BOOK HAUL| Jan- Mar '17


I was going to break this book haul up into the months that I received these books, seeing as this post is meant to be covering the last quarter of the year. Surprisingly I only bought five of the books above. Either by accident. Or, by default desire to have them on pre-order. The rest were bought by family as late Christmas presents.

From Top to Bottom:


  • On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher
  • Nobody Told Me by Holly McNish [required reading for class.]
  • A Conjuring of Light by V.E.Schwab
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
  • The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon



Blood Upon the Sands (The Song of Shattered Sands #2)
Bradley Beaulieu
Find on Goodreads

UK Release: 9th February, 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Masquerade (Micah Gray #3)
Laura Lam

UK Release: 9th March, 2017
Publisher: PanMacmillan/Tor

Wintersong 
S. Jae-Jones
Find on Goodreads

UK Release: 7th February, 2017
Publisher: Titan Books



The Birds Fly Back
Carlie Sorosiak

UK Release: 29th June, 2017
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books




Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)
Vic James
Find on Goodreads

UK Release: 26th January, 2o17
Publisher: PanMacmillan/ Tor




Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1)
Mark Lawerence

UK Release: 6th April, 2017
Publisher: HarperVoyagerUK





Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Laini Taylor
Find on Goodreads

UK Release: 28th March, 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton



The Space Between the Stars
Anne Corlett

UK Release: 1st June, 2017
Publisher: PanMacmillan

Shattered Minds (False Minds #2)
Laura Lam
Find on Goodreads

UK Release: 15th June, 2017
Publisher: Tor








REVIEW| The Sleeper and The Spindle [Audiobook]

The Sleeper and The Spindle
Neil Gaiman (Author), Chris Riddell (Illustrator)

Voice Actors: Julian Rhind-Tutt, Lara Pulver, Niamh Walsh, Adjoa Andoh, Peter Forbes, John Sessions and Michael Maloney.


Find on Goodreads

Audible

Synopsis:

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.
 


Review

The Cover:

I don't know if you know this about me but, the reason I always look and explore covers is because I wanted to be a book cover artist. I've always had an interest in it and of illustrators. That's why I took graphics at A-Level; only, I ended up moving to Wales to study Creative Writing. Completely worth the two years of agony. 

Before we start a book we are always precedented with pre-designed notions on what the book will be about- so, I like to reflect on that. To try and stop you guys in lunging in, just for the cover buy.

The cover for The Sleeper and The Spindle reflects exactly the tone of, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell's work. It speaks of old-age fairy tale revamped. Re-worked. The black and white line work of Riddell's illustration reminiscent of the illustrations published in older works of children's literature. 

Just more clean around the edges and a lot more gold foiling.

The Content:

If you couldn't tell already, I didn't read The Sleeper and The Spindle in the traditional format.  Over the holiday period I took out an Audible free trial, as I was close to failing my Goodreads reading challenge and cue: The Sleeper and The Spindle.

I'm not very experienced with audiobooks but, what I am quickly learning is that I prefer full-cast narrations or voice actors who are able to embody numerous characters with a clear difference. Otherwise, I tend to loose all attention and prospect as to what is going on. 


The Sleeper and The Spindle has a full cast, including Lara Pulver who you may recognize from playing Irene Adler in the BBC adaptation of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. 


This book very much plays on the younger side of Gaiman's audience but, still remained able to hold that core, of storytelling, that makes his work great. This is definitely a new take on the old gruesome fairy tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, mixing them in a way to add and recreate them in a way that was unexpected. 

I did have the book to act as a visual aid whilst reading this, so I could follow along and see the illustrations as it was progressing on the audiobook. It felt like I was reading a 19th Century Gothic children's tale. As in the likes of the genre of the periodical time, of Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights. It had those elements that these books can be broken into. That so better fit's with the fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault.

My only restraint on loving this book anymore was that I felt at a distance from the characters. There was no clear definition of who they were. Just their impressions of dialogue. Which is understandable in the restraints of the short story.

I would recommend to anybody who already enjoys Neil Gaiman's writing style or those who wish to dip their toes in like I was. I'd also recommend just to stare at Chris Riddell's stunning artwork.

