Jun 26, 2016 - Read-A-Thon    No Comments

Daily Bookish Challenge: Day Two

Day Two: Sunday, June 26

If you liked this… You should try this…

I’m actually the worst at doing this. Ask me for some recommendations, and I’ll drown you in them. Ask me to compare books, and I’ll do a really good impression of a door stop. This time though, I think I’ve got a good one!

If you like The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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You should try The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung

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Like Locke, Amra Thetys is a thief that manages to get herself into all kinds of mischief, and yet still manages to get up after each beating and see her tasks through. She’s less humorous than Locke, but she’s definitely not lacking in attitude, stubbornness and loyalty to her friends.

You can find out more about Amra and her shenanigans on Goodreads.


Read-A-Thon Progress Report

I actually got more reading done yesterday than I was expecting to, considering work is currently trying to ruin my life. I split my time yesterday between The Dagger’s Path by Glenda Larke and A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty, mostly because I decided to go to bed and read, and it’s easier to use the kindle app on my phone.

Books in Progress: 2
Books Completed: 0
Pages Read (Day): 161
Pages Read (Total): 161 

Jun 25, 2016 - Read-A-Thon    No Comments

Daily Bookish Challenge: Day One

Trees of Reverie June 25 – July 03 2016 Read-A-Thon
Day One: Saturday, June 25

Set a TBR List & Reading Goals

My TBR list for this read-a-thon is pretty simple:

  • The Daggar’s Path by Glenda Larke
  • Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

These are books I’ve started over the last couple of months, and for various reasons haven’t quite gotten around to finishing. If by some miracle I get through them all (and I really hope I do!), then I’ll pick a couple of books at random from the Tower of Doom.

Each day, I’ll post an update on how many pages I got through the day before, as well as the daily challenge.

Don’t forget you can also vote for the books I’ll read during the Make Me Read It! Read-A-Thon, which starts in a couple of weeks.

Jun 24, 2016 - Read-A-Thon    6 Comments

Read-A-Thons Everywhere!

Over the month or so, I’ll be participating in TWO read-a-thons!

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First up is a nice casual, low-key event hosted by the lovely Sarah at Trees of Reverie. I’ve done this one a couple of times before, and I love the daily challenges, and that I can pick as many books as I like! Usually, I make a pile and work my way through as many as I can before it ends. This one is nice and short, only a week, so I’m curious to see just how many I can get through.

While sign ups have now closed, you can definitely participate unofficially!

The second is one I haven’t done before, and I’m really looking forward to!

Hosted by Ely at Tea and Titles and Val at The Innocent Smiley, the Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon puts my reading list in YOUR hands. Exciting, no?

How It Works

Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you’ve borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I’d pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the read-a-thon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there’s a tie, then it’s your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible.

This one is running from 9th – 16th of July, so again, nice and short. The poll will be running right up until the read-a-thon starts, when I’ll publish the official list in order.

And hopefully between the two of them, I’ll make a decent dent in my treacherous TBR pile!

 

Guest Post: Exploring the Ick Factor with Kathy Bryson

I have a confession. I don’t like gore. I watch psychological thrillers with one eye closed, but I can’t sit through slasher films at all. This is in part because I don’t like to see people in pain, but it’s also because so many of these films are just gross.

So how did I manage to write a zombie novella being kinda squeamish? Well, I’m a writing tutor, but I’ve coached enough students through Anatomy & Physiology to know the reality of death. And amazingly, it’s not as gory as you’d think.

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Jun 4, 2016 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

Weekend Wrap Up: Book Haul Edition

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve done one of these, so thought I’d give an update on recent happenings.

New Books

I have been waiting for Long Dark Dusk for aaaages and I am so excited to read it. Also looking forward to jumping into Watershed by Jane Abbott, courtesy of a competition run by Dymocks.

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May’s YA Chronicles box features The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, which I’ve been hearing A LOT about. Probably not one I would have chosen for myself, but I’m looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. Also pictured is the cutest ice cream bookmark from The Woods Avenue and Nook & Burrow‘s Fairy Bread candle. Not pictured is a delicious jasmine bath bomb, as it has been passed on to a house that actually has a bath!

 

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A couple of weeks ago I saw Tommy Wallach at Readings, and I would just like to say that he is a thoroughly delightful human being. I haven’t read Thanks for the Trouble yet, but you can read my review of We All Looked Up here.

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And finally we have Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, courtesy of a competition by Hachette. I’m waiting for a suitably gloomy evening to get stuck into this one!

 

New ARCs

Quite a few new goodies over the past couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to reading them all over the coming months.

Book Reviews

Managed to sneak a few reviews in last month before Life came to steal me away.

 

Guest Posts and Book Tours

I’ve had a few people visit last month, and share all kinds of interesting bits and pieces.

And in the tour space:

So that’s what I’ve been up to – which ones catch your eye?

Jun 3, 2016 - Book Tour    1 Comment

Book Tour: Smoke and Mirrors by Jess Haines

Smoke and Mirrors
Jess Haines
(Blackhollow Academy #1)
Publication date: May 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / All Romance Ebooks / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

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May 24, 2016 - Book News    2 Comments

Darth Vader’s Guide to Space Books

Okay so Darth actually has nothing to do with this, but I finally watched The Force Awakens last week, and now I’m really keen on books involving space awesomeness. So here are 10 books in no particular order involving the final frontier.

Time Salvager by Wes Chu

Oh boy did I love this book.
Snarky main character, accessible science, fantastic world building, brilliant story telling – this one had me up until the wee hours because I just couldn’t put it down.

Find it on goodreads.

