Tuesday, 31 January 2017

SARAH J MAAS ACOTAR GIVEAWAY

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*

If you're new to my blog: Hi, I'm Amy, and I'm obsessed with Sarah J Maas. Ok so introductions over. Unless you've been hiding under a rock, I'm sure you know that the cover for Sarah J Maas' third instalment of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series was revealed last week and Oh. My. Gosh. I love it. I need A Court of Wings and Ruin in my life now! In celebration of this cover reveal, which is totally flippin' gorgeous by the way, I thought I'd host a little giveaway. You could win your own Tamed notebook by Evie SEO and the Inner Circle pouch, with artwork from Charlie Bowater (who actually designed the dress for the ACOWAR cover and is also creating artwork for the ACOTAR colouring book - eep)! To enter, all you have to do is read the terms and conditions below and complete the Rafflecopter at the end of this post, but be quick, the giveaway is only open until Valentine's Day at 11:59pm!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and conditions:
- Open internationally until 11:59pm (GMT) on the 14th February
- I cannot be held responsible for any damage to or loss of the item once it has been handed over to Royal Mail
- Entrants must be age 18 or over, or have their parent's permission to enter and provide their address if chosen as a winner
- I cannot be held responsible or accountable for any customs charges that may occur
 



*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Monday, 30 January 2017

JANUARY BOOK HAUL

Ok so sitting down to write this post made me realise... I bought a hell of a lot of books this month. At the start of 2017 I told myself I'd read my way through my huge pile of unread books spread across my two bookcases, but I just can't stop buying books! Booklover problems, right?



At the start of the year, doing my regular browse of Amazon's deals, I came across several Kindle books on offer. Now I don't usually find anything here, but for a change, there were lots of highly rated books! *happy dances*. 

First, I bought two books by Colleen Hoover, Confess and It Ends With Us. I wasn't overly excited about these, but at 99p each I thought I'd give them a go. Next I bought a couple of books that I'd been hearing a lot about on booktube and on book blogs for a while:Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I also found A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab for like £1.99 each! So many people love these books that I thought it was about time I got my hands (technically) on them. Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige was also on offer, which I was pretty interested in at the time but I've since heard not so great things about it so now I'm not sure. I want to get my shit together this year, so when I saw The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8am on offer too, I had to get it. I'm not sure if they are still on offer now sadly but I'd highly recommend keeping an eye out on Amazon!

I also picked up a couple of paperbacks too, cause I can't dedicate myself to just electronic books. I bought The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski which I think sounds pretty amazing and can't wait to read it. I finally bought Truthwitch by Susan Dennard too, which I'm so excited to read after hearing so many positive reviews, and especially with the second book having just been released! I often check out Amazon's 3 for £10 deal, and this time I found some fab books Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, the first in The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury. Funny story, I actually meant to buy The Sin Eater's Daughter which is the first in Salisbury's series, but accidentally bought the second, oops. It's an excuse to buy another book though, right? After hearing Piera Forde's rave reviews of The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss over on her YouTube channel, I had to get a copy of the first instalment, The Name of the Wind, for myself. I feel that we like a lot of the same books so by trusting her opinion, I know I'm in for one hell of a book.

You know one of the many good things about having booklover friends? Well they're always there to let you know if they find a good book bargain, and that's exactly what the lovely Em from Bambi's Blogs did last week! I managed to get my hands on the entire Selection Series by Kiera Cass for £7.99 (!!!) from The Book People. It's not a place I look too often for books, so a huge thanks to Em for spotting it.

This week I was very kindly sent a copy of the highly anticipated Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones by Titan Books which has bumped it's way up to the top of my TBR for February. It sounds so good and it's a beautiful book. What more could you want? Also, another super exciting 'receiving of a book moment', NetGalley granted my request to read an advanced copy of Traitor to the Throne, the sequel to the much loved Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, which you read my review of here

The last two books I bought this month were more e-books, as again they were on a super special cheap offer and I just can't say no: The Foxhole Court by. Nora Sakovic and Gilded Cage by. Vic James. Both 99p on Kindle! While the plot of The Foxhole Court doesn't necessarily grip me, and I wouldn't usually pick this kind of book up, I've heard so many good things about the book, like how it's changed people's lives, I just couldn't resist. Similarly, I've seen a lot about The Gilded Cage on social media lately. and while I technically don't know what it's about, I'm a sucker for a hype.