Top Ten Books of 2016

Another reading year has passed by, it seems. And as I am posting this, so has three months of the New Year too. 

While the entire year has been struck down by Brexit, the US election, and the world proving just how many find it satisfying to inflict pain and fearmongering - I have stuck my guns and pushed myself to keep myself together and keep reading. It was either that or lose myself in memes over on Tumblr.


What am I kidding? I've spent three months rewatching Doctor Who and realizing I will forever cherish those four years David Tennant provided in the expanses of my childhood. And remain, he does, with the sole purpose to procrastinate throughout my time at University. Oh, how nothing ever changes.

Okay, enough rambling:

Here I present my favourite books of the past year.


Even though, this is a bit too late and not really relevant anymore.


I have tried to keep them in order of chronological reading:




Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

                    &
Windwitch (The Witchlands #2)
Susan Dennard

Find on Goodreads


REVIEW


I have been tied to this book for a very long time now.


I was honored with the badge of Voidwitch, joining the Street Team- the Witchlanders- back in October 2015.  I have since reread the book three times and have a review due soon of Windwitch. But we all know how much motivation I have been lacking recently.


This came to me at a time when I was kind of giving up on any thoughts of making it to the end of my sixth form courses. Because of this, I had a reason to keep having fun and escape, making the end of my A-Levels all that more bearable.


This wonderful story, full of strong and kick-ass female friendships. It captured my heart from the first page, as my reading pace was slowing but, I was hooked and ready to discover the Witchlands. And I hope to support these novels until their completion and surpass that.



The Night Circus 
Erin Morgernstern


This was a book that I have had every intention of reading but, just never picked it up. It was one of those books I just knew I was going to fall head over heels in love with. Then one day, I got this real sudden urge to run and buy a copy.

And, in all honesty, I have no regrets. Except, the bit where I took two years to buy a copy.


The way this book read, was almost lyrical. Beautifully structured to fluctuate between tenses and person narration without feeling overly jarring and stagnant. It flowed as if magic was pouring out of the pages themselves. 


I definitely want to read some more magic realism pieces like this- both novelisation and short stories. So if anyone has any suggestions for me to put on my list, please let me know.



Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Cassandra Clare


Cassie... Cassie.. Cassie. 

O' how you destroyed me.


This broke my heart and ripped it to pieces and then tried to put them together again, all mismatched and out of place.


This is one of those reads that I didn't give the full five stars to- however, the reason it made it on this list is because of how much Cassandra Clare has come to grow as a writer. 


Out of all her Shadowhunter novels, whatever you may think of them, I have to say this is my favourite opening to a trilogy/series she has come to publish. 

Granted there were times where I felt like Cassie was tooting her own horn (which is why I lowered my rating down to a four) but, overall she pieced together this mystery and planted the seeds needed to move this trilogy onto the next events of Emma's journey.


The Wrath & The Dawn (The Wrath & The Dawn #1)
Renee Ahdieh


I am not typically someone who goes into a book for romance-centric plots. Unless I am in the mood for it. 

And so I found myself from school one day- not skipping, promise- but, wanting to read something of the mentioned above. 

I was surprised by just how much I did love it. I think this was one of those rare occurrences last year that I read the entire book in a day. Not one sitting mind you. 


I've just never been able to do that.

It was just full of that beautiful prose that just swifts you away from any 
conscious thought. I kind of wish that I had tabbed it. Also, a book that was not influenced greatly by western fairy tales and folklore! 

More of that, please.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Sarah J. Maas



The book that surprised everyone.


To be fair, I did kind of work it out when I read ACOTAR. [I'm keeping shum, just in case you've been living under a rock for the last year.] And t
hese were for reasons, I would rather not discuss. 

A couple of books on this list I have found that I have been rather hesitant to put on here. 

A lot of controversy and nit-picking occurred over the past year and continues. I'd even gone on to see a small rift and division in the book community. For Sarah J. Maas, it has been about her lack of representation in her work and using her platforms to highlight this. Which I have come to completely understand and can agree with. I would like to see more diversity from Maas.

But, I just had to put this on here for the love of Rhys, of Feyre's character development, and for the side characters. 


