Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Blog Tour & Blitz: NOTHING BAD HAPPENS HERE


I'm so excited to be participating in the blitz for this fantastic crime thriller! Read on to find out more about this book...



She looked away from his face and took in the clear spring night, full of stars. Her last thoughts were of her mother. Would she finally care, when one day they found her body, and a policeman came knocking at her door? The body of missing tourist Bethany Haliwell is found in the small Coromandel town of Castle Bay, where nothing bad ever happens. News crews and journalists from all over the country descend on the small seaside town as old secrets are dragged up and gossip is taken as gospel. Among them is Miller Hatcher, a journalist battling her own demons, who arrives intent on gaining a promotion by covering the grisly murder. Following an anonymous tip, Miller begins to unravel the mystery of the small town. And when another woman goes missing, Miller finds herself getting closer to the truth. But at what cost?

Amazon    /    Goodreads





After seven years of working as a librarian in New Zealand and overseas, Nikki now works as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. She lives in the small Waikato town of Cambridge in New Zealand with her husband and two girls. Nikki has been writing on and off her whole life and recently has had success in flash fiction. She has been published in Flash Frontier, Flash Fiction Magazine and Mayhem Literary Journal, and has also had a story published in the Fresh Ink Anthology. Crime/thriller/mystery novels are her passion. Nothing Bad Happens Here is her first novel, set on the Coromandel Coast of New Zealand.

Facebook    /     Twittter      /    Website











Are you excited for this book? Does it look like something you'd enjoy?

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Romanticised Abuse: Roar by Cora Carmack


Drawing attention to romanticised abuse in films, books, etc, in order to fight it
- Join us! Start posting whenever you want.
- Share examples of romanticised abuse you've seen in books or films - doesn't even have to be a whole book or film; simply one scene is enough, if there's an instance of romanticised abuse in it.
- Please link to my blog as the original creator.
- This is not only about romanticised abusive relationships. It is about romanticised sexual assault, rape, and harassment, as well.
- Please consider the following statement a trigger warning: this blog series explores and draws attention to themes of abuse in fiction. I will discuss sexual assault, abusive relationships, and rape. I will infrequently explore those topics in depth as the fictional example requires it. Please read on with care. These subjects could be triggering.



I recently read Roar by Cora Carmack, a fantasy that is Carmack's YA debut. I didn't like the book, but my main issues revolved around the romantic relationships and male characters. They made me sick. 
To give you some background: Roar is a Princess fleeing her city and embarking on a journey with this group of men and women. On of the guys, Locke, develops "affection" for her, and she eventually returns it. 
I hate this relationship because of Locke's disgusting behaviour towards Roar.  I'll let the following examples speak for themselves. 



40% - 
Locke hadn’t been sleeping well. The first night on the road, he blamed it on his adjusting schedule. On the second night, he did the same. But now after three nights of restless sleep, broken by nightmares about a girl in danger who was somehow both his sister and Roar simultaneously, he had run out of excuses. It had been ages since he’d last had a nightmare. He knew having Roar here would throw him off balance, but it was even worse than he anticipated. 

Obsession much?! Gross.


41-42% - 
“You’re an ass,” she hissed, whirling to leave him. But he was quicker, and he snatched a wrist, tugging until she fell into him, one hand on his chest, two fingers’ width from the accelerating beat of his heart. 
“And you are scared,” he said softly. 
“Of course, I’m scared. Do you think I’m stupid?” 

Get your freaking hands off her, you revolting bully.

He shook his head. He would never stop. If she wouldn’t give up her secrets, he would discover them on his own. 

She is not obligated to tell you her secrets! If she doesn't want to tell you, then Leave. Her. Alone. You have no right to anything she's reluctant to tell you, and you have no right to "discover" them. Go get yourself a hobby instead.