Finally, in this month's FairyLoot box, which I will have an unboxing/review up of very soon (spoiler: I love it), I received one of the most anticipated books of 2017: Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Now I had this on pre order anyway, but I was so excited to get my hands on before its release date and couldn't help but get stuck into it straight away. Now, I'm only about 10% of the way through, but I can already tell that I'm going to love it. I'm also going to meet Stephanie at an event in Manchester Deansgate Waterstones this month, and man am I excited!

Phew, told you it was a lot of books this month. I really need to exercise some self control in February, especially as I have a lot to save up for (but please don't hold me to that).



*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Monday, 23 January 2017

BOOK REVIEW: REBEL OF THE SANDS BY ALWYN HAMILTON

Wow. I'm a little embarrassed about how long it took for me to read this, but I'm so glad that I finally got my arse in gear and did it. And wow, what an incredible book Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is. While it took me a short while to get through the first few chapters due to work commitments, I raced through the rest of the book, desperate to see where it would go!

From the cover:


She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him... or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.



Thoughts:

Rebel of the Sands is the first book of its kind that I have ever read: an epic Middle Eastern fantasy with mythical creatures, folklore and a Western vibe. Gah, I loved it, and now I've definitely got a thirst for more books like this,. Alwyn Hamilton paints a perfect picture through her skills in world building; each chapter played out like a scene from a film in my head as I could visualise what was happening seamlessly (I seem to have said that a lot in my recent book reviews - sorry but I've just read some great books)!

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book; it was told in a first person narrative which definitely made me feel more connected to our main character Amani, but I think I would have liked a dual narrative maybe, just to see the point of view of the other characters - mainly Jin!

Speaking of which: the characters. Oh, the characters! Amani is a great kick-ass heroine, who I would totally be friends with IRL, who stands up for herself, for others and for her gender which I think is so important. The only negative point I have against Amani, which is entirely down to my own opinion and absolutely no reflection on Hamilton's amazing writing skills, is that I found her to be really indecisive, quite mean sometimes, and found myself like "what the hell Amani, why would you do that!" Like, poor Tamid, right?! (Though maybe this has something to do with book two...). And Jin. *sighs*. I absolutely loved Jin. The fact that he was cocky and so sure of himself, but filled with the need to protect and care for others, even when the situations were totally dangerous and life threatening. I wish we'd been introduced to the side characters a little earlier as I loved them too!

I loved that the romantic aspect of the story didn't overshadow the main plot, but don't get me wrong, the tension between Amani and Jin was hot. Also, THOSE PLOT TWISTS?! Crazy and unexpected.

The only reason that I'm a little happy that I waited so long to read Rebel of the Sands is the fact that the sequel, Traitor to the Throne is released next month, so I don't have to wait long for the next instalment at all.

A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars for me!

Update: A few days after writing this, NetGalley very very kindly granted my request to receive an e-book of Traitor to the Throne prior to it's release. I pre-ordered the paperback not thinking I'd get my hands on the e-book, but I don't think I'll be able to resist not reading it straight away!




*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Friday, 20 January 2017

BOOK REVIEW: FROSTBLOOD BY ELLY BLAKE

Welcome to day five of the Frostblood blog tour, in particular, my Fire post! I'm so excited to have received a copy of Frostblood by Elly Blake from Chapter5 Books for this tour, and I've even got a little extract for you. Stick around to read my thoughts and for a sneak peek of Frostblood!

From the cover: 

Ruby is a Fireblood. In a land ruled by frost, her very existence is a crime. She's spent her whole life in hiding.

Until the day Frostblood soldiers raid her village and kill her mother. The day she swears to avenge her people.

She must travel deep into the heart of the enemy, to the court of the Frost King, with only the mysterious warrior Arcus - a Frostblood rebel - by her side. But with alliances between flame and ice strictly forbidden, is Arcus friend or foe?

Ruby will only have one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything fro her. But she has no idea just how hot her fire will burn...

