Saturday 28 February 2015

Book Haul #103, Or The One Where I Fall Off The Wagon A Bit...

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

As you may have guessed from this post's title I bought books this week, not a huge amount but still more than I wanted to. I think because I had a gift card I got into the mindset I could buy anything I wanted and it didn't count... Crazy, crazy thinking but at least I was fairly restrained! Keep thinking holiday & ComicCon!!! It was my library book delivery this week too but I think I'll leave that until next week as I got a lot of books, and by a lot I mean about thirty. Yes, thirty library books...

Here's what I got for review this week and what I spent my gift card/hard earned pennies on!



For Review

From Titan

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #110 - A Madness So Discreet

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

A Madness So Discreet - Mindy McGinnis
ISBN - 9780062320865
Publisher - Katherine Tegen Books
Release date - October 6 2015
Find - Goodreads 

Grace Mae knows madness. She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil - and the madness that exists in all of us.

I'll admit I fell in love with the cover for this one before I even read the synopsis but I'm desperate to read the book now as I think it sounds suitably creepy and definitely a book for me. A pretty long wait though, until October...

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #82 - Favorite Heroines From Books & TV

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous gals cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books & TV

I have a vague recollection of doing this topic before but cannot for the life of me remember how long ago it was. Anyway, here's a new list of some of my favorite heroines from books and, thanks to characters from Game of Thrones, television too!

Lila - A Darker Shade of Magic

Mori - Jo Walton

Elizabeth Bennett - Pride & Prejudice

Lyra - His Dark Materials

Sansa Stark - A Song of Ice & Fire

Brienne of Tarth - ASoIaF

Daenerys Targaryen - ASoIaF

Lady Trent - A Natural History of Dragons

Karou - Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Anne Shirley - Anne of Green Gables

Monday 23 February 2015

Review & Giveaway: A Darker Shade of Magic - V E Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic - V E Schwab
ISBN - 9781783295401
Publisher - Titan Books
Release date - February 27 2015

Kell is one of the last Travelers - rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive - trickier than they hoped.

I've been wanting to read something by V E (Victoria) Schwab for a while, I have a couple of her YA books on my shelves but as soon as I read the synopsis for A Darker Shade of Magic I knew her second novel for adults was going to be the first book by Victoria that I read. Imagine if you can lots of different versions of the same place, some great, some okay and some not doing so well. Where would you stay? Would you risk everything and maybe end up somewhere where surviving was a daily battle?

Kell is one of the last surviving Antari, those born with magic, and living in Red London. Red London is one of three alternate London's, not all in Great Britain but all in the same place layered upon top of each other. Only accessible by blood magic and using a talisman from the London you want to visit Kell moves between the three, legitimately as an envoy of sorts, delivering and collecting letters from monarchs and sovereigns but also as a smuggler, bringing items back to his London with little or no worth, hoarding them at great risk to himself. Only, his adopted brother Rhy knows exactly what he is doing and begs him to stop, knowing what the penalty might be and not only to Kell.

If only Kell had listened... What follows is a riveting tale of heartbreak, betrayal and friendship all deftly woven together beautifully by Ms Schwab's wonderful prose. Red London, so called for the river that runs red through the city, is wealthy, healthy, oppulent but without much magic. Grey London is our London, around 1819 apparently where there's no magic and White London is the creepiest version of London. Everything and everyone is washed out, there's no color and the people are constantly fighting with/against the magic still there. Thrown in the sadistic Dane twins who rule as King and Queen and you have somewhere you definitely don't want to live.

A motley collection of extraordinary characters come together for what is probably one of the best books I'm going to read this year. Kell is not your typical hero but he is loyal and loves his adopted family even though he feels more like a possession sometimes rather than a son. Bitter and charming, a dangerous combination, Kell travels between worlds using the magic of the Antari, one of only two left (Holland being the other, working for Astrid & Athos in White London, and if you check out the Pinterest board for ADSoM you would have to agree with the inspiration for the character!). Sure enough though his smuggling habits get him into trouble which is where Delilah 'Lila' Bard comes in. Resident in Grey London, the thief is the most wanted man in London and the fact that she's actually a woman is probably the one thing that's stopped her from getting caught. Lila is desperate to get away though and, seriously contemplating piracy as a career move, sets off on an incredible journey after making it obvious Kell can't do this by himself any more and she's going along with him.