He still held one of her wrists, and she tugged, trying to break free. His grip was secure; but, never one to give up easily, Roar twisted her body nearly all the way around, trying to worm out of his grasp. He loosened his hold, worried she’d hurt herself. But the moment she broke free, he seized her again, wrapping his arms around her middle, arms trapped at her sides, her back to his chest. 
He should let her go. He knew her well enough now to know that manhandling her would only make her fight harder. But he was too distracted by the way her body fit against his own. Her soft hair tickled his neck. Even more startling, she had stopped fighting him completely. Her body sank against his, her back pressed against his chest and abdomen. He became acutely aware of where his arms wrapped around her shoulders and her midsection. She sucked in a breath, and the rise and fall of her chest moved through both of them. He knew he should step away, but it was like he’d been mesmerized. He stood there, stock-still, his mind filled with nothing but her. If she were a storm, she could destroy him, and he would never lift a finger to protect himself. If he did not learn to block out the instincts she roused in him, destruction could be exactly where they both were headed. 

DARN RIGHT YOU SHOULD LET HER GO! SHE WANTS YOU TO LET HER GO. I hate, hate, hate this scene. Locke's behaviour is horrifying.

43% -
He stilled and looked at her like hunters looked at prey, as if he were trying to make himself appear as nonthreatening as possible. 

Well isn't that charming. I'd love a guy to look at me like he's hunting me and I'm his prey. Doesn't that just ooze swoon? #not

44% - 
She was uncharted territory, and mountains formed where he touched her and a river of sensation flowed down her spine. She watched his mouth, watched it form her name on a barely audible whisper. The hand around her neck tightened, his thumb sliding forward to brace at the edge of her jaw. 

Uncharted territory? She's a human being, she's a woman! She is not territory, you freaking sadist. Don't you dare describe her as land - how gross is that?

59% - 
With a growl, she spun before he could say anything more and began marching away. He did not get to make her feel bad about this. She had seen a storm and stayed herself. She had done something useful after so long feeling useless. She thought at first that he was going to let her be, but eventually she heard him jogging up behind her. “
Roar, wait.”
“No,”she snapped, picking up her pace. 
“Would you listen—”
“Can you just leave me alone?”
His hand seized her elbow, and he spun her around forcefully. 
He growled, “No. I can’t.”And then his mouth collided with hers. 
For a moment, Roar did not understand what was happening. She knew his lips were on hers, pushing hard enough to be punishment, and his fingers threaded through her hair, and an arm wrapped tight around her waist. But even knowing those things, she could not quite comprehend that Locke was kissing her. She froze, unsure whether she wanted to allow it or shove him away. She had been so angry, but now that blazing heat had melted into something different, like molten glass being shaped into something new. He tilted her head back, his hand gripping tighter in her hair, and when he opened his mouth against hers, she followed. He kissed his own fury into her, melting and reshaping her again and again with each stroke of his tongue over hers.

I think this scene speaks for itself. I'm gonna go vomit now and then dream of ways to viciously kill Locke.

59% - 
Locke’s voice was a fierce, angry growl, and she bowed up, ready to growl right back. She was getting tired of his moods—suffocatingly protective one second and a beast the next.

Yup, you should be tired of them, darling. Why not just get on a horse and ride away? You don't need to stay with him or deal with his moods. He's not worth it.

63% - 
He would be lying if he didn’t admit that he got pleasure out of both her outraged cry and the feel of her surrounding him.

Oh yeah, major swoon here. Isn't it just beautiful when you cry out and a guy delights in your anger and pain?  

“You are such an ass!” He smiled. 
“Probably.”
“Definitely.”
“Yes, but I’m an ass who gets what he wants.” He hadn’t meant those words to sound quite so possessive. He still thought it was a bad idea to get attached to her, but since the kiss, he was having trouble getting himself to care. All the thoughts he had ignored so diligently before abraded him constantly now. Good idea or not—he wanted her.

Toxic masculinity alert. 

63% - 
And if having Roar on his horse gave him the opportunity to wheedle a little more information out of her, then all better.

For THE HUNDREDTH TIME her secrets are not your responsibility and you are not obligated to them. Take a freaking hint.