Thoughts:

First of all, let me just start with, how freakin' beautiful is this cover? With receiving this just a little earlier than the publication date, I can't say for sure that this is the final cover by oh boy it should be, just look at that sparkle!

I love Blake's writing style. She has an epic way of world building where I could picture literally every scene and character, to the point where looking back I feel as though I watched a film! While Frostblood wasn't necessarily fast paced and packed with action from start to finish, I really enjoyed the way that the plot developed; I was gripped from page one and didn't want the story to end.

I found myself really invested in the characters, especially Arcus and the monks! I loved that Ruby was strong willed, opinionated and sassy. She questioned everything and didn't take no for an answer. One of my favourite things about the book: the romance, It is totally deserving of the phrase 'swoon worthy'. It was slow building, no insta love here thank you very much, therefore totally believable and aided the plot rather than just being added in for the sake of it.

There were some obvious YA tropes in this book, like the brooding male love interest and the student who is slow and reluctant to learn but eventually becomes super powerful, but you know what? I don't care, I loved all of it, especially seeing Ruby grow into her power. Plus, Arcus' moods were totally justified and I really felt for him throughout this book. 

I genuinely cannot believe that this is Blake's debut novel. She has such a fantastic way of writing that had me hooked from beginning to end, I felt like I was along for the ride on every single page. I don't know how I'm going to be able to wait for the next instalment! I gave Frostblood a very well deserved 4.5/5 stars.

Extract:

After a few seconds, the crowd began their chant: “Die, Fireblood, die!”

But the Frostblood warrior made no move, perhaps assessing, waiting for some indication of my strength. I wasn’t so patient. I sent a sizzling jolt of flame at his feet. He jumped nimbly out of the way and countered with a blast of frost that hit the ground in front of me, sending up a cloud of dust.
I spun a tornado of hot air at him. He put out his hands and the air dispersed in a hiss. Pinwheels of fire roared from my hands. He slammed each one down with his steel wrist guards and blasted cold air back at me.

“You think this is a nice game, don’t you?” I called, twisting my hands to send twin vortices of air so hot that the water in the air turned to vapor. He let it pass over him without a flicker of reaction, as if it were a spring breeze. “But what you don’t know,” I said, throwing out a cloud of bristling heat, “is that you won’t leave this arena alive.”

My chest heated and I punched out a series of attacks, fire bolts and fire arrows and a ferocious tail of the dragon in rapid succession, the whipcrack echoing off the ice. He dealt with each lazily. The crowd laughed and started to cheer.

“Kane! Kane! Kane!”

 Annoyance tightened my shoulders. His frost was even stronger than Gravnach’s. I threw a bolt of fire at his helm. That got to him. He stumbled back before sending a gust of frigid air that made my legs shake with the effort of holding my ground.

Our attacks grew more rapid. I kicked up a sheet of flame. He coated himself with protective ice. I melted the ice with heated air, then sent another tail of the dragon. He frosted the ground under my feet, catching me in the middle of a movement. My foot twisted as I slipped and fell. I tried to push myself up but fell back to the ground.

Kane stalked over to me, his silhouette blotting out the sun. I turned my head to see the king leaning forward in his balcony, Marella rigid beside him. And between them, a dark shape hovering, its pointed head and shoulders growing and sharpening. There was no indication that anyone else could see it, but I could feel its presence, even with my eyes closed.

As I felt the darkness rise, I sent another stream of fire at Kane. Whether it was because of the solstice, or the darkness filling me, or just the fact that my hatred had finally freed me of all restraint, my fire seemed to burn hotter than it ever had. His tunic caught and he threw out frost to quench it.

He struck at me with frost that hissed into harmless steam, then sent icicles screaming toward me. They melted in the cloud of heated air that surrounded me like a shield.

I was too powerful already, bright as a piece of the sun. I was sure I could kill him with my fire alone. But I wanted the oblivion only the Minax could give me.

“Come, darkness,” I whispered. “Use me to kill this murderer.”

The Frostblood warrior halted a few feet away and spoke.

 “So it’s true. You’re lost to me.”

But his words had no meaning, lost in a glorious hum of power. And whether I had the power to control the Minax afterward didn’t matter. All that mattered was losing myself in vengeance.




