Sunday, October 16

Blog Tour: Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

~ About the Book ~

Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)
Joshua Khan

Release Date: October 6, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade - Fantasy
Published By: Scholastic

Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

The awesome author of this amazing fantasy book is here today to tell us about his five favourite places to work.

Five places to work

This is the big one on Charing Cross Road. Now Foyles is my fav bookshop ever, and the old one had a great café with rickety wooden stools, uneven tables and a shortage of power sockets. I went there so often I got a staff discount. The big tables were great as people shared and got chatting and you could spread out our manuscript.
The new Foyles café’s grown on me. The lighting is great, bright and airy and that makes a change, but too slick and still a total lack of power sockets. My laptop’s old and needs constant charging so the power sockets are an issue. Still, what’s great is how people migrate to Foyles, so you can bump into random people if you hang out there long enough, which I basically do.

This is in West Dulwich and round the corner from my house. I’ve written most of my books there, it opened pretty much the same week I became as full time writer. The owner, Aiden, is a huge Game of Thrones fan (both books and tv series), so we’ve had plenty of long discussions!
Tragically, it closed down just this last Saturday! I’m gutted.

I know, my bad. But with the loss of Tea West I need another local spot and its comfortable, his wi-fi and the coffee is great and they do the best iced lemon tea. Plus there are lots of power sockets. I usually do a morning shift, once the kids have gone to school I’ll head down there till lunchtime.
It has a community feel, unexpected for a franchise, but it’s small and cosy enough to work. You get a few mothers groups, regulars and workers grabbing their morning caffeine boost. I love cafes, the people watching is of best quality and there’s something fascinating of seeing the mix of regulars who use the place like me, as a work station, and the casual user.

Weird, but true. I used to work there as an engineer, and at lunchtimes I’d head over to airside (through the passport control to the duty free section) with my notepad. Airports have a unique buzz, and airside more than landside as everyone around you is on their way. These transit places really appeal to me, train stations too, and I could spend all day just hanging out. It’s the sense of adventure and anticipation, inspiring when wanting to create your own.

Okay, way back before I was published, had an agent or even proper internet (I’m talking dial-up modem days of the ancient past) I wrote at the kitchen table with my wife’s laptop at the 10pm to midnight slot when everyone was asleep and I wasn’t going to get interrupted. More often than not with the dishwasher on (it warmed the kitchen perfectly). I think I did that for four years, one draft after another. There was something truly magical about that period. No matter how crap the day job had been, there was this to look forward to. Even now this is what’s so wonderful about this job. When you’re in the story, everything else goes away. Nothing is more consuming, to me, than storytelling.

~ About The Author ~

Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.
*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.

Monday, October 10

Wrap Up: August and September 2016

Hey Guys,
Can you believe it's October already? I certainly can't. I'm back at work after my amazing summer off now so my reading and blogging has slowing down a lot hence why there has been nothing on here since August. We had such a crazy September at work with the students coming back and the dreaded Ofsted Inspection. I hardly read a thing for the whole month!! Anyway I'm going to try and blog/read some more in the coming months but no promises.

Anyway, here's my wrap up for August and September 2016

Book Haul:


For Review:

Dear Charlie by ND Gomes
As I Descend by Robin Talley


The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison


Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes #3) by Sarah Raasch
Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake


The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May
The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer #2) by Elizabeth May
You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
All About the Hype (Jessie Jefferson #3) by Paige Toon
The Thousanth Floor (The Thousanth Floor #1) by Katherine McGee
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J Maas



For Review:

Books Read in August and September 2016:

Unboxed by Non Pratt - 5 Stars
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by JK Rowling - 5 Stars
Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake - 4 Stars
 The Next Together (The Next Together #1) by Lauren James - 5 Stars
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon - 5 Stars

Reviews Posted in August and September 2016:

No Kissing Allowed (No Kissing Allowed #1) by Melissa West
Unboxed by Non Pratt
This Savage Song (Monstors of Verity #1) by VE Schwab
Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake
Origins (The Summoner #0.5) by Taren Matharu
Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watts
Broken Prince (The Royals #2) by Erin Watts

Top 3 Books of August 2016:
(I didn't read anything in September so there is no Top 3 for September)

What did you read this month?

