Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP by Sarah Glenn Marsh

This week I am waiting on a book that doesn't yet have a release date but that I am SO EXCITED FOR that I just can't wait to share it with you until it does have one... Say hello to...

FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Summary:
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Monday, 28 December 2015

ARC REVIEW: THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN by Michael Livingston

Summary:
The beginning of an epic historical fantasy that rocks the foundations of the ancient world 

Julius Caesar is dead, assassinated on the senate floor, and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar’s ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar’s legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, and vast armies and navies battle for supremacy, a secret conflict may shape the course of history.

Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a ruthless quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods—or the one God. Driven by vengeance, Juba has already attained the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, even if it means burning the entire world to the ground.

Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves . . . and the ten-year-old daughter of Cleopatra herself.

The Shards of Heaven reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.



Title: THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN
Author: Michael Livingston
Series: The Shards of Heaven #1
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I saw that one of my friends was reading this on Goodreads so I checked out the synopsis and fell instantly in love. This book has magical qualities because it does something that I find a lot of historical fiction can't do: it feels REAL. 

I studied "Classical Studies" in university as my minor which means I can now read, write, and speak Latin and Ancient Greek and know way too much information about things from BCE/early CE than you could ever imagine. So I was enthralled by the idea of a historical fiction surrounding the death of Caesar and the campaigns thereafter. And I have intimate knowledge of these campaigns, so I was gung ho about reading this one. 

And man, if you know ANYTHING, even the teensiest of of aspects of what happened during this time period, you are going to be so in love with this one. It perfectly blends the "this is what we know to have happened" and "this definitely could have happened" so seamlessly that I started to believe that this was the true version of history. 

I did like that only major events and timelines were touched because that is what made it feel so authentic, but I felt like because of this some of the pacing was a bit off. There were times when I had to double check the year at the beginning of the chapter to get a feel for what event we were being lead to or what should be happening next. I think that while it was definitely important that we only were directed to events that did happen, there needed to be a bit more segue between the years and chapters for me to really have a grasp on the story.

Otherwise this was SO GOOD. I have been recommending it to everyone -- and started doing so at about 25% of the novel because I knew it was going to be great. I was also OVER THE MOON to see that there is going to be a sequel! I can't wait for that one now!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

8 Most Anticipated January 2016 Releases!

FIRSTS
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.


When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
Purchase:
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THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Summary:
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.


Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
Purchase:
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ARROWS
Author: Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Summary:
A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV's Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. 
Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?


This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn't reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny--perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.
Purchase:
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ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Summary:
From the editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.


A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.
Purchase:
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SHADE ME
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: Nikki Kill #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 19, 2016

Summary:
Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.

Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.

The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?

As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.


Shade Me is award-winning author Jennifer Brown’s first book in a thrilling suspense series about Nikki Kill.
Purchase:
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THE IMPOSTER QUEEN
Author: Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.


Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
Purchase:
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THIEF OF LIES
Author: Brenda Drake
Series: Library Jumpers #1
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Summary:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.


Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.
Purchase:
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ANY OTHER GIRL
Author: Rebecca Philips 
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Summary:
After a disastrous, reputation-destroying party at the end of junior year, Kat Henley has a new plan. When it comes to boys—especially other people’s boys:

Don’t touch.
Don’t smile.
Don’t charm.


In the past, drawing attention to herself helped distract people from what really makes Kat different—having two gay parents. But it’s also cost her friendships. Kat can’t afford to lose any more of those, especially not her cousin, Harper. They’re spending one last summer together at the lake, where they run into an intriguing newcomer named Emmett Reese. After years of trying to prove she’s just like everybody else, Kat has found someone who wants her because she’s not. A boy who could be everything she wants too—if Harper hadn’t liked him first…
Purchase:

What is your most anticipated January 2016 release?

Sunday, 20 December 2015

#FAC16: December Chat Recap!

Hey everyone! If you missed it, or weren't available on Sunday, or just plain living under a rock, there was another #FAC16 chat today -- the last one of the year before all these authors will have their debuts in the world! With January just around the corner, it was the perfect time for everyone to create their holiday wishlists for preorders. If you want to know what happened -- or if you were there and missed stuff -- you can check out what went down HERE.

We started off with the main introductions before the authors were asked what their main character's idea of a perfect Christmas present would be. Some of the answers were...




Then, because Nicola likes to ask the tough questions, we had to choose ONE of the books to put under our Christmas tree. Some of the choices were...





Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Interview with Roshani Chokshi


Hey there, gang! It's been a little while since I began my impromptu break from blogging, right? Well, I'm back. And with a little gem that I've been sitting on for many months: an interview with the lovely Roshani Chokshi, author of the 2016 debut THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN! 

Firstly though, what IS THE START-TOUCHED QUEEN about? Let's take a moment to familiarize ourselves with this upcoming book.





Summary: Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian myth


Now... doesn't that sound AMAZING?! One to watch, that's for sure! Now... onwards for an interview with the author herself!



Interview


A Hades and Persephone-style tale with Indian mythology? What a unique mash-up! What inspired you to write The Star Touched Queen?

