#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books with Blue Covers

Six for Sunday

Happy Six for Sunday! Today’s prompt from the lovely Steph at A Little But A lot is “Books with Blue Covers.” Most of my book covers tend to be on the darker side but I feel like blue is pretty achievable so let’s take a look!

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
This was one of my favourites and most memorable reads as a young child, I liked the differences between the two princesses and even though I absolutely identified with the strong-willed, dark-haired princess who  enjoyed sword fighting this was an important lesson for me where I realised you didn’t have to be strong or physically tough to be brave. I still love sword fighting more than embroidery though not gonna lie.

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
One of my current favourite reads and peak Lauren James. This book is super interesting with important themes and a slightly different but fun format that really allowed the story to unfold by layers that worked really well. Not to mention, as always, THAT TWIST. Cannot explain how much I love this gorgeous book.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Another departure from my usual reading habits, again I picked this contemporary up due to liking the authors’ previous work which was in-fact another contemporary! Summer Bird Blue is a beautiful, interesting and enjoyable read that had me in tears multiple times!

Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris
Another beautiful poetic fairy tale by Mrs Harris, like A Pocketful of Crows this tale is inspired by the Child Ballads and feels just as iconic, this time though we follow the path of a selkie. I was always fascinated with selkies as a child so this was a fantastic read for me.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Speaking of beautiful poetic prose, Strange the Dreamer reads like a five hundred and thirty-six page poem and has a gorgeous blue and gold cover to boot. This was also the very first book that I had ever since and/or brought with sprayed edges and it changed my whole world.

The Extinction Trials by S.M Wilson
Described as The Hunger Games with dinosaurs and I gotta say I usually hate those stickers that say things like that plastered all over books but honestly it’s pretty damn accurate and a trilogy I absolutely love.

So all done and dusted for another week! Apologies for being a little slow getting back to comments at the moment as I’m either doing the being a parent thing (and it’s been a busy week for meetings – yay) writing frantically or reading just as frantically because oh my GOSH there are so many great books coming out right now and honestly I just want to read them all. Are there any books coming out right now that you’re super excited to get to reading?

spoiler free, Tags

Dungeons and Dragons Book Tag – Class Edition

tag Thursday

So as I’m sure many of you who have read my blog before will probably know, I really like Dungeons and Dragons. Like. REALLY like dungeons and dragons. My mum used to play when I was little and I’ve roped her into playing 5e with me and my friends this year too which has been a lot of fun. I’ve been playing for about three years now I think and it has had an enormous impact on my life as it really helps to foster my creativity, it’s a fantastic escape for when I’m feeling crappy and I love having things to be genuinely invested in and excited for. Now, I know I’m primarily a book blog but I do have some Dungeons and Dragons themed posts lined up so I thought this would be a good opportunity to make a little themed book tag to cross over two of my great loves. So I present to you, The Dungeons and Dragons Book Tag: Class Edition.

Barbarian – “A fierce warrior or primitive background who can enter a battle rage.”
A book that made you mad.
The Island by M.A Benett made me see red. The main character was absolutely and completely horrid, the things he did and thought were often disgusting and I think it was the first time I’d ever felt such rage for a character. I’m fairly certain the point of the book was to dislike this character, it does a brilliant job and will honestly be a book that will always stick in my mind. Kind of an I hate the character but not sure I hate the book kind of thing.

Bard – “An inspiring magician whose power echoes the music of creation.”
Your favourite book that features music in some way.
Finding Home by Hari Conner (spoiler-free review for volume two here) had some beautiful scenes with Janek playing and singing that I absolutely adore.

Cleric – “A priestly champion who wields divine magic in service of a higher power.” 
A book with a message to it that you found particularly important. 
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman. I feel like this book says grief is okay, grief is important and necessary and everyone deals with theirs in their own ways and that it is okay to feel better but to also carry that grief with you even still.

