Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The Girl in the Tower Blog Tour

For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya
will choose a third way: magic...

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior's training, recognises this 'boy' as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical...(Goodreads)

If you've read (and loved) The Bear and the Nightingale, the first question you probably have about The Girl in the Tower is 'Does it live up to the brilliance of the first book?' 
It does. And more. 

The Girl in the Tower takes place shortly after the first books events. Vasya is now a young woman, still eager to travel and see all she can, but wiser in the ways of the world. So when she is forced to decide whether to marry or go into a convent, she takes her fate into her own hands. Vasya is now one of my favourite characters. Her intelligence and bravery constantly had me cheering her on. She says 'I can' in a world that tells her she can't. 

Arden manages to blend history and fantasy so well. She makes me fully believe that I might've encountered spirits and demons in Russia as well as politics and war. Her writing transports you straight to the harsh lands of Russia. You're right beside Vasya, snow crunching beneath your feet in the stillness of the woods. 

You won'tr regret picking up this instalment, although it might make you desperate for the third book The Winter of the Witch, the upcoming conclusion to the trilogy. 

And now for an exclusive interview with the author herself- Katherine Arden!

· Where did the idea for the Winternight trilogy come from? Was there a moment when you realised you wanted to write this story?

It kind of grew gradually. When I started, all I knew is that I wanted to write a book set in Russia and based on a fairy tale. I got started mostly through boredom, then fell in love with the writing process.

· How has the experience of writing your second book been different to writing the first?

Much more stressful! With your first book, there are no expectations. With the second, you think that you ought to know what you’re doing, and it’s much harder to relax into the process. At least that is how it was for me. Writing the second book was largely a process of learning to accept that as a writer you will not always write well and you must allow your book to grow without burdening it with expectations.

· Your books read like a Russian fairytales, which for someone like me who is very accustomed to western European fairytales is very refreshing. Have you always preferred more eastern European tales?

Not particularly, although I do love Russian fairy tales. I just love stories in general. As a kid I loved Grimm, Perrault, the Thousand and One Nights, Afanasyev, the Just So Stories—really any kind of tale.

· Which spirit from Russian folklore would you most like be real? (Although who’s to say they’re not?)

Sivka-Burka—I want a magic horse

· Finally, what can your readers expect from The Girl in the Tower?

Read the book! It is tighter in pacing and rhythm than The Bear and the Nightingale, since it covers weeks instead of years. It is also a bit darker and more dramatic, and the themes are more mature, since the main character is a young woman instead of a child.

Check out the other stops on The Girl in the Tower's blog tour for more reviews, giveaways and interviews!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Illumicrate August 2017 Unboxing!!

Today, my first ever Illumicrate box arrived!!

I legit could not wait to get into this thing, I'm way too impatient with book boxes. I'd been watching the tracking like a hawk all weekend to see when it would arrive.

*spoilerthatisntaspoiler* EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.

Let's dive in!

First we open it and see this....

I'll insert a pic of the back of the card at the end so it doesn't spoil what's inside.

 Under the cardboard the first item I see is AN ALETHIOMETER COASTER! 

The Alethiometer is from His Dark Materials and the artwork was done by Hannah Hitchman Art.
Then we have....

STICKY BOOKMARKS from Blossom Books.  
I've never had or used these before but that is about to change - look how cute they are!

Next up: MOXIE BADGES!! 

I haven't read Moxie yet, but these sure do make me excited to.


Then we have a SHAKESPEARE ZIP BAG that says 'Seek Happy Nights to Happy Days' from Miss Phi.

I think this could be my favourite item in the box - a BOOK MONEY JAR from Blossom Books.

Next is some RED CHURCH TEA from T-ology. 

This is inspired by Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. 

I am pretty wary to drink this since the card says '(Warning: may contain the blood of your enemies)' I mean, i'm all for vanquishing my enemies but i'm not sure I wanna drink their blood.

This gorgeous WISDOM JOURNAL is going to be perfect for me to make notes in. 

It's from Hey Atlas Creative and says 'Even Strength Must Bow To Wisdom Sometimes' which is a quote from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan... a book series and author I still (shamefully) have not read. 