*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

JANUARY TO-BE-READ

My first TBR of 2017 - how exciting! I've got quite a lot of deadlines coming up at university over the next few months (booo), but I don't want to lose momentum with my reading, so I'm attempting to read the following this month.




So, the first book on my TBR for 2017. I recently ran a poll on Twitter recently asking everybody which book I should read next, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern won! I've seen this book a lot on Booktube, so I've got a feeling it's going to be great.

"The circus arrives with no warning, one day it was not there, and the next it was. As the sun goes down, the tent begins to glow and the sign appears: The Circus of Dreams." Oooooh, how good does that sound!?

Keeping true to my reading goals this year, which you can read about in my bookish resolutions post, I'm planning on reading one non fiction book this month: Radical Self Love by Gala Darling. I want to spend 2017 working on me, bettering myself, learning to love myself and just being happy, so with Radical Self Love described as "a guide to loving yourself and living your dreams" I know that reading this will be the perfect way to kick start the year. Also, it's a bloody beautiful book too!

The final book I'm hoping to read this month is My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. I read Horrorstor by Hendrix a few months ago and really enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to reading this. I don't know much about this book except it's set in the 80's (already love it) and is a tale of two friends, where one starts to believe the other is possessed by a demon and tries to save her. I've heard mixed reviews, but more good than bad, so if it's anything like Horrorstor I'm sure I'll love it.

I also took advantage of some of the Kindle deals on Amazon and bought quite a few books for 99p, so I'm sure I'll end up reading one of them this month! I got: It Ends With Us and Confess by Colleen Hoover, A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I've heard great things about them all so I hope to get around to them soon!

I hope I'm not being too ambitious with my TBR this month, but whatever happens, I definitely thinking I'm starting my 2017 reading year with a bang! 


*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Monday, 2 January 2017

DECEMBER WRAP UP

I felt like I got through way more books than I actually did in December... but thought I'd put together a little wrap up anyway!


The first book I read in December was The Memory Book by Lara Avery*. You can read my full review here, but the bottom line is that despite it breaking my heart, I really, really loved it and found Sammie super inspirational.

Next up is The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. This book isn't actually released until March, so you'll have to wait until then to find out all my thoughts! But, I can say that this book had me gripped: it's dark, mysterious and so very sad but absolutely captivating.

Finally, I read Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, the second in The Grisha Trilogy, on my Kindle. I'm so excited to read the Six of Crows duology, but wanted to read this trilogy first to gain a better understanding of the world. So far, I'm loving the series and am part way through the third now!


I also re-read A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury (aka my favourite ever series). I had tried to wait a little longer, to read just before A Court of Wings and Ruin is released, but I just couldn't wait any longer! Of course, I'll be reading it again just before May anyway so it's a win win really!

Looking back, I had a really great reading month; I loved every book I read! I feel good to have finished 2016 on a reading high and can't wait to see what fab reads 2017 brings.



*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2016

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had a great time however you decided to welcome the year in. 2016 was a great year for reading. Not only were there some awesome releases, I also found my favourite book series. Of all time. But you'll have to wait and see to find out what that is! I've pulled together my favourite books from 2016; they aren't all 2016 releases, but I did read them all this year, and they're in no particular order, until the number one and two positions. I've got a feeling that this is going to be a long post, so let's get into it!

One type of book I never thought I'd find myself reading, let alone enjoying, was Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh. This is non fiction, a true account of a brain surgeon's life and work. Now, I tend to avoid things like this. My anxiety can skyrocket when I read things about illnesses and health complications, but this book was chosen in the book club at work, so I decided to give it a go. While I did find some of the chapters particularly disturbing, I actually thought it was super interesting and found myself enjoying it. 

Technically I listened to the audiobook of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, but I'm still counting it. I played the audiobook on my daily commute to and from work, and actually found myself wishing the journeys would last just a little longer, just so I could hear more of the story. The 5th wave follows teenager Cassie as she tries to survive in post apocalyptic America, after an alien invasion.I think I realised how invested I was and how much I loved the story once I watched the film, and found myself shouting at the screen about the parts that were totally different or cut out completely.