Wednesday, August 31

Review: Broken Prince (The Royals #2)

Broken Prince (The Royals #2)
Erin Watt

Publication Date: July 25, 2016
Date Read: July 25, 2016
Genre: NA - Contemporary Romance
Source: Bought
Format: E-Book
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From Goodreads:
These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

I fight back, remember? And I fight dirty. So go ahead, come at me. Let's see what happens."

Broken Prince was one of those books that you automatically have to download as soon as it's available. I luckily had just finished book 1 in this series, Paper Princess, the day this released so I was able to continue with the series straight away. Paper Princess was one of my favourite reads and I was so beyond excited about book 2... and it did not disappoint. I would even say that this one was even better than book 1.

One thing I adored about this one was that it was from a dual point of view. Right from the start of Paper Princess all I wanted was to find out what was going on in Reed's mind and to see things from his point of view as well. In Broken Prince we see this. We are split between Reed's point of view and Ella's. We get to see why he did certain things at the end of the first book and it didn't take long for Reed to win me back over. He is such an awesome character and I love him. He's amazing and sweet and all I want is for things to work out for him and Ella.

Once again Erin Watt sucked me in with her phenomenal writing style. I devoured Broken Prince in one sitting. I could not put it down and I wouldn't stop reading until I had read the entire thing. The good thing about that is that I found out what happened... the bad thing about that was that I have to wait for the next book to release and after that cliffhanger ending I am so damn impatient.

Broken Prince was amazing. It was an all consuming, drop everything and read until you've finished, addictive read. I couldn't put it down. There are no words for my utter love for this book series and these characters. I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the next book and while I am dying to see the end of Ella's story I am really hoping that Erin decides to write books for the other Royal brothers because the more I hear about them the more I want them to have their own books. It would be totally awesome.

The Royals series is sexy, addictive and breathtaking and I cannot wait to find out what happens next. If you're looking for a new contemporary read I cannot recommend this series enough. It's addictive, breathtaking and heart-melting. A must read!

 "And I thought, I'll just keep after him. Eventually I'll wear him down, convince him that we're a beautiful fairy tale. But we're not. We're nothing. We're smoke - insubstantial and meaningless. We aren't even a tragegy. We're less than nothing."

Wednesday, August 24

Review: Paper Princess (The Royals #1)

Paper Princess (The Royals #1)
Erin Watt

Publication Date: April 4, 2016
Date Read: July 25, 2016
Genre: NA - Contemporary Romance
Source: Bought
Format: E-Book
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From Goodreads:
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

"This place is like the Gardem of Eden. Beautiful but full of danger."

Paper Princess is a book that I honestly hadn't heard very much about. I'd seen the cover around a little but I didn't really look into it until I saw that Jennifer L Armentrout, like my favourite author of all time, had blurbed it and said how good it was. After that it was voted as one of the two books of the month in my online book club so I bought it and started it... and oh my gosh this book was so addictive I seriously loved it so much. And coming from someone who isn't a major fan of NA contemporary books, the fact that I couldn't stop reading really says a lot about this book.

Ella hasn't had the best life so far. Moving from place to place wherever her Mom's next boyfriend or job is and then Ella finds herself having to take jobs she doesn't want in order to help her Mom. After her Mom dies she is completely alone until Callum Royal, her apparent guardian comes and 'saves' her. Taking her in with his broken family, Ella is totally out of her league with these gorgeous yet intimidating Royal boys. Can Ella survive this world of money and deception?

I seriously loved Ella. I mean what an amazing character to read about and see the story through her eyes. You see the low points of her life and what she has been doing just to survive, and at the age of 17 she has faced things nobody should ever have to. I loved the development of Ella's character. She is totally kick-ass and fierce but with vulnerable sides and I really think that makes her so relatable to all readers. I really loved how she developed and adjusted to this new life and she is probably one of my all time favourite characters in NA.

The Royal Boys. Where should I start? Throughout the first 50% of the book I just couldn't stand any of them. They were complete dicks and bastards to Ella and I just wanted to sucker punch and drop kick each and every one of them. By the time I got to 45% I was just about sick to death of them. I wasn't going to stop reading because I was so invested in this awesome story and Ella but I hated those boys so much. A friend of mine told me how it'll get better and I will end up loving them but I couldn't see how. She was completely right of course and by the end I did love them. They are the epitome of bad boys and while in the first half of the book all you saw was the asshole-ness of them, in the second half you realise that they've also had a hard life and you really do start to like and sympathise with them.