69% - 
And with each pass, he claimed a little more of her.

Claimed?! Oh I want to punch this guy SO BADLY.

70% - 
Locke couldn’t stop the fierce protectiveness that rose in him, and before he knew what he was doing, he had caught her face in his hands, turning it toward him. “Who was he? The man from the market?”
“Locke, please—”
“If a man needs to hurt a woman to feel good about himself, he is not much of a man.”
“It wasn’t like that.”
“Then how was it? Say the word, princess, and I will hunt him down. It’s what I do, and I am very good at it.” 

Overprotectiveness more like, and just NO NO NO. Buzz off, dude. Respect her.

“I will make you a promise,” he said. “You don’t have to tell me anything unless you want to. I will do my best to stop pushing you. But know that you have my trust.”

Hmmm. Does he even hear himself?! Practice what you preach, Locke.

72% - 
He still wanted her, even though he clearly did not deserve her. And the instinct to protect and care for her was stronger than ever, even though it was him she needed protecting from.

Cliche alert. She needs protecting from him, oh how adorable.

95% - 
He leaned down to nip at her swollen bottom lip. “I’m the first to touch this mouth? To taste it?”
Her nails dug into his shoulders, and her blue eyes flashed with heat. She nodded, her tongue darting out to soothe the skin he had tugged between his teeth. 
“That means it’s mine. My territory. And I’m prepared to protect it, every hour of the day if I must."


EW. EW. EW. EW. SHE IS NOT YOUR TERRITORY AND SHE IS NOT YOURS. I hate this scene so much.



Locke is a bullying alpha male who thinks he's entitled to Roar and treats her like property. It's not love, it's toxic masculinity gone too far. It's abusive behaviour.


← Tamlin & Feyre in ACOTAR

Monday, 26 February 2018

3 Mini Book Reviews!

ROAR - Cora Carmack
Published: 2017 by Tor Teen
Pages: 380.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Triggers/Content Advisory: Sexual innuendo / mild fantasy violence
Format: eBook.
Source: Borrowed.


In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them. Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people. To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters. Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


I buddy read this book with my amazing squad: Di and Uma. We enjoyed some interesting chats about this book, and you can check out their reviews here and here!
I didn't know much about Roar before I started reading, and I was looking forward to it. The cover is gorgeous.


But despite liking the book at the start, I soon got tired of it. Carmack's writing is plain and uninspired, and even the concept of storms (which is awesome, just BTW) can't quite redeem it. I do like the descriptions though; however the writing soon turned me against those, too.

I got to a point where I didn't care about the plot. It's just boring and tedious. Some parts are marginally exciting, but since I didn't love the characters or writing I simply wasn't invested enough. I lost interest too quickly.

The characters are stereotypes. Roar actually does get decent character development, but everyone else is boring and predictable. As for Locke, he's a bully and a toxic alpha male. His relationship with Roar is extremely unhealthy, and a number of times he manhandles her against her will. THAT'S NOT SEXY. And Cassius is another example of toxic masculinity that's passed off as hot.
(I’ll be mentioning my issues with these toxic relationships in further detail in a Romanticised Abuse post sometime soon, so keep a look-out for that ;)
Roar isn't a great heroine. She's a Mary Sue who follows a predictable character arc, and I found her irritating.



Roar lacks that addictive spark fantasy needs. The characters are stereotypes, the writing is dull, and the romance is toxic. 




EMPIRE OF STORMS - Sarah J. Maas
Published: 2016 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
Pages: 693.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Triggers/Content Adviory: Explicit violence / explicit sex scenes / frequent bad language
Format: Paperback.
Source: Library.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't. With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.


I just slogged through a mess of 600+ pages. Gosh did it feel like it.
(Note to self: Amy, don't rant).


I am so over Maas' writing. It's gotten repetitive and melodramatic, and is 600+ pages really, like really, necessary? I was so bored most of the time. Everything's dragged out and it's so tedious.