Druid – “A priest of the old faith, wielding the powers of nature and adopting animal forms.”  
A classic book you’ve enjoyed. 
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. I don’t usually read a lot of books that are considered “classics” but I think this one would qualify. I read it tons when I was younger and it defintley helped me to fall in love with fantasy in a hard way.

Fighter – “A master of martial combat, skilled with a variety of weapons and armour.”
In a trial by combat which bookish character would you choose to fight for you?
No question, I would choose Mia from the Nevernight trilogy.

Monk – “A master of martial arts, harnessing the power of the body in pursuit of physical and spiritual perfection.”
A book that has everything.  

Once and Future by Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy for sure. To quote my own review in-fact, “SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES.”

Paladin – “A holy warrior bound to a sacred oath”
A book you will recommend or defend until the end of time. 

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman because it is beautiful and wholesome and I love those boys so much (and Nelly).

Ranger – “A warrior who combats threats on the edge of civilization”
Favourite bookish animal companion.
Nelly from Heartstopper obviously.

Rouge – “A scoundrel who uses stealth and trickery to overcome obstacles and enemies.”
A plot twist that snuck up on you! 

I feel like I just need to say Lauren James instead of just naming a book because her books, especially The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World featured some twists that felt like they literally smacked me in the face which I adore.

Sorcerer – “A spellcaster who draws on inherent magic from a gift or bloodline.”
Favourite bookish family.
Sorry but I’ve got to say the Herondales from the Shadow Hunter books. Will, Jace, James, Lucie? Herondales are awesome.

Warlock – “A wielder of magic that is derived from a bargain with an extraplanar entity.”
A bookish anti-hero.  

I know a lot of people hate her but I adore Jude Duarte from the Cruel Prince. I love that she’s unapologetic, she takes a hit and gets back up and she does what she needs to get what she wants.

Wizard – “A scholarly magic-user capable of manipulating the structures of reality.”
Favourite fictional world.
This is kind of a cheaty answer because it’s not wholly bookish but Azeroth and it’s other surrounding continents from World of Warcraft. I don’t play as much as I would like anymore and there haven’t been many new tie-in books recently but I will never forget Azeroth, Northrend, Pandaria and all the others and probably the others to come. The world just has such amazingly rich lore and it’s only secrets as well as looking beautiful.

I won’t tag anyone in particular but if you liked this tag and want to take part, whether you’ve played or are a Dungeons and Dragons fan or not, consider yourself tagged and let me know if you do it so I can check out your answers! Have a great rest of the week/end and I’ll see you back here Sunday with some witchy books!

 

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday October 23rd 2019

www wednesday

Another fortnight has been and gone and I’ve not made huge progress reading these past two weeks. I’m actually behind my reading goal on Goodreads now too. I think I’m finding that I don’t have the patience for many bigger books at the moment or they have to REALLY take my fancy perhaps. Good news is some of my reads coming up are books I’m stupidly excited for so fingers crossed! Not to mention there are a few books etc I’m reading alongside my main reads too…

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m super excited to say that I’ve just started reading (literally this morning) Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder!! It’s not out until November 18th but the lovely Maria has gifted me with an early copy in advance in exchange for an honest review the week of release. I loved the first book in the sentinels series ‘Navigating the Stars’ and I’m absolutely hyped to be able to read this early!!

(I’m also reading How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell at bedtimes with Nate at the moment and it’s such a fun read with some actually really great messages)

(annnnd I’m reading the weekly instalments of An Unauthorised Fan Treatise by Lauren James! You can check it out at ‘Gottie’s blog’ here every Monday or like me you can pledge to Lauren’s Paetron for early access a week ahead and maybe a cameo in the comments. Look closely at the comments for Chapter one for a Fantastic surprise! )

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Angel Mage by Garth Nix for my blog tour post next week and I’m giving my self a few days to mull it over before I write my review because my initial thoughts were…underwhelming. The pacing just felt totally off making the ending really jarring for me. It also took me forever to read and I think I’m going to try and steer clear of big books for a while.