Paper Princess kept me completely hooked from start to finish. I am not usually a big fan of NA Contemporary novels. A lot of them bore me as I feel like I've read the same story over and over again. Paper Princess definitely does not fit into this. It's different from all other NA contemporary novels I've read before. It's raw, powerful and real and I was completely swept away into this story. The ending completely and utterly broke me. I mean man, what a cliffhanger. I am so glad I waited until now to read this because as I write this review the second book in the series has just been released and is downloading to my kindle. I can't wait to see what happens next.

If you're a fan of NA contemporary you will adore this book... if you're not I urge you to read it anyway. This book is filled with drama, deception and hint of romance. I loved every moment of it and I can't wait to see what happens next.

"Your life is transformed, isn't it? Like some princess out of a fairytale. But fairytales aren't read. Girls like us, we'll always turn back into a pumpkin after the ball."

Wednesday, August 17

Review: Origins (Summoner #0.5)

Origins (Summoner #0.5)
Taran Matharu

Published By: Hodder Childrens Publishing
Publication Date: April 1, 2015
Date Read: July 18, 2016
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: E-Book
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From Goodreads:

The prequel to the explosive new fantasy trilogy, Summoner. Set in a time before The Novice, this prequel is the perfect introduction to the world of the Summoner.

Arcturus is just an orphaned stableboy when he discovers he has the ability to summon demons from another world. He is sent to Vocans Military Academy where the lost arts of summoning, spellcraft and demonology are taught to the noble children of the Empire. As the first commoner gifted with this ability, his discovery challenges the nobility and the powers that be. At the Academy Arcturus quickly makes enemies. With no one but his demon Sacharissa by his side, Arcturus must prove himself as a worthy Summoner ...

Last year while at YALC I was sat in a talk about some of the books and the awesome Taran Matahru was there talking about his book The Novice. I knew right away that it was something I would love but at the time only the hardback was available. I finally got around to getting the kindle edition and decided as I am off to YALC in a couple of weeks I would finally read it. Before reading The Novice I decided to read the prequel novella, Origins, first and I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed Origins it's a nice introduction to the world of Summoners and Demons and some of the characters that I'm sure are going to pop up in the first novel in this series.

Arcturus is just a normal stableboy... a commoner. The he discovers that he has the ability to summon demons, a gift that is only bestowed on the noble. Suddenly he is sent off to the prestigious Vocans Academy where he must learn how to become a Summoner. But the other students, and teachers, are less than thrilled by his appearance. A commoner who can summon demons... it's unheard of. An outrage. Arcturus soon finds himself surrounded by enemies and Vocans Academy is suddenly a very dangerous place.

I really enjoyed this novella. Right from the start I was sucked into this world of summoners and demons. I really liked the idea of demons like pets or familiars. I thought that was so unique and I found myself very quickly devouring this novella. Origins was like Harry Potter, with the school and classes to learn magic with a flair of How to Train Your Dragon with the demon familiars. If the series is going to continue with this I am really looking forward to them and it's bound to be an awesome series. I can't wait to read more.

Wednesday, August 10

Early Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)
Kendare Blake

Published By: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: September 22, 2016
Date Read: August 9, 2016
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: ARC from My Kinda Book/Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pages: 405
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From Goodreads:
Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it's not just a game of win or lose . . . it's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

Three Dark Crowns was a book that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. I am a massive fan of YA Fantasy books and this one just sounded amazing. Three magic queens? A fight to the death? This just sounded all kinds of awesome. And it was. I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read the second book and see what's going to happen.

In every generation there is a set of triplets born to the Queen. Each of the triplets is born with a magical gift. An Elemental who can control the elements, a Poisoner who can stomach the strongest poisons and never get ill or a Naturalist who can control the plants and animals. Each of these queens must be pitted against each and the one left standing will be Queen. But are they strong enough to kill their sisters, and do they feel anything for each other at all?

I really enjoyed this book. It is completely my kind of book and right from the start I was captured in with this incredible storyline. Usually it takes me a while to get into a book but right from the start I was completely on board with this story and loving finding out about the island of Fennbirn, the politics of this world and the magic of the three sisters. I really loved all 3 of the sisters but I think my favourite has to be Mirabella. She is the strongest of the three and the one everyone is backing to be queen but she remembers her sisters and doesn't want to hurt them. She is merciful and I loved the friends that she has around her as well. I found myself really looking forward to reading her parts the most as I found her to be the one I identified with the most. I also really liked Arsinoe and Katherine, Katherine probably being my least favourite. I couldn't really connect with her as I did the other two and I can't put my finger on why. I liked her story just like the others but I just couldn't get involved as I did with the others.