The only character I like is Dorian, but even his character is treated insultingly. As soon as Manon joins them on the ship it's like Dorian gets a personality change, and his character goes downhill from there. I also don't ship him and Manon's relationship, and I think it's ridiculously forced.

The other characters all need a good jolly spanking and their egos wretched down like a dozen notches. I cannot stand all this toxic masculinity reeking off the guys, and all this "romantic" talk of wanting to "claim" you, "devour" you, "ravish" you, isn't what I personally call love. It's sick, possessive, and crude.  Not to mention how everyone is overtly sexualised like every few pages.

Which reminds me. Is all this gratuitous sexual perversity and violence really essential? Do all the villains have to be sexual abusers? Is it really essential to talk about women in this way: "She was delicately built, small enough that he might have thought her barely past her first bleed were it not for the full breasts beneath her close fitting leathers." Oh, and Lorcan actually mentions the "first bleed" thing more than once.
Like HELLO? I don't know if all this attention being drawn to women's bodies and how all this sexual violence in their pasts has made them into badass women is Maas trying to be empowering, but honestly I find it crude, offensive, and unnecessary. It's like she doesn't know how to write "strong women" without them having been sexually abused and violated in their past.
UGH.


Empire of Storms is a tedious trudge through a dark world with the company of a huge cast. 
It just made me roll my eyes. 



A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN - Sarah J. Maas
Published: 2016 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
Pages: 699
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Triggers/Content Advisory: Explicit violence / explicit sex scenes / frequent bad language
Format: Paperback.
Source: Library.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


Likes:

Yes, there are parts of this book I actually like. Which I was not expecting. But here we have it.
 - I love Mor. Just love love love her character so freaking much. She's so three dimensional and definitely my favourite character in the series.
 - I like all the relationship dynamics. Not romances, per say, but I love how close the Inner Circle is and how they all have each other's backs #squadgoals
 - I ship Aziel and Mor which isn't gonna happen, I KNOW, but still. I ship them hardcore.
- The story is entertaining. Not always, but most of the time.

Dislikes: 

- The writing. Ugh it is so repetitive, melodramatic, and flowery. And I think it desperately needs another round of editing polish because most of the sentences are awkward and stilted.
- The sex scenes. This is not me saying I don't like explicit sex scenes in books, it's me saying that I hate the way Maas writes them. All her bright purple prose and meandering around actually naming body parts makes for utterly ludicrous scenes. It's laughable. Not to mention all the "claim you", "feast on you", "ravish you" IS DISGUSTING AND TOXIC AND NOT TRUE LOVE.
- The world. Like I said above in my EoS review, is all the gratuitous violence against women and the general misogyny against women really necessary? Seeing the women turn into badasses despite such horrific pasts doesn't actually feel empowering to me; I just can't ignore Maas' sexist world and the amount of sexual violence she includes (or eludes to).  
- The feminism honestly feels like propaganda. It is so forced, especially with all Rhys's constant feministic pampering of Feyre.



A Court of Wings and Ruin is an entertaining fantasy with strong characters. But the writing is melodramatic and flowery and the sexual content is ridiculous. 




Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Weekly Round-Up: I went to my first book event!!!


I read so freaking much this week that I literally have books coming out of my ears. It's a good thing, I guess, but it's also making me feel seriously overwhelmed. I just can't help myself, though. 

I've been really stressed about a lot of things this week and haven't been sleeping well. I've also been taking my WIP writing really slow, which I feel guilty about. 

Hopefully this week is more....relaxing. 


Posts of the week:
Book Review: THE WIFE BETWEEN US
Movie Review: THE SNOWMAN




Currently Reading

I'm buddy-reading Fireblood with Di, and I'm enjoying Song of Blood and Stone and Ignite the Stars so far :)

AND BIG LITTLE LIES IS AMAZING. I can totally see Reese, Nicole, and Shailene killing those roles <3



For Review

So I went a bit mad with Netgalley requesting and got this bunch of eBooks. (Bride of the Sea isn't from Netgalley though; I got that eBook from the author).