What do you think you’re read next?

The plan is to read CTRL S by Andy Briggs for a blog tour I’m taking part in come early December. This planned read has another reason though which is that it sounds like it has some really similar themes to my project for NaNoWriMo and I find it really helpful to read or casually watch something in the same vein or with the same feel as what I’m writing to help keep me in that mindset so this was just timed perfectly.

Although my review list is pretty full at the moment and so I’ve not been accepting many requests I couldn’t resist the new Maria Snyder book as she’s been one of my favourite authors for more years than I can remember and the timing etc for CTRL S was just spot on. I do also have a NetGalley copy of The Sky Weaver by Kristin Cicerelli AS WELL in addition to NPC Tea volume seven coming out at the end of the month and the fact I now have access to six months advance worth of Finding Home by Hari Conner (You can check out my spoiler-free reviews for Volume One here and Volume Two here). AND DID I MENTION I’M DOING NANOWRIMO IN NOVEMBER?! It’s going to be a damn busy month let me tell you. See you here tomorrow when it’s NaNoWriMo tag time!

spoiler free, tbr thursday

October TBR 2019

tbr Thursday
It is somehow October already and although I’m wondering where on earth the time went I’m also SO READY for Autumn. Give me cardigans and hot chocolate and darker nights, chilly air and crispy leaves. I love Autumn so on that note I am glad to see October, it just arrived sooner than I had expected. I had an absolutely terrible reading month in September and only actually got two books read all month after Darkdawn took me so long. BUT I think I’m back in the swing of things (hopefully) and this month my TBR will look a little familiar as it will include a lot of the books from last month with one extra which I am super grateful to be on the blog tour for at the end of October!

Angel Mage by Garth Nix
I loved reading Sabriel when I was younger and something described as The Three Muskateers x Joan of Arc with MAGIC. Yes please, thank you, I’ll be over here reading. This is the blog tour I’m on this month (despite me telling myself I wouldn’t be accepting any more reviews or blog tours last month – I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity). I’ve already read a small bit and have already enjoyed what I’ve seen so far so fingers crossed the rest of the book is just as good!

Hex Life Anthology by Kelly Armstrong, Rachel Caine and many more
After just writing up my review for a different anthology I’m super excited to finally FINALLY get around to reading this collection of witchy stories at last.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
The new novel by the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower promises to be different, unnerving and spooky from what I’ve read of the sample I’ve already read,

The Boneships by RJ Barker
I had really hoped to read this last month and would have been what I read after Darkdawn but my copy seems to have got lost in the post somewhere *cries* I have thankfully managed to get a copy via NetGalley which I’m still looking forward to reading, just a little later than I expected.

NPC Tea: Issue Seven by Sarah Milman
I AM NOT READY. Issue seven is the penultimate issue and I’m excited, scared and sad. I love all of the characters and I’m not ready for it to end! That being said, some things went down in issue six that need to be addressed and ahhhhh I just can’t. I backed the issue on Kickstarter and I think they’ll probably be sent out soon!

I feel like having all of these books on my list might be a little overconfident as a good few of them are pretty chunky books. It’s also Intokber month and I’m planning to take part in the writer’s version as well as prepping for NaNoWriMo next month and you know, raising a four-year-old, running a house (haha), etc.  Either way, wish me luck and may your TBR be ever fruitful but not so much that it falls over and crushes you to your death!

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books I read in school

Six for Sunday
Not sure if this is meant to be about books I had to read in school or books that I ended up reading in school because I spent almost all of my free time in the library (until the last year when I became a music/drama nerd but shh) so I read A LOT of books and I don’t remember most of them but a good few stuck with me.