One thing that let this book down a little bit for me is it's pretty slow going and I found myself getting a little bored in the middle. This is a really strange thing for me. I usually get a little bored at the beginning but once I get into the book I love it from them on. With Three Dark Crowns I got into it right from the start and then it slowed down a lot in the middle and I really had to force myself to keep reading. I always accept that the first book in a fantasy series is quite slow due to the building up of the world and the characters and the politics but I felt like this one could have done with a little bit less. I didn't feel like we needed the first part to be as long as it was. To me we seemed to have around 300 pages of building up the world, politics and getting to know the girls and their stories and then we had about 100 pages of the action right at the end and the ending seemed really rushed and I was left feeling a little stunned.

Overall Three Dark Crowns is definitely my kind of book. I really enjoyed it and I can't wait to see what is going to happen. I have no doubt that I am going to love the second book even more that this one and I can't wait to see what will happen to the three sisters. If you like slow-burning books filled with magic, intrigue and political power-play then this is the perfect book for you. It was full to the brim of magic, politics, deviance and a small dash of romance. I can't wait to see what happens next.


Giveaway 1: Open to UK Residents Only

Win my print ARC of Three Dark Crowns. 

Giveaway 2: Open Internationally

The awesome UK publisher, Macmillan, have created not 1 but 3 stunning covers of Three Dark Crowns. One for each of the sisters. Enter the giveaway to win the cover of your choice. Book will be ordered when it releases via The Book Depository so please check that they ship to you before entering.

Review: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
VE Schwab

Published By: Titan Books
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Date Read: July 15, 2016
Genre: YA - Urban Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 407
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From Goodreads:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

"August felt like he was standing in a precipice, the end of one world and the beginning of another, a whisper and a bang."

VE Schwab is a relatively new author to me. I'd heard of her stuff in the past but never really bothered to pick it up. When I heard she was attending YALC in London this summer I decided to finally pick up on of her books. That book was Vicious and I fell head over heels in love with her characters, writing style and story. After Vicious I decided to pick up her newest release and it completely and utterly blew me away. I couldn't put it down and now I am definitely kicking myself for not reading her stuff before now.

V-City is divided. A war separated them years ago. One side rules with horror, embracing the monsters that have inhabited the city; one side with generosity trying to fight back the evil. Kate and August are the heirs to the two city rulers. They have always see the other side of their city as the bad guy but when their paths cross and the secrets come out they are thrown together and with no protection they must lean on each other in order to survive. But can they truly trust each other? And what of the other monsters after them? Soon them trusting each other isn't the issue... the issue is how will they survive?

I loved This Savage Song and when I say loved I mean LOVED!!! Holy crap this book is phenomenal. Right from the start I was interested in this world where there are three types of monsters. The Corsai, the Malchi and the Sunai. Each type of monster reminds me of other monsters from other books and mythology which I loved. No I'm not telling you what each of them are... that would spoil it for you. Seriously just read this damn book. Right from the start I couldn't put this book down. I was completely and utterly hooked.

This Savage Song is told from two points of view: Kate and August. They are awesome. Kate is a total badass. Coming from the side of the city that embraces the monsters and tries to control them all she wants is to show her father that she belongs with him... that she is as ruthless as he is. She goes through a major journey throughout this book. From worshipping her father to finding out secrets and realising all is not as she thought.

Then we have August. I adore August. Like he is now one of my favourite characters of all time. He is a monster and all he wants is to protect people and to be human. That's all he's ever wanted. I really loved seeing August's point of view. To me this is one of the major strengths of this book, that we see part of it from the point of view of one of the monsters. It was refreshing and it really pushes the boundaries of what is a hero and what is a villain. Before reading this book I would have automatically said that the humans are the heroes and the monsters are the villains but through reading from August's point of view it really challenges that view.

This Savage Song is one of the most powerful and amazing books I've ever read. I loved every single second of it and I cannot wait for book 2 to come out. I'm so excited to see what is going to happen with the characters next and the ending had me left mouth agape going 'omg I need book 2 now.' If you're looking for a new fantasy book that will completely enamour you from the start and leave you dying to see what's going to happen this is definitely the book for you. I cannot recommend VE Schwab's books enough. They are absolutely incredible.

"It doesn't matter if you're monster or human. Living hurts."