Lindsey Kelk has been one of my favourite authors for a while; I especially love her "I heart..." series, so when she released We Were on a Break I got my hands on it immediately. Told from both Liv and Adam's point of view, they return from a holiday after a failed proposal, and if you hadn't guessed from the title, end up taking a break. In true Lindsey Kelk style, hilarity ensues, with the love and warmth you come to expect. We Were on a Break made me laugh out loud and feel all smushy, and was another five out of five for Kelk from me!

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne is the first in a series that I'd heard so much about before buying, so I was so excited when I finally got around to reading it. It's the kind of 'coming of age' kick arse feminism book I would loved to read as a teenager, especially as the main character Evie suffers with a few things I suffered with too at her age. Despite no longer being a teenager, I still related to this book massively, and loved every page. I'm yet to finish the series, but I've no doubt that I'll feel the same about the remaining books as I do about the first.

I know absolutely everybody has read and loves the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo, and I promise I have started it, but I wanted to read The Grisha Trilogy first. While I think that were I not reading these in anticipation of Six of Crows I might *possibly* find them a little slow in pace, I can't deny that the plot has me gripped and I'm so glad that I decided to start the series this year, and now I'm even more excited to read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom!

The number two position has to go to the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. I was way behind with this, not starting any of them until this year. I read The Assassin's Blade back in August, then I finished Throne of Glass on the 12th September, Crown of Midnight on the 22nd September, Heir of Fire on 24th September, Queen of Shadows on 25th September and then Empire of Storms on the 28th September. So you could say that I binge marathon read the series, and definitely made up for lost time. What I love about the Throne of Glass series is that it's about a young woman who is sassy, can kick some serious arse, isn't afraid to just do what she wants to do, but will do anything for those she loves despite having been dealt a seriously shitty hand. Not only is the series packed with action, the best kind of romance and some amazing characters, it's also full of twists and turns that will literally have you on the edge of your seat. There were several occasions where I actually shouted "no way!" and "what the f*ck!"

*Warning* The following gets very rambly and fangirly, and I apologise but I cannot write about this series any other way.

Drumroll please.....My favourite series of 2016 (and all time!) couldn't possibly be anything but the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas. Spotting a pattern here? Wow. Just, wow. I don't know if I can quite put in to words how much I loved this entire series. I know that it is problematic in parts and is lacking in a few important areas, but I cannot deny how I felt while reading the books, and still feel now! 

I was pretty late to the party with A Court of Thorns and Roses, reading it a year after it was originally published. Part of me hates myself for the fact that I left it so long, but the other part is super happy, because it meant that I could jump straight into A Court of Mist and Fury. These books had me gripped from the first chapter; I read ACOTAR in one sitting and finished ACOMAF only days later (it would have been in one day too, but work got in the way sadly). I have never known a book hangover like the one I feel now, still painful seven months after finishing them both. The obsession is real. The only way I have found to get through it is to re-read, and buy alllll of the ACOTAR/ACOMAF themed merch I can get my hands on. You better believe I have pillows, art prints, candles, bookmarks - you name it, I've got it. 

This has got to be one of the only book series where I loved, truly loved, the characters. There were hardly any characters that I didn't care about, which I know is going to result in my heart being broken in many ways in future ACOTAR releases, but for now my heart is full. Yes, there are some totally horrible characters in both books, but lets just get rid of those ones for now. If you've read them, you know who I mean. Now, back to my loves. Feyre, something about her just had me feeling like I knew her, which is rare to find and I was rooting for her the whole goddamn time. The Inner Circle, gaahhhh. I wish I was part of the Inner Circle! And last but by no means ever least, Rhys. Rhys. Just, Rhys. Always. 

Sarah J Maas just has this amazing way with words, that grips you entirely and can have you laughing, sweating, grinning, crying and swearing all in one chapter. Chapter 54 and 55 of ACOMAF, am I right? Basically, I love this series, and I'm pretty much 100% definitely sure I always will. I don't think my heart is ready for the third instalment in May 2017. And you should go read it, now!

So if you've stuck around this far, *round of applause* and thank you! Are any of these your favourite books of 2016 too? I'd love to hear your favourites, and any recommendations for my 2017 TBR!



*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!
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