Animorphs by K.A Applegate
I’m not sure if I read the books because of the TV show or watched the TV show because of the books but I know that I loved them both. I adored that this group of teenagers could turn into different animals but always had that element of risk that if they stay too long in animal form they would be stuck in it forever. The tension in these books was also so well done, there were so many close calls and reveals throughout, they were absolutely addictive. I think these were some of the first books I read that I found really interesting, not forgetting the blossoming of my first book crush in the form of Tobias who I fell head over heels in love with. Turns out I’ve always had a thing for the angsty boys.

The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith
I found the first Vampire Diaries Books not long after I finished Animorphs. I spent a lot of time at my local library by this point and they had a lovely YA section with nice comfy chairs where I would go to read in peace while my mum thought I was out playing. I had finished the Animorphs books and didn’t really know where to go from there but there was a whole section of the YA shelves that were just black and I was a little nerdy goth girl then so naturally, this drew my attention and there I found the first of the four Vampire Diaries books. I sat in the library from opening until close reading The Awakening in one sitting. It rocked my damn world and I took the other three out and barely left my room for the weekend. I think I’ve loved vampire books ever since.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
A possibly obvious one I know. I actually hadn’t heard of Harry Potter until I started secondary school and a friend I made there (I knew no one when I started so it was nice to find bookish friends) told me I needed to read Harry Potter…so I did and I fell in love with that too, it was perfectly timed with my starting of secondary school so I just felt like I was going on the same journey I think. It was nice to identify with the trio as they got older. I also distinctively remember that I made me and my friend our own full length (with book lists) Hogwarts acceptance letters.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
I think this was a read from primary school and I read it often, over and over again, I loved that there were girls who liked to fight with swords but it also showed me that you didn’t always have to have a sword to be brave or to fight for the people you love. I’ve learned recently that there was also a sequel that I absolutely have to read.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This one I discovered my first half-year of college. I had discovered sometimes we had free periods and once a week I had a two-hour free period and approaching Christmas I decided to use those two hours to head into town and do some Christmas shopping. Waterstones was running its 3 for 2 offer that it ran every Christmas for years, I brought two for gifts and at the desk, they had a selection of books also on the offer, one of those was Poison Study. It had the classic purple UK Cover and it looked pretty cool so I brought it and it was brilliant, Maria went on to become one of my absolute favourite authors.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Another free period college find, this time with book vouchers from Christmas. I actually picked up New Moon first because it was new out and caught my eye but they had sold out of copies of Twilight itself so I couldn’t start the series. I managed to find out about the series online and found somewhere to order it from. I was able to read the first chapter or two online while I waited and did so immediately, then also the equivalent of the first couple of chapters of Midnight son (Twilight told from Edwards point of view). I fell in love with these books pretty quick and although I wasn’t an over the top “Twihard” I was definitely a fan. Even though now I’m older and I’ve read a lot more and can see the problems in both the books and films, not to mention Edwards behaviour (and Jacob’s) I still love them both and the films in particular (THOSE SOUNDTRACKS Y’ALL) hold a lot of brilliant nostalgia and I watch them every few months.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the books I read when I was in school/college and would love to check yours out too, don’t forget to let me know if we have any in common! I also want to give an honourable mention to The Crucible by Arthur Miller and Macbeth by (duh) Shakespeare, which were two books/plays we were required to read for my English literature classes and I utterly adored both of them.

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 25th 2019

www wednesday

My reading has been stagnant for a few weeks now while I’ve been reading Darkdawn but I’ve finally finished it now and so I can move on! I was excited to get a lot more reading done but it turns out I’ve got a horrid cold my husband brought home last week and so I’ve just been moping around feeling sorry for myself while occasionally playing animal crossing to cheer me up in between looking after Nate who has also caught it! I’m still making progress though and so I invite you to check out my fortnightly WWW Wednesday post and hear about what I’ve been reading and what I plan to read next.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milgrave Harwood. I’m only about 20% of the way through at the moment and I’ve enjoyed the writing style but nothing hugely interesting has happened yet although there have been little hints here and there of what’s to come possibly. In case you haven’t heard of The Deathless Girls before it’s a tagged as a feminist retelling of the story of the Bridges of Dracula.