Pan Macmillan SA book event

(Excuse my terrible photos)

I went to Pan Macmillan's annual media presentation on Friday and it was my first time going to a book event. It was amazing. They told us about the books they're bringing out this year, and everyone got an incredible goodie bag (see below).
I am so thrilled about getting Children of Blood and Bone and an ARC of Ash Princess! Eeeep!

Another awesome thing about the event was that I got to meet my blogging friend, Ruby, in person. It was so great!


Around the Blogosphere

Olivia reviews House of Suns

Susanne reviews The French Girl

Heather reviews The Belles

Amber Elise reviews Tess of the Road

Tรขnia reviews To Kill A Kingdom

Natalie shares her favourite Non-Canon Ships

Angela shares a list of Historical fiction books about First Ladies


Entertainment News

Rachel McAdams is pregnant with her first child!


Black Panther is the highest grossing Marvel film in its first week

Trevor Noah's 'Born A Crime' is becoming a film
Not only is the amazing Lupita Nyong'o producing the upcoming movie, but she'll also be starring as Noah's mother.


Coming Up...

This week, I'll be reviewing Roar, Empire of Storms, and A Court of Wings and Ruin in a mini review post, I'll have another Romanticised Abuse post up, a blog tour promo, a Monthly Wrap-Up, and a review of Mercury Rises for its blog tour.





So how has your week been?! What are you reading and watching? 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

THE SNOWMAN (film) is a freezing mess

THE SNOWMAN - 2017
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Micheal Fassbender / Rebecca Ferguson / Charlotte Gainsbourg / Jonas Karlsson / Val Kilmer
Score: Marco Beltrami
Cinematography: Dion Beebe
Content Advisory: R for very grisly images, some language, sexuality, and brief nudity.
Source: Rented.

Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.




I thought the book was excellent and I love Michael Fassbender, so I was so excited to watch this film. I thought it'd be awesome. (Warning: I use lots of really bad ice/snow/cold puns in the last paragraph of this review ;).



The music is suitably eerie, but it's weak as well. The only time I really felt its purpose was during that scene near the end when Harry stalks over the hill of snow to find the killer. It makes the shot strong.
But the cinematography is...well to be honest I don't know what the heck the cinematography was doing for the duration of this film. The first scene - a flashback- is filmed with a camera that looks like it's been draped with lilac netting. It is such a mess  - so sloppy and ugly. And after that scene, the cinematography just gets more confusing. The first few scenes are very hard to watch, then we actually get some decent shots further on, and then, it gets messy again. It's a wreck of clumsy, downright bizarre filming. It's sharp one minute, then bewildering the next. What the heck was going on I don't know.

The film has its flaws. But none of the ones I've mentioned above even come close to the total sludge that is the plot. When you have such strong source material, how can you go wrong?! How?! But somehow, these writers do.
The scenes are all over the place. Their order is absurd. The whole movie feels like it should just be the start, and yet unfortunately most of it is supposed to be gripping, powerful build-up. Except it really isn't. It's in disarray, and it's embarrassing. The mystery is hollow, coincidental, and with no hero-villain personal connection, there's not much holding anything together. It's painful and tedious. 



The acting is solid. Fassbender is rugged and haunting as Hole, and Rebecca Ferguson (although sorely underused) is electric. She's absolutely lovely in every scene. Charlotte Gainsbourg as Rakel is also great, and she's darkly ethereal in the character. But with the exception of those three, the cast is completely unmemorable. I also think that even those three talents struggle with the script; they're not given much too work with, and they suffer for it, despite giving it their all.
The characters are undeveloped. The emotional connection isn't there. I didn't feel the twisted connection between the hero and the villain, nor did I recognize Hole's distress as he struggles to find the killer and stop him. There isn't an urgency or personal connection there.
(And just FYI: I don't like what the writers do with Ferguson's character. She does stuff and has stuff done to her that I do not remember happening in the book. It's a waste of who was, in the book, a wonderfully compelling woman).