We also get a few BOOKMARKS and card in there for some upcoming books - including The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden which I am SO EXCITED for. 

If you haven't read The Bear and the Nightingale (the first book) I HIGHLY recommend it. 

The first book in the box is an uncorrected proof of NYXIA by Scott Reintgen. I have never heard of this book or author, but the many many 5 stars all over the cover have me intrigued. 

It's out on September 12th!

Finally we learn why the description of this box said the book was about 'a true ICON'. Included is an exclusive sprayed edges edition of WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo.

Along with the book there's a cool little  WONDER WOMAN BADGE to match.

Here's the official list of what's inside! 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Wonder Woman: Warbringer By Leigh Bardugo

29749085She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. (Goodreads)

Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors, so I went into this book with complete faith that she would do Diana justice. I can report that she has done just that. 

I'm not someone who grew up with Wonder Woman, I knew of her but I don't think I could've called myself a fan. It's not that I didn't like her but rather due to a lack of exposure to her awesomeness. 2017 brought us the Wonder Woman film, which I eagerly went to see. I will forever wish I'd had that film when I was younger. Now could not be a better time for Wonder Woman: Warbringer to come out. 

Since Alia is a warbringer and so a descendant of Helen of Troy brings some Greek mythology into the modern day setting. It's not overwhelming or hard to understand, but it does make you eager to go pick up a mythology book and do some research. 

Diana is in her teenager years during this novel, young and eager to impress. You can still expect some amazing action from her, she might be younger but she's still a badass fighter. 
The whole cast of characters Bardugo has created is amazing. In the main group the only white character is Diana, which was so refreshing to see. Each one of them is important and interesting, they're not just there purely to gape in awe at Diana from the sidelines.
The dynamic between them was my favourite thing. The strength and complexity of their relationships is wonderful to read. Female friendships and strong women are a big part of the book, including showing that there are different ways of being strong, the ability to fight isn't the only one, which is amazing.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer is the first novel in a new quartet named the DC Icons. 3 other YA authors, Marie Lu, Matt de la Pena and Sarah J Maas. Each will deal with a different superhero during their young adult years. I have high expectations for the others now.

Definitely pick this one up. You don't need an extensive knowledge of Wonder Woman to understand it - it's a story anyone can enjoy. 

Bonus pic of me at YALC dressed as Sophie Hatter dressing as Wonder Woman!

Thank you to Penguin for sending me a finished copy to review!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

YALC 2017!!

As I write this it has been a week since YALC and I'm willing to give just about anything to be able to go back and do it all over again.

For the past three years, me, my brother and my dad have gone down to London to go to YALC and London Film and Comic Con. It's like a family tradition now.

This year we went down the day before the convention started, on the Thursday. I FINALLY got to visit Westminster Abbey - I've been meaning to go there for years but never got the chance. It's insanely beautiful inside.

In the evening we went to see Hamlet with Andrew Scott and Jessica Brown Findlay. Both were amazing to watch live, but I have to admit after such a long day by the end I was ready to fall asleep. It started at 7 and didn't end until 10:45!

On Friday it was finally time for YALC!
I dressed up as Sophie Hatter from Howl's Moving Castle for the weekend. The dress is so floaty and swishy - I felt so awesome walking around in it!
Friday was my busiest day for signings, so I hauled all my books from the hotel to Olympia. It broke my shoulders to do so, but it was so worth it.

Alison Goodman lead a Regency Dancing exercise on the afternoon, which I knew I just HAD to do. I'm obsessed with her series The Dark Days Club and could not pass up to opportunity to be taught to dance by her. It ended up being so much fun - I think everyone just laughed the entire way through.

 On Friday night we went to see The Phantom of the Opera aka the best musical ever. We got front row tickets and I literally could have cried it was so gooooooodddd. This is how close we were to the stage.

Saturday was filled with more signings, more panels, more books, more swag, more friends....

In the evening I ventured to Comic Con to see the Game of Thrones panel, which meant I missed the infamous Benedict sighting as he came past Non Pratt's head shaving. 

Sunday morning was all about grabbing an Invictus arc. Mission success! I then got it signed by the awesome Ryan Graudin!