Why is it always the side characters with Maas?


Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Jay Kristoff



Like I said before with A Court of Mist and Fury, this is a book that, quite recently, I have come to see discussions about its representation. As well as Kristoff allegedly blocking people over the criticism. 

Thought I would just state that I am aware of this.


However, Nevernight is on this list because I stand by what I said in my review. I loved this book. And still, do. I thought it was cleverly written, and I loved the witticisms of our voice narrator. I was left turning page after page. Until I got to the end. And then BAM! I got hit with a case of reading blues.


It's now been ten months and I'm still thinking about the plot twist. Hot-diggity-dang.  


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 0_1)
&
Gemina (The Illuminae Files 0_2)
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff




I feel like these books have been on the hype train for a couple of years now. And I can officially say I am on board. -Toot Toot- The format just works for these books; I'm still able to still visualize and fall in love with these characters. Although, I think Illuminae remains the stronger book, so far.


Without these, I probably wouldn't have got back into the Sci-Fi genre. 

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
V.E. Schwab

Find on Goodreads

REVIEW

I have been aware of Victoria's books for a while. She was one of those of authors I held off from reading because I just knew I would fall in love with the words she would string together, and the characters she feeds with life.

And, I was not wrong. In either statement. I have since begun her Shades of Magic Trilogy and dying to just binge her books. If University would just allow for that- bring on the Summer!

This one made it on the list because I think this remains relevant to the current state of America, and of the world, as the last couple of years has progressed. With the increase of violence, both premeditated and unpremeditated acts. What if these began to cause monsters? 



Uprooted
Naomi Novik



I've noticed that there seem to be two sides to this book: the people that adored it and those who care nothing for it. 

Guess what side of the coin I'm on? Or, should I ask what side of the cover?

This is one that I just got swept up in, as I read. The prose, utterly beautiful, I loved the nature and unpredictability of the magic which I know many people aren't too fond of. 

Naomi managed to keep me guessing to the next plot point, all throughout the 400-or-so-pages and not one of them I could guess. 

Maybe just me?

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)
Becky Chambers



Where do I even begin in trying, to sum up my emotions on this one?

I did manage to write a review, though, so maybe give that a try?

Gosh, definitely one of my favourite books of all time. It's up there. I really can't say anymore- just, read it if you haven't already.

Please.

What were some of your favourite books of 2016? Or maybe, what books you've read in the first few months of 2017?


Blog Tour| Masquerade


Masquerade (Micah Grey #1)
Laura Lam

Find on Goodreads



The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah's Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. 
Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?
Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy's blessing - and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they've re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.


Here it is. The final tale in Laura Lam's Micah Grey trilogy. With both, Pantomime and Shadowplay, all repackaged and ready to be read... it wasn't long that this thing of beauty wanted to join too. 

If you are desperate to get your hands on the copy, I can't make the 9th March appear. But, I can sure give you some fantastic insight to the inscriptions that appears at the start of every chapter. Of course, for day one of the Blog Tour it is only right that we start with Chapter One: Fever Dream.

Fever Dream

A fever may burn a man alive. Some of the wise men who called themselves seers would summon a temperature. They said the fever dreams bestowed them knowledge of their fate, and the fate of those who followed them.
— ‘Mystics and Seers’, A History of Ellada and its Colonies, Professor Caed Cedar, Royal Snakewood University
Every chapter in the Micah Grey series has a short found document at the start, ranging from a variety of sources: history books, diaries, songs, poetry, and more. It’s basically a sneaky way to add in more worldbuilding and detail about Ellada & the Archipelago.
Professor Caed Cedar is a familiar name to those who have read the first two books. He’s a historian who has spent his life’s work detailing various aspects of Elladan society and history, with a particular interest in the potential magical aspects of the world. He’s not a character in the main narrative, but has appeared in all three volumes. This snippet sets the tone of the opening of the book for sure. A character has a terrible fever and has strange visions of their own . . .
If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.



 About the Author:

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-print to her heart's desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library as a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn't. At times she misses the sunshine.


 You can find Laura Lam:


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If you're unsure where the tour is going tomorrow, take a look:



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