - not even a chronic fear of water - is going to hold her back.



This book.

Honestly. I stayed up until 4AM last night to finish this book because once I started it, I couldn't put it down. Recently, I've been reading quite the number of Chick-Lit books and am loving them. But The Oyster Catcher takes the icing on the cake. This book is set in Ireland. IRELAND. I love the Irish and I long to visit the country some day, but this book practically had me feeling like I was right there, with the characters experiencing the glorious Irish coast and community feel of the small town this book is centered around.

We meet our female protagonist, Fi, who has just runaway after being jilted in the worst way possible at her wedding. She had guts to jump into a camper van and drive off with nothing but her wedding clothes and a couple Euros. (I also forget that Ireland use Euros and not GBP which is cool.) She was a brave character who is quick-thinking and courageous. Throughout the book I loved watching her become part of a community in the small town after living for so many years as a city girl. This is exactly what I wish to do too. Despite the age gap between Fi and I, I could relate to her in so many ways. Jo Thomas excelled in character development.

Then there was Sean Thornton - the oyster farmer. He is quite the enigma and I had no idea what to think of him at first. He's vulnerable deep down yet his exterior is cold and hard like a glacier.
 

There was just something about him that made him charming and very likeable. I loved the mysterious back story he slowly revealed to Fi and eventually warming up until I felt like hugging him. Let's not forget how much we readers learn about Oysters. I'm not a fan of seafood in all honesty but I was certainly surprised and excited to learn so much about oyster farming and how it all works. It was insightful and different!

There's just so much drama that keeps you sucked in and not to mention how the book explores the greatness of being in a community. I loved the writing. I laughed. I got emotional and I had fun reading. Though we get small chunks of 3rd person paragraphs from Sean's POV, I wished there was more. The ending, in my opinion made me feel a little iffy. I liked it but I guess I was expecting something else.

This is just a beautiful story which is both fun and intense. The characters were all incredible and realistic and funny, I just wanted to be a part of their community! This is a great book to curl up with with a plate of chocolates (or fruit!). I just... *sigh* I loved it.

Rating:
Silver Wreath

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

REVIEW: Lips Touch by Laini Taylor

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any form.

Author: Laini Taylor
Illustrator: Jim Di Bartolo
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton on 24th October 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Short-Story, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 266
Format: Paperback
Source: Hodder, bookbridgr
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | B&N US

Summary:

In Victorian times, goblins offered sumptuous fruits in exchange for maiden's souls... and were usually successful. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy young women? Discover the answer in GOBLIN FRUIT.

In SPICY LITTLE CURSES a demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test the curse placed upon her.

And in HATCHLING, six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful fanged man ant with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?



Laini Taylor is a genius. It's no secret that her writing is spectacular, especially after reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone, there was no reason for me to pick up her other books. I rarely read short-stories, mostly due to me preferring to spend hours holed up on one lengthy book and savor it. It was an absolute pleasure to have gotten the chance to read Lips Touch and I absolutely loved it.

The writing, as always, was sensational. So cleverly written, lyrical and poetic that the words were practically singing as I read them off the page. The 3 stories - all Fantasy and Supernatural based - each were unique and enthralling in their own way. They were dark, gritty and breath-taking. Each story was the perfect length with enough detail and plot to draw you in for a while.

As a huge fan of the US hit-series Supernatural, I'm drawn to books about devils, demons and all that intense goodness. I loved all the lore and Laini's own creations. The illustrations brought the book to life, I really do commend Jim Di Bartolo on his artwork! Out of the 3, I think HATCHLING was my favourite. The story was somewhat chilling and detailed. I fell in love with Mihai. His character was certainly the most intriguing as he was mysterious, charming and somewhat tortured. In all honesty, nearly all the characters were just as wonderful and different.

You can't help but hope for happy endings but I think Laini Taylor might just surprise you with this book. You never know what to expect and there's always a twist around the corner. The romance too, was bittersweet and flowed with the rest of the story.

This is the perfect book to cuddle up with by a warm fire. It's fairly short and enjoyable. If you love beautiful writing, unique twists and aren't afraid of dark themes, then this the perfect book for you! Then again. I would highly recommend everyone to read this book.

Rating:
Gold Wreath



Sensational!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Blog Tour: The Vilincia Coven: The Watcher


Hey everyone!