The line for Invictus arcs taken by Ryan Graudin - with my dad unhelpfully standing right in the way! *shakes head* 

Sunday afternoon was all about spotting Cumberbatch for myself. Misson success! I first spotted him walking by, but then later he walked past and said hi to someone and then hi how are you? to me. Me being me, I just screeched HI back. I also spotted Natalie Dormer walking around - she's even more gorgeous in person.

Here are some amazing cosplays I got pictures of. There are so many more I wish I'd taken pictures of! 
I DIED seeing the Rhys and Feyre cosplay. It was just perfect.

My brother told me there was a Howl cosplay going around Comic Con, but after exploring the maze that was downstairs for a while we could not find him anymore. So disappointing! We would have been great to get a picture of!

Here's some pics of my haul from the weekend after I eventually managed to sort out everything I'd gotten signed/ bought/ grabbed in London. 
First pic is what I took myself. 
Second pics left stack is arcs I grabbed. Right stack is books I bought. 
Third pic is swag!

Undoubtedly the best part of going to YALC is seeing people I only see once a year. Chatting books with everyone is always an absolute joy. I can't wait to do it all over again next year!
(I also need to remember to get pics with everyone - I always get caught up in booktalk and forget!)

Thanks for reading!!! 

(Calcifer in his home for the weekend - My hat!
Taken by @BookAddictdGirl)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

My Latest Reads...

You'd think that since its the summer holidays I'd have more time to read, and yet somehow I don't. *Cries forever* But these are some books I have read recently.

The Diviners and Lair of Dreams
By Libba Bray

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. (

Image result for lair of dreamsI've had The Diviners sitting on my bookshelves for about 2 years now. I'd bought it because I heard such amazing things about it and I knew I'd love it. I eventually got around to reading it and now i'm so angry I waited so long because OH. MY. GOD. this series is amazing. Immediately after starting The Diviners I ordered Lair of Dreams so I could dive straight into the second book.

Everythingggg about these books is perfect (to me, anyway).
1)They're dense with an awesome pacing.
2) The setting is so vivid. Its set in 1920's New York City so its full of everything you've heard about that time, the parties, the celebrities...but also the things you don't often hear of like the racism and large population of immigrants.
3) The characters are all so interesting. Every. Single. One. They're not perfect. They're sometimes unlikeable, but I love them.
4) It's super spooky. I had no idea just how creepy these books would be and it is written SO. WELL.

The Friend 
32604999By Dorothy Koomson

What secrets would you kill to keep? 

After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret.

Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.

Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life.

That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .

Before The Friend, I'd never read a Dorothy Koomson novel, so thank you edpr for fixing that! They sent me a copy of the book cutely wrapped up with a letter printed on seed paper which means it can be planted! I didn't even know seed paper existed so that was a lovely surprise!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Friend! It took me a couple of chapters to get my head around everything and the characters but once I passed that I couldn't put it down!
I adore novels that explore the complexities of friendships.

I have most definitely taken Dorothy's advice on the letter - I've given both the letter and book to my mam. She'll be planting the letter and reading the book for herself so she can enjoy it too! I think she might even enjoy it more than me!

The Throne of Glass series
By Sarah J Maas

With the release of Tower of Dawn fast approaching, me and Ari (@_ohhbooks) decided to do a full series reread. It's been so long since I'd had a reread so I immediately jumped on the idea.

So far we've read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire. It has been SO interesting being able to pick up on links and hints to what will happen in the future books now I know what to look for.

Every time Duke Perrington is in a scene, everything he does or says has x100 more impact.

The most interesting thing I've discovered during this reread is how my feelings about Chaolaena have changed. When I first read the first three books I was 100% Team Chaolaena, so throughout Heir of Fire I was looking forward to there reconciliation and never saw Rowan as a potential love interest. Then when we got QoS I was hit with that fact that they wouldn't be getting back together. But after hearing from both Aelin and Chaol on their relationship I saw that they were no longer right for each other.
 When I read CoM last week, I found I still adored their relationship, but could see how they wouldn't work together. Then reading Heir of Fire without the desperate hope they would get back together, I could better appreciate the growing relationship between her and Rowan. I feel SO much more at peace with it all after this read. Hearing they aren't right for each other made me brain understand, but reading it for myself convinced my heart. If you're still unsure about how to feel about it all, I'd highly recommend a reread of all the books out so far.