What did you recently finish reading?

Obviously Darkdawn but since then I’ve also finished NPC Tea – Vol Six by Sarah Milman (Issues one – six available here). “NPC Tea is about Cardiff’s least popular tea shop, Y Ddraig, run by a perfectionist elf and a disgruntled fire summon. When a magicless human discovers Y Ddraig’s secret and a type of banned magic rears its ugly head, caddies upon caddies of rotting tea become the least of their worries as the entire city of Cardiff is threatened with destruction!” I think volume six may have been my absolute favourite issue so far! There were some lovely sweet moments, much blushing and a nice healthy dose of danger too! Things are really hotting up with the penultimate issue seven out imminently, ahh I don’t want it to end!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Unless NPC Volume seven turns up before I finish The Deathless Girls then it’ll almost certainly be Angel Mage by Garth Nix. I’m really excited to read this new dive into adult fantasy AND it’s a standalone novel which I’m so here for right now. I’ve seen some describe the book as a cross of The Three Muskateers and Joan of Arc which sounds very much up my streets (I was obsessed with The Man in the Iron Mask and The Messenger: Joan of Arc when I was a teenager) so I can’t wait to get stuck in, plus I’m taking part in the blog tour towards the end of the month!

Have you read any of the books featured today? What are you reading at the moment? What have you read recently? Let me know and I’ll reply from my sickbed as much as I can. Keep an eye out for a new book tag coming tomorrow!

book reviews, spoiler free

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book Review

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The Girl the Sea Gave Back 
by Adrienne Young

Rating: XXXX

Published September 3rd 2019 by Titan Books

“He knew that I’d bring death since the moment he first laid eyes on me. And he was right.”

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

I was gifted an early finished copy of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by publisher Titan Books in exchange for an honest review, despite not being blown away by Sky in the Deep, the debut book by the same author I decided to give this second book a go as there defintley felt like potential and the cover and name of the book completely won me over.

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You might remember back in April I reviewed Sky in the Deep (you can find my review here) and I found it really predictable and didn’t hugely enjoy it too much as a result but I am pleased to report the sequel of sorts/companion story The Girl the Sea Gave Back felt like a vast improvement. If you haven’t read Sky in the Deep however do not despair as they can be read as separate books and you do not have to have read Sky in the Deep to understand and follow TGTSGB. I would say, however, that it is beneficial and gives the story much more depth. It is certainly a good story in its own right but I found I was already attached to other characters because of their involvement in the first book, especially Halvard who is a main character this time around and I had already decided I would lay my life down for him in Sky in the Deep.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back, for me at least, defintley benefited from having a little more of a fantasy element to it. The main character, Tova, is a truth tongue, she can communicate (in a way) with the spinners who carve fate into the tree of Udur and thus she can cast runes and use them to determine futures and outcomes. This really gave it a more interesting depth and the fact that Tova from a Kyrr, (a member of a mysterious clan from the headlands who keep to themselves) living among another clan called the Svell made for some brilliant narrative and conflict within as she tried to find her place. I really like that although Tova is young and relatively inexperienced she made smart choices and was an easy character to mesh with and see the world through her eyes.

Halvard is all grown up ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep and he is almost impossible not to love, he’s grown up to be honourable and thoughtful but as one of the first generations to have not seen battle in the fighting seasons, instead being taught merely to fish and hunt instead of fight he sometimes feels he is lesser and not worthy of responsibility placed on him by those around him. He is as wholesome as ever in this companion story and the love I already had for him only grew as he makes hard decisions and proves himself to be who his family and his village already know him to be.

The plot was paced fairly well, with sprinklings of battle here and there which were written very well, being both exciting and easy to follow. There is the smallest sprinkling of romance involved and I was worried that it would be very predictable and irritate me but honestly, it was okay and not made a huge deal of which I think was for the best. I found moments surprised me and I became quite invested in the outcome of all involved, The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a solid and enjoyable read.