The Snowman is a cold mess of rubbish plotting and bizarre cinematography. It wastes its source material and bumbles through the snow with no sense of confidence. Even the decent acting can't stop it from falling through the ice. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

2 Mini Book Reviews!

THE CANDLE FACTORY GIRL - Tania Crosse
Published: March 2018 - by Aria
Pages: N/A
Genres: Historical fiction /
Triggers/Content Advisory: Strong themes of domestic abuse / sexual innuendo / violence
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

1930's London - A backstreet saga full of hopes, dreams and the fight for survival. Perfect for the fans of Rosie Clarke and Lindsey Hutchinson. Work at Price's Candle Factory in Battersea is tedious for intelligent, seventeen-year-old Hillie Hardwick, but she knows she is lucky to have a job at all. Her home life is no better, as she constantly battles with her exacted and bullying father in order to protect her mother and five younger siblings from his tyranny of abuse. Her only solace is her loving relationship with the chaotic Parker family and her best friend, Gert Parker. When matters violently escalate for Hillie, smitten Jack-the-Lad Jimmy Baxter seems her only salvation. But could this be the biggest mistake of her life, and should she be looking for protection nearer home?



Pros:
- Strong female friendships. Hillie has lots of girl friends and they're all so close and always have each other's backs.
- It's a decent coming of age story. The characters make mistakes, get tangled in false starts, and finally find their way in the end.

Cons:
- Terrible writing. It's amateurish and awkward, and with an overuse of exclamation marks.
- The dialogue is horrific. It's full of info-dumps and is generally just cringy and unrealistic.
- I wanted more of the candle factory and the girls' jobs. Instead, the story focuses on their love lives.
- The characters are so stereotypical and cliche. Hillie is a special snowflake who can do no wrong, who's the prettiest of all the girls, and who's loved by everyone. Jimmy, the hero, is also annoying, and he's the stereotypical bad boy who's smitten with Hillie because she's the only girl to refuse his advances and because she's the smartest and most beautiful of all the other girls.
- The romance between Jimmy and Hillie is extremely inconsistent. One minute Hillie's set on their future and busy kissing Jimmy, and the next she's trying to decide if she loves him. UGH.
- Jimmy and Hillie's marriage is so problematic. She's hesitant about having sex for the first time and is clearly uncomfortable when Jimmy makes a move, but she makes herself to endure it because it's what "a proper wife must do." More than once, she's uncomfortable with sleeping with her husband and with him undressing her, but she stays silent and lets him to what he wants with her. That's not healthy! You need to talk to your partner, you need to talk....Hillie and Jimmy never do that. Marriage is not a one-sided show - and nor is sex - that's ruled by one person's desires and needs. It goes both ways.
- The book's ending is so predictable and convenient.



How many of you have watched the TV series Land Girls? If you're a fan of that, I think you'll love this book. Otherwise it's not worth reading. 



THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR - Tessa Gratton
Published: March 2018 - by Tor
Pages: 576.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / retelling
Triggers/Content Advisory: I haven't read the whole book so I'm not qualified to say.
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood. The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes. The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted. Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.


PLEASE NOTE: I only read a sampler of this book - precisely 193 pages - so my opinions/review is based on that alone.


The characters are riveting, twisty, compelling, damaged, and ruthless. It's a big cast, but everyone is vivid and layered.
The plot is achingly romantic and heartbreaking. It's a bit confusing, but otherwise extraordinary. Unique, as well, and running with the characters' dangerous agendas.
The setting is stunning and seductive. It's a maelstrom of dark imagination.

The only thing I don't like about the book is how overtly flowery and purple the prose is. It's laid on way too thick.


I can't wait to continue the story once I get the chance to read the full book! From the pages I got to read, this book was an absolute treat. Think Three Dark Crowns meets Caraval meets Game of Thrones. 