Welcome to my stop in the Vilincia Coven Blog Tour! If you love YA Paranormal books then stick around as I'll be reviewing Jennifer Thompson's The Vilincia Coven: The Watcher. There's also a giveaway currently ongoing where you will have the chance to win a paperback copy of this book!

Giveaway Link: click here

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Author: Jennifer Thompson
Published by: CreateSpace on 30th December 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 370
Format: Paperback
Series: The Vilincia Coven #1
Source: Author

Summary:

A coven of witches hidden by a small town. The secrets buried deep in the past are finally breaking ground. The third generation of coven kids are now faced with the task of fixing the mistakes of their ancestors. With time running out, can they save the world from their past? Or will they die trying to save us all?



So I'm a fan of Witches and Paranormal. As soon as I read the summary of this book, I dived at the chance to read it. It truly had a interesting summary and I was intrigued to see what sort of adventure and twists this story would have.

We are briefly introduced into the Vilincia world, given a little back story on the coven that involved 8 families. Set in a more modern day and age, we have our main protagonist Cole Taylor - his destiny is to become the god to protect mankind. Cole is assigned a Watcher who would observe and protect him for 2 years before leaving. This Watcher happens to be the daughter of one of the families part of the coven that were cursed many years ago, and the girl Cole falls in love with.

This is a very fast paced and easy read. I breezed through the book in no time at all and found myself enjoying it an awful lot. There are a lot of characters that made the book fun and enjoyable. There is magic and dark elements that made it gritty and thrilling and despite the grammatical errors, I really liked it. It is very different to anything I've read and Cole makes a very strong protagonist. (I also loved the fact that he wasn't some hormonal teenage boy, he was very sweet when it came to his relationship with Whitney!) His friendship with Benson was admirable. I loved reading their scenes and watching their friendship grow even stronger. They make a great pair!

I would have liked if some scenes were a little longer as I felt more could have been said. We get quite a lot of jumping from scene to scene and it's pretty quick too. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. There is so much mystery and action, a bit of everything really. Lots of romance too! It's just a really fun and exciting book! The twists are never-ending and I really look forward to reading the next book. I recommend people give this book a try!

Rating:
Silver Wreath

(Huge thank you to Jennifer for kindly sending me a review copy!)


About the Author: 

I’m a mom of three and I love to write! I have a devoted husband who puts up with all my writing. When I’m not blogging or writing I’m curled up reading or playing with the kids. I am a stay at home mom and have to keep everyone happy. It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. While I love reading children’s books to my kids I love to read and write about paranormal romance. Even the strange and unusual find love too and I like to pretend I live it.

I love to sing and have been known to play bass guitar from time to time. I do spend a lot of time helping out at the school my children attend. I love to play and what better way than to run wild with the minds of an elementary school. I love to create new things and bring happiness into the classroom. Although I could swear sometimes the teacher’s wish I didn’t cause chaos from time to time. Outside of school I spend a lot of time watching my kids play sports, yes I’m a soccer mom! I love it!



Monday, 6 October 2014

Cover Reveal: The Reckoning by Emma Jones

 Hey everyone!

Today I have an exciting post to share. I'll be revealing the cover of Emma Jones upcoming book The Reckoning - the fabulous sequel to The Awakening. If you are a fan of Supernatural/Paranormal Fiction then definitely give this series a try! 

Now it's time to unveil the cover! (Hint: It's awesome.)



Author/Book Info:


Hi my name is Emma & I have always loved books. About 8 years ago I started dabbling with writing & got hooked. I decided to self publish after some serious health issues in my family & I thought why not? Life really is too short.

The Awakening was self published December 2013 & I've learnt a lot from the experience. The Reckoning (the sequel) has been brilliant to write as I've learnt so much about my characters & literally sometimes couldn't sleep as a storyline or conversation jumped into my head. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it. Expected publication date is November 2014 but for now here is my amazing cover.


Let me know what you think & feel free to add to your Goodreads TBR list.

Thank you so much.
XXX

Links:

If you'd like to get in touch or keep up to date with bookish news you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my blog.

https://twitter.com/booksemmajones 
http://booksbyemmajones.blogspot.co.uk/ 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-by-Emma-Jones/611953792173504 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7553673.Emma_Jones


Blurb of The Reckoning:


As Lauren wakes after her 21st party she's not sure if she's hungover or dreaming but then she remembers.

The necklace. The flashback. The bond. Daniel.