Throw in Rhy, the Crown Prince of Red London, a playboy fiercely loyal to Kell but also envious of his magic, probably my favorite character although with such a great bunch it's almost impossible to have just one! Rhy intrigued me, I'm certain that there is more going on there so I'm hoping we get to see a lot more of him in the second book of the trilogy. I want to see if my hunch about a possible love interest is right although I'm really hoping there is no love triangle. My other favorite was Holland but I really can't say much about him or his part in the story except to say that Mads would be the perfect actor to play him in a television adaptation! The different Londons, Grey, Red & White, were all characters in their own right. The way they were so vividly written it was easy to build up a picture of them, and to imagine that any one of them could be your London. I loved the tavern in each city, in the same place every time but with different names

A Darker Shade of Magic was everything I wanted it to be and more, definitely worthy of my top rating as I was awake until 5am reading it then had to get up at 7am to entertain 2 five year olds... I laughed, I cried, there are parts where you hold your breath, there are parts where you are thinking there is no way that just happened. Chances are it probably did, Victoria's writing pulls you right in and then throws the perfect right hook leaving you totally bewildered - just like our main characters. Then, just when you think you're going to make it through without becoming a wreck the story ends. No cliffhangers, mostly resolved (no more details otherwise this becomes a spoiler zone) but leaving you dismayed about the fact that there's probably a year or more to wait for the second book. There are a couple of mysteries that I would like solved now, one involving Kell and where he actually came from before being adopted by the Royal family, and the other involving Lila and a mystery all her own.

If you want to read a beautifully written book with great action, magic, friendship, intrigue, mystery and more then you should definitely pick up a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic. You will not be disappointed. I'm now impatiently waiting for payday later this week so I can buy Victoria Schwab's first adult book, Vicious, and if it's half as good as this one then it will be fantastic. I think I've just found a new favorite author and as another of my favorites, Marie Brennan, called ADSoM a 'compelling tale of enchantment and adventure' I'm inclined to stick with that opinion.

I'm feeling generous so you could be in with a chance of winning a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic! I'll send it via Book Depository so the giveaway is open internationally, check out the list of countries they ship to first. The giveaway is open until midnight on February 28, just fill out the rafflecopter :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: A Darker Shade of Magic - V E Schwab

A Sharper Shade of Magic

Welcome to my stop on the tour for the amazing A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab! Victoria shares my obsession/fascination with coats, especially of the big swirly kind, so I'll hand you over to her for today's post :)

A Sharper Shade of Magic

It’s a poorly kept secret that I have an obsession with coats, so it’s no surprise that the main characters both find themselves in possession of magical outerwear (the coat on the cover even forms a V).
There’s Kell of course, who has a coat of infinite sides. Imagine it as a bit of fashion Room of Requirement.
And Lila, who trades her street thief attire in Red London for a magnificent black outfit complete with a trench that Burberry would envy.
Prince Rhy, meanwhile, favors a more ostentatious look, royal red with gold trim to match his eyes.
And Holland, the hunter, sports a palette of charcoal and silver.
And of course, the Dane Twins, who accentuate their pale hair and colorless skin with an all-white ensemble.

For a taste of the book’s fashion and style, check out its dedicated Pinterest board:

And just to give you a taster, here's a couple of pics which give you an idea of what London is like...

Look out for my review and a giveaway later on today!

Saturday 21 February 2015

Book Haul #102, Or The One Where I Went To Signings

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

So, I bought books again. Three this time. In my defense though they were all at signings and you kind of have to buy books when you're at signings. Don't you? That's my excuse anyway and I'm sticking to it! It's been a busy, busy week for me. Signings, making birthday cakes, reading some good books, traveling... Huge apologies to everyone who has stopped by and left comments, I'm so behind but I'm hoping to spend the next couple of days catching up and visiting some blogs to do the same!

Here's what I got this week!


Zom-B Bride

The Ship

For Review

The Library At Mount Char

My Diary From the Edge of the World

The Infinite

Friday 20 February 2015

Review & Giveaway: A Wicked Thing - Rhiannon Thomas

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the fabulous A Wicked Thing. Scroll down for information about the book and a great giveaway open to residents of the UK, US & Canada! Click on the banner to follow the rest of the tour!

A Wicked Thing
by Rhiannon Thomas
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 24th 2015


Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. 

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

“I never thought what happens after Sleeping Beauty wakes up would keep me at the edge of my seat, breathlessly turning pages. But Rhiannon Thomas has taken the familiar and the cliched and turned it into a tense, fast-paced read full of plot twists and revelations, set in a world at once intriguing and perilous.” - Sherry Thomas, author of The Burning Sky

“The book is welcome twist on the classic helpless-princess-saved-by-dashing-prince one expects from a fairy tale…. Fairy tale and fantasy fans alike will breeze through this retelling and eagerly await her next chapter.” - School Library Journal

“One of the best fairytale retellings I’ve ever read. Thomas uses the well-known back story of Sleeping Beauty to craft an entirely new future for Aurora that is anything but happily-ever-after. Starting the story after the moment that usually signals the end of the fairytale gave this book an original spin and makes it stand out among of sea of simple retellings. Don’t miss this great debut!” - Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

I'm obsessed with anything fairy tale, I think pretty much anyone who has read my blog more than once knows that, so the current trend for fairy tale retellings is absolutely amazing and I'm definitely making the most of it.

To be continued...

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Follow the A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.

I don't hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.

Open to all US, UK and Canada residents | Must be 13 or older to enter

FIRST PRIZE: Win (1) signed copy of A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas plus a spinning wheel charm bracelet.

SECOND PRIZE: Win (1) of (2) signed copy of A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas.

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