Oh gosh. So many things inspired THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN! Fairytales, spicy food, languages, secret rooms, shared history...family. Growing up in a mixed-race household, my siblings and I never learned my parents' native tongues of Tagalog and Gujarati. But they told us many stories from across the world, so that we could see for ourselves how stories wore different fabrics even though they were — in their heart of hearts — quite similar. This is my attempt to honor those shared stories and draw on the tales I knew and loved, but dress them in a different fabric.


 How did you prepare yourself for writing such a story? There must be a lot of mythology and legends involved?


Originally, I spent a lot of time revisiting the stories I grew up with (the myths and legends of Shiva and Parvati, Savitri & Satyavan, the Mahabharata and Hinduism's treatment of otherworldly realms) and trying to find the most "true" version of those tales. The thing is, Indian folklore and mythology is very fluid. They've been retold, reinterpreted and reincarnated so many times that I decided not to stick with one version of a retelling, but to borrow from their themes and settings and emotions to make something recognizable, but (hopefully) different. 


Describe The Star Touched Queen in ten words or less.


A life limned with, but not defined by, stars.



I love the title change from The Bride of Dusk and Glass to The Star Touched Queen! How did the new name (and the old one!) come into being?


Thank you! :) The new title came into being thanks to the guidance of my fabulous editor and agent (Eileen and Thao are my Dream Team). As much as we loved THE BRIDE OF DUSK AND GLASS, it was a little long! There's also a surfeit of titles with THE X OF Y AND Z or just X AND Y. We wanted this to be different. The phrase "star touched" was perfect because it reflects how horoscopes/celestial forecasts colors Maya's life. The original title "The Bride of Dusk and Glass" was also great because Maya steps into this Otherworldly role through marriage. Andddd I would tell you about why "Dusk and Glass" fits but then it'd be too spoilery!  

What do you admire most about your heroine,  Maya?

I think Maya is a thoughtful heroine. She thinks through her situations and she's not afraid to acknowledge when she's made a mistake. Even though she's prone to impulse, she doesn't waste too much time on self-pity and she's always one step ahead of her emotions. I respect that :)


Wasn't that lovely? Thank you so much for your time, Roshani! 2016 just can't come quick enough. You can buy THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN on the 3rd of May 2016. Want to read more about it? Roshani has your covered:

Visit the WEBSITE where you can find out more about the world of the STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. In Roshani's words "Click on Extras to find star-touched makeup tutorials and a new feature called Myth Mondays where I talk about some of the beings you will find in the book! "

Want to add this book to your Goodreads? There's a link for that too.


You can pre-order this book already, so... what are you waiting for? Will you be reading THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN? I know I will be!








Why I Don't Read Historical Fiction -- But Should

So I have been in the process of reorganizing my bookshelves. Which has taken me a lot of time. But I now have a total of 5 bookshelves that don't all have to be double stacked to fit all my books! YAY! I sort my books by genre and then by author last name so while I was going along, I noticed I have a LOT of historical fiction books sitting on my shelves. The only problem? I haven't read ANY of them.

This is actually pretty typical of my shelves -- I own a lot of books I haven't read (yet! Working on it though!). However, I would say I have at least 40% of my books read. But I would say I have read 0.00000001% of the books from the books that are classified historical fiction (with the exception of The Other Boleyn Girl which is much better than the movie. And also the second book in the Tudor Court series, so I read it out of order. Oh I've also read the beginning of the first Outlander book then got them on audiobook to listen to once I finish The Wheel of Time series.). And it got me thinking -- WHY. I love history, I love fiction, so why have I not read more historical fiction?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

REVIEW: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab
Summary:
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.


Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Source: Purchased from BookOutlet
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Rating: 5/5 stars
Purchase:
A Darker Shade of Magic has that unique kind of ability where it pulls you in and keeps you on the edge of the seat for the entire time and leaves you wanting more once it's finished. The magic system is one of the best I have read in a long time and if anyone asks me for a fantasy recommendation, this will be the first one off my tongue. Can February come a little faster so I can have A Gathering of Shadows, please and thank you?

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: BURNING GLASS by Kathryn Purdie

This week's book that I am waiting on is one that I am super excited for. I feel like I talk about this one constantly (at least to my parents. I'm trying to hint at them to buy me a preorder for Christmas)...

BURNING GLASS BY KATHRYN PURDIE
Title: BURNING GLASS
Author: Kathryn Purdie
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Thursday, 3 December 2015

ARC REVIEW: DID I MENTION I LOVE YOU? by Estelle Maskame

ARC REVIEW: DID I MENTION I LOVE YOU? by Estelle Maskame
Summary:
When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden's parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she's about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler's group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can't understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler's clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there's secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler? 

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.

Title: DID I MENTION I LOVE YOU
Author: Estelle Maskame
Series: Did I Mention I Love You #1
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I super enjoyed this one. I was a little skeptical because I was like "Am I going to find it weird that stepsiblings fall in love?" but it was handled perfectly. I loved *almost* everything about Eden and Tyler and their complicated relationship.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider

This week's Waiting on Wednesday features one of my favourite activities that I always wish I would have tried when I was on vacation in California. Say hello to... 
SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider
 
Title: SUMMER OF SLOANE
Author: Erin L. Schneider
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 4, 2016

Summary:
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.