The consequences are great & details unknown. After a visit to the vampire council things settle down until vivid worrying dreams start to disrupt Lauren's sleep & life.

The national news is filled with big cat killings but Lauren knows the truth & is being dragged into dark souls & black magic. Someone dangerous is getting into her head & her involvement with the council tests her relationships.


How will Lauren cope? Is there a happy ending? Will blood be shed?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

October YA Releases 2014!




It's finally October and the start of one of my favourite seasons of the year - AUTUMN!

This means brown leaves, chilly weather (so get those winter jumpers and scarves out!) and most importantly... wonderful October book releases!

That's right. This month, prepare yourself for high levels of fangirlig with all the exciting new books that are either the continuation of a series or something new entirely, that will finally be available for purchase! Let's not forget that Halloween is also round the corner so get those pumpkin's out and get decorating.
P.S. Don't forget the candy.


Before I forget to mention, this month Georgie @ What She Reads is hosting an awesome Hallowread with a few other fellow bloggers. Get in the Halloween spirit and pick up a few spooky books and join in with the fun! Don't forget to use the hashtag #hallowread2014!

I hope to join in with the readathon so check it out if you're interested!

Details: Click here.

All-righty! Below I will list the October releases that I am most looking forward to and will hope to get a hold of as soon as possible. See if any take your fancy!


My True Love Gave To Me

22914373
Authors include: Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, David Levithan, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Kiersten White, Matt de la Peña
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Short Stories, Romance
Goodreads: link
Release Date: 9th October 2014

This is an exciting mash up of 12 short stories, each one by a different author! Set during the festive period of Christmas, each installment has a beautiful story to share. Some of my favourite author's have written a piece for this book which I cannot wait to read. (Also, the UK cover is gorgeous. PINK COLOURED PAGES!)


Snow Like Ashes


17399160Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic
Goodreads: link
Release Date: 14th October 2014

I've had my eye on this book for absolute ages. I can't wait to finally grab a copy, especially with a cover like that! It's glorious!
This is the first book in a new Fantasy series. The Kingdom of Winter was conquered leaving them without a monarch or magic. Protagonist Meira is a survivor and orphan, training to be a warrior and in love with her best friend, and future King, Mather. She goes on a quest to find an ancient locket rumored to have the ability to restore their kingdom's magic. But her journey is no easy one.

I love the sound of this one!



Blue Lily, Lily Blue


22978079Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Goodreads: linkBook #1 link
Release Date: 21st October 2014

This is the third installment in the Raven Cycle with one more book left in this quartet! I've only started this series, having neglecting The Raven Boys for a while (I know, I'm horrid.) I picked it up after hearing so many intriguing comments about this series. Now I love it and can't wait to continue and I will definitely be reading The Dream Thieves before the 3rd book is released!
I don't want to go into too much detail about this book for spoiler reasons but do check out this series if you haven't read it yet! 



Talon


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Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dragons
Goodreads: link
Release Date: 28th October 2014

DRAGONS. Yes, you read correct! Julie Kagawa, author of the The Iron Fey series and the Blood of Eden trilogy, now has another epic series to share. This time, involving dragons! 

Dante and Ember Hill are the only brother and sister known to dragonkind. Dragon's have been hunted by slayers part of the Order, forcing the Dragons of Talon to hide in human form. Ember wishes for freedom before she is tied down by destiny as a dragon.
Soldier, Garret Xavier Sebastian's duty is to hunt dragons. When he meets Ember, he discovers truths that had been hidden from him, forcing him to question the real motives of the Order.

Awesome right?



The Young Elites


20821111Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Goodreads: link

Author of the gripping Legend trilogy, Marie Lu has a brand new series for us and it sounds like it's a pretty good one! 
This is another book I've been eagerly waiting for and now there are mere days away until publication!

Adelina is a survivor of the blood fever - a deadly illness that had spread throughout the nation. Many children survived with strange markings left behind on them. Rumored to possess powers, these special children are known as the Young Elites. 
Teren believes the Young Elites are dangerous and need to be removed. Enzo is a member of the Dagger Society. Their paths cross with Adelina who is seeking vengeance for being ousted by her family, all of them discovering dark secrets that could change everything.


That's my top 5 October releases that I am most excited for. Of course, there are many more incredible books that have my interest but haven't completely won me over yet. 

Recognize any of these titles? Any take your interest? Let me know what October releases you are most excited for!