Hope you liked these reviews! Have you read or heard of these books? What do you think of them? 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Book Blitz: MARRYING MR. VALENTINE - by Laura Bernard


I'm so happy to be participating in the book blitz for this delightful book! It looks so cute and fluffy and romantic.
Check it out...




Nadine Roberts smiles for everyone, but beneath it she hides a heartbreaking past that only a few know about. Throwing herself into her new career; wedding planner at The Duck & Goose, a property recently purchased by newlyweds Florence and Hugh, has helped distract her from her loneliness. When a teary bride suddenly cancels her upcoming wedding Nadine looks to the two year waiting list. Clara Blumenkrantz and Hartley Valentine. It’ll have to be a quick turnaround, but what’s the worst that can happen, right? This should be like every other wedding she plans, but the magnetism she feels towards Mr Valentine disrupts the orderly life she’s worked hard to carve out. Can she ignore her intense desires and be a professional? Or will she open up her heart to the one person that has the power to break it? And in doing so endanger not just her job, but her venue’s reputation?

Amazon    /     Goodreads


Head on over to Laura's Facebook page to enter her release day giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a £10 Amazon Gift Card!




Website       /     Facebook    /     Twitter    /  Instagram  /   Pinterest   /    Goodreads     / 









Thanks for stopping by! 
Does this book sound like something you'd enjoy? 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

2 Mini Book Reviews!

THE DRAGON ORB - Mike Shelton
Published: 2017 - Mike Shelton
Pages: 326.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy
Triggers/Content Advisory: Nothing.
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

The fate of a kingdom rests on the shoulders of three young wizards who couldn't be more different. Bakari is a brilliant scholar wizard who's more at home in a library than a battlefield. Alli is a beautiful young battle wizard whose grace in battle is both enchanting and deadly. Roland is a counselor wizard with a seemingly limitless depth of untapped power -- and the ego to match it. As the magical barrier protecting the kingdom of Alaris from dangerous outsiders begins to fail, and a fomenting rebellion threatens to divide the country in a civil war, the three wizards are thrust into the middle of a power struggle. When the barrier comes down, the truth comes out. Was everything they were taught about their kingdom based on a lie? Will they all choose to fight on the same side, or end up enemies in the battle over who should rule Alaris?


This is a wonderfully sweet fantasy. The characters are so cute, the relationships heartwarming and relatable, and the racial diversity is excellent.

The plot is tight and the pacing is good. There's lots of action, too. I also love the political dynamics of the world, and the world itself is well-imagined.

But the writing and dialogue almost ruined the book for me. The writing is so awkward and amateurish, and the dialogue is unrealistic, packed with info-dumps, and generally just cringy.




BUZZ BOOKS 2018
Published: 2018
Pages: 326.
Genres: Young adult
Triggers/Content Advisory: Some of the excerpts contain bad language and violence.
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

Welcome to Buzz Books 2018: Young Adult Spring/Summer. These substantial pre-publication excerpts reflect a broad spectrum of today's young adult writing, from fantasy and romance to suspense and humor. You will discover debut writers to put on your radar, while enjoying early samples from some of the biggest authors in the field and even a memoir for younger readers. Readers will be happy to see included Stephanie Garber's sequel to her New York Times bestselling debut novel Caraval, a previous Buzz Books. Other fantasies are Furyborn by Claire Legrand, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, and Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. Then come back to the present with Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein's YA debut about a teen science whiz who tries to crack the chemical equation for lasting love or Buzzfeed writer Farrah Penn's Twelve Steps to Normal, about a father's recovery from alcoholism. Start reading the bestsellers of tomorrow right now to see why reviewers rave with comments like these: Love Buzz Books!


This collection of YA excerpts is amazing. I love the variety of books - there's sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, etc etc - and I love how many new books and authors I was introduced to. The excerpts from Furyborn and Sky in the Deep are definitely my favourites.

Highly recommend this book to anyone who's anticipating YA books coming up in Spring/Summer, but prepare to add a lot to your TBR...






Hope you enjoyed these reviews! Have you read these books? What did you think?