Out Dark Duet 
32075662By Victoria Schwab

KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.
AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.
Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within? (

I love Victoria Schwab, and will always buy her books when they come out but I was a bit underwhelmed by Our Dark Duet (don't hate me!). It was good and Victoria is a brilliant writer, but I lacked an emotional connection to the characters, so when I finished the book I simply closed it and added it to my bookshelves. There was no mourning or desperate need to reread immediately.

The one thing that does bug me about Our Dark Duet was the new monster. It was never explained where it came from or how it came to be, which for me was frustrating. 

Despite sounding harsh about this book, I'll still be picking up everything Victoria writes. 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Pokemon Go Book Tag!

I'm actually really excited to do this! It's the first book tag I've ever done. I always love watching booktube videos of them and it never really occurred to me that I should do one on my blog. But anyway, here goes!

This tag was originally created by Read At Midnight - which you can read if you follow the link, I highly recommend you do! (All the pics I use belong to them)
I know most people would say Harry Potter for this, and HP is a big part of why I love to read. But when I think back to when I properly became obsessed with reading, my mind thinks of The Swan Princess by Zoe Marriott. I won the book in a raffle and it completely inspired me. I kept talking about it to all my friends who would roll their eyes and tell me to shut up. I'll be forever grateful that this wonderful fairytale like story with a kickass heroine came into my life.


Lord of the Rings. Easy.

Erm... I'm not too sure about this one. If a book is everywhere it doesn't usually affect my love for it. Read at Midnight chose Adult colouring books for this one and I think I agree. Although I was never a fan in the first place. I don't mind colouring books for adults, but now there seems to be one for EVERYTHING.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I see a lot of dislike for it for being too similar to previous YA novels, but it's written really well and while the first book and the set up of the storyline might feel familiar by the third book its wholly unique.

Size doesn't really put me off. I'll often wait until I know I have a large chunk of time in which to read the book(s) so I don't have to keep stopping and starting it/them. I read all 8 Outlander books the summer after my first year of a-levels. I had recently been putting off reading The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss but since I have hour long bus journeys to university I eventually ticked them off my TBR.

This could literally be any book. SO many books keep me up reading late into the morning. I think the latest one was A Court of Wings and Ruin because its so big and I was utterly determined to finish it in one day. So I stayed up until about 4am to finish it. WORTH. IT.
OMG SO MANY CHOICES. I think my main ones are Feysand (Feyre and Rhysand...and also any other pairing in the ACOTAR series) and Kinej (Kaz and Inej). OH! and Lady Helen and Lord Carlston from The Dark Days Club. SWOON.
I'm gonna go with Caraval by Stephanie Garber for this one. I read it a while back but I just remember it being non stop action and me being unable to put it down because of that.


The Shadowhunter Chronicles, Grisha series and Maas's ACOTAR series. JUST KEEP THEM COMING FOREVER.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I first started reading this years ago but when I first heard it about it I was SO sceptical. It sounded so strange! Cyborgs?? the moon is colonised?? AND Cinderella?? Even now I can't explain it to people, I just tell them to read.

I've still never read a Rick Riordan book. I think I would love his books but there's so many if I do end up loving them my bank account will hate me.
There are some really cool A Song of Ice and Fire editions that were really expensive and really limited but dammmmnnnnn they were awesome.

I just bought When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and I've heard so many amazing things about it so I can't wait to read it for myself.

*Take a deep breath* Sarah J Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Cassandra Clare, Marissa Meyer, Ruta Sepetys, Kristin Cashore, Samantha Shannon, Laini Taylor, Sabaa Tahir, Renee Ahdieh, Diana Gabaldon, George RR Martin, Victoria Aveyard, Cristin Terrill, Katherine Arden. *Breathes out* I think thats everyone.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas springs to mind just because its been nearly two years since we have anything about Chaol. We last saw him in Queen of Shadows as he left to see if he could regain the use of this legs. I MISS him fiercely and I can't wait to get more of him and be introduced to a whole new continent in the ToG world. It's gonna be awesomeeeee.

Hope you enjoyed!