The Martian by Andy Weir

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I haven’t actually read this one yet (I have issues with movie tie-in covers), but like most people, I have seen the movie and between that and the quotes I’ve seen posted from the book itself, I really really need to do something about that. It has a fantastic plot/concept, and it’s funny. I need more funny in my life.

Find it on goodreads.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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Speaking of funny! It’s not a list involving space without the best book in the galaxy! I confess I enjoy the radio transcripts just a bit more than the novels, some of the directions had me laughing so much I thought I was going to injure myself. But whatever format you choose, it’s hard to deny that these are fantastic books.

Find it on goodreads.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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This series has only shown up on my radar relatively recently, but it is definitely contributing to the monstrous size of my TBR pile.  Space love! Conspiracy theory? Stunning cover! We need to read this.

Find it on goodreads.

Way Down Dark by James Smythe

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Apparently I never got around to reviewing this one, which is quite disappointing. It is such a fantastic book! Chan is amazingly bad ass, and I am so very glad I’m not going to run into her in a dark alley. Throw in a fascinating social structure, gripping mystery and a spaceship named Australia and you have the beginning of an amazingly, brutally delightful series.

Find on goodreads.

The 100 by Kass Morgan

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This one has been sitting on my kindle for a while (oops) but I have seen the tv show, and it’s amazing. The characters are beautifully flawed and the plot is fascinating. While most of the story takes place back on Earth, it starts in space and that’s close enough for me!

Find it on goodreads.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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This one is also sitting in my TBR pile. I did try the audiobook earlier this year, and was put off by the narrator. One day I’ll get back to it, as I hear nothing by good things about the whole series!

Find it on goodreads.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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This is actually my number one, favourite book in the galaxay. No question about it. It is such a beautiful story, and I learn something new each time I read it. If you haven’t read it yet, skip the rest of this post and pick it up. And then come back and gush about it with me.

Find it on goodreads.

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

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I have wanted to read this ever since reading his Collected Fiction. He has such a brilliant and accessible writing style, without dumbing any of the science down and I’m sure this series will be just as brilliant as his short stories.

Find it on goodreads.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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I loved this book a very large amount. Not just because the story was brilliant, but because of the format. Told through a collection of documents, chat and video transcripts and reports, it is such a unique way of telling a story, and it is a testament to both authors skills that the story was just as complete and enthralling as if it had been told in the more usual prose format. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should (and I recommend getting the hardback for ease of reading, this book is huge).

Find it on goodreads.

 There we have it. 10 books on my spacedar – which ones are on yours?

 

 

May 12, 2016 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: QUEEN OF HEARTS by Colleen Oakes

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As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinah’s furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

I wish I liked this one more than I did, as a fan of almost anything Alice in Wonderland related, I was really looking forward to it. Instead, I read a book full of uninteresting characters, barely resolved plot points and a wholly unsatisfying ending.

Dinah herself was thoroughly unlikable. I just didn’t care about any of her woes, and considering the main premise of the story is built upon overcoming those problems, it was very difficult to care about that either. It’s difficult to have an opinion on the remaining characters, as we only see them long enough to “support” Dinah or give further justification for her whining. I’m not even going to get started on the alleged villains, except to say that for someone to be villainous, they have to do something.

I didn’t mind the writing style, it was a quick and easy read, and the descriptions of Wonderland are something resembling a redeeming feature. I would very much like to explore this world, but honestly, I can’t get past the characters enough to want to pick up the rest of the series when it’s published.

 In all, a very disappointing book that had a lot of potential to be a great interpretation not just of Wonderland, but the Queen of Hearts and her backstory. While a quick read at just 200-odd pages, I wouldn’t recommend spending any time on it at all.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Guest Post: Brooke Johnson on The Seven Wonders of Worldbuilding.

One of my favorite things about starting a new story is figuring out the world where I want it to take place. Most of the time, when I come up with an idea for a new story, the world spawns into being at the same time as the characters, but not always. Usually, I have nothing more than a vague idea of a setting, and I need to flesh out the rest of the landscape and the culture before diving into the writing part.

Here is a general list of considerations that I ask myself when building a new story:

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May 8, 2016 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: A WORLD OF ASH by Justin Woolley

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Trapped in a city no one knows exists, Squid lies dying as Nim fights for their lives. With every minute, their hope of getting the vaccine back to civilization is fading. From the brink of death and the edge of the world, Squid must once again conquer dangers even more sinister than the undead – the future of humankind depends on it.

But Squid’s efforts will be wasted if Lynn cannot keep the people of Alice safe until he returns, and Lynn is now a hostage of the Holy Order. Forced to face punishment at the hands of the High Priestess, Lynn is at the mercy of the mad cult, as beyond the wall the undead horde continues its relentless approach.

Caught between madness and mindlessness, the odds are stacked against Squid and Lynn. Will they triumph or do they already walk in a world of ash?

What a fantastic conclusion to the series. Book two ended on quite a cliffhanger, and I was very pleased that there was no waiting to pick up that particular plot point. That would have been excruciatingly painful.

I really enjoyed the character arcs in this one, and how Squid and Lynn each conquered their own demons. I was especially pleased with Lynn’s arc, she really came into her own in this book, and I finally started to like her. Squid was fiercely determined and I really liked how he stuck to his goals.

There was one particular point towards the end that had me quite worked up – it was such a brilliant and emotional climax. I won’t spoil it at all but my goodness I was ready to do some loud shouting! Which is of course exactly what a good ending should be like.

I still want a novella or a short story or something on Nim, but ultimately it was a very satisfying conclusion to the series, and I really do think everyone should read them.

Reviews for book 1 and book 2.

Purchase: Booktopia | Amazon

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