My reading plan for 2018 #amreading #fantasy #ya #thriller

This year has been busy in various ways and I have not read as much as I would’ve liked. My Goodreads challenge was 35 books and so far I have only read 29. I thought making a list for the rest of the year would help me get back on track.

So here goes.

Currently reading – Magic Study by Maria V Snyder. As with the first book I find the writing totally addictive and if I read nothing else but these books this year I would be happy.

magic study

ARC – Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh. This is a YA thriller I’ve been interested in since following Jenn’s blog and I am going to read this before 2018 ends.

 

not like everyone else

Self Published Fantasy Blog Off books – I bought lots of SPFBO books in the last SPFBO sale which I have yet to read. Here’s my post about the bargains I picked up. Now there is another sale 15th to 19th November so I will be getting even more books to add to my TBR list which already has 400 books! I really hope to read at least another one off this list and perhaps I may even share a surprise review from my husband who is currently reading one of SPFBO books – surprise because he has no idea I’ve mentioned this!

My Xmas Read – For the last three years I have read the latest Great Library book by Rachel Caine. This year I will be reading Smoke and Iron – book 4. My son started the series a few weeks ago and has already started the 4th book. I had planned to give it to myself as a Christmas present, but he begged to read it first!

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Audio book – Still listening to Gilded Cage by Vic James which has been enjoyable so far. I like the voice of the narrator and she has brought the story to life for me. It does seem a bit slow, but I’m happy to stick at it.

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Book Group Read – Sweet Dreams by Tricia Sullivan

This one sounds intriguing!

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Books I’ve Won – I have been lucky enough to win two books recently and I can’t wait to read them.  City of Lies by Sam Hawke and Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. I would love to read and review these before the end of 2018.

So these books will take me to my Goodreads target of 35 books, but life and writing does have a habit of getting in the way. Fingers crossed I find some uninterrupted reading time!

 

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview Poison Study by Maria V Snyder #YAFantasy

Poison Study is a brilliant, compelling read. Here’s the blurb…

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

poison study

My Review

This was my book groups choice and I am so, so happy they chose it!

It is such a compelling book. I took it on holiday and I just couldn’t stop reading it. The beauty of reading an old paperback copy is that you can take it everywhere with you and sneak in a few pages when no one is looking! I had some very late nights with this book as well, and it’s one of those that if you had the next book handy, there’s no way you could resist picking it up and diving straight into the next adventure. I have now brought the next two books – Magic Study and Fire Study and I’m itching to find the time to read them. I have another holiday coming up so I might have to sneak them in the suitcase.

Why I loved this YA Fantasy.

In one word – Yelena. She is a brilliant character to follow and I liked her instantly. The first person viewpoint helps you build a bond with her and her story. At the start she is in prison for a murder that she never denies committing, but you have no idea of the details surrounding it. That’s just a small part of the intrigue that keeps you reading. On the day of her planned execution she is given the chance to escape death by becoming the Commander’s food taster. Of course she accepts but quickly realises this isn’t to be an easy life. Her master, Valek, turns out to be a harsh and sometime cruel master – but he really grows on you. Both Valek and Yelena are my favourite characters and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2.

I loved the little details in this book, in particular the lessons on poison tasting. I’m informed this is all well researched and that really comes across. I would have liked more focus on this aspect in the plot, just because I love herbs, potions and assassins, but it was still a highly addictive read. Every chapter forced you to read the next. It is a masterclass for authors on how to craft a pager-turner.

There are some darker elements to the story that as adults you will pick up on, but I hope younger YA readers just take what’s on the page and not think too deeply about what’s happened. I am looking forward to my (nearly) 14-year-old son reading these books and I think in a couple of years my daughter will love them too. It is certainly a book I wish I had discovered in my teens, and I don’t say that about many books.

Highly recommended – 5 very big fat stars from me!

Have you read it?

Here’s the Goodreads link if my review has enticed you to find out more. With almost 120K ratings, 10k reviews and an overall star rating of 4.15, you can see this books has been loved by many people!

Latest book news #TheLostSentinel is available via #NetGalley #fantasy #ARC http://netgal.ly/oOfaE8

I am trying something for the very first time this month. I have submitted The Lost Sentinel to Netgalley! It is available to request for review for 1 month. I’m hoping to drive some extra interest in the trilogy having just released book 2 (The Sentinel’s Reign) on 29th June 2018.

If you have been wanting to try an exciting new fantasy series, why not take a look on NetGalley here.

A reminder of The Lost Sentinel’s blurb…

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.
The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.
Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic. When her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in the search for their lost Sentinel. But mysterious Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
How can Tei help the Kalayan people reunite and save the magic when their ignorance threatens to destroy them all?

Follow Tei’s journey through the magical land of Kalaya and the Astral Plane.

If you love character-based fantasy, then you’ll love The Lost Sentinel – Book 1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.

You can check some reviews on the Goodreads book page

 

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I would like to thank Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours for organising the Netgalley listing.

FYI – I will do a follow up post in the late summer to let you know how the listing went.

Last day to get The Sentinel’s Reign for 99p #newrelease #fantasy #ya

Happy Sunday everyone!

The Sentinel’s Reign has been out just over a week and a few reviews are in already. More are to follow, but I thought I’d just share a couple of comments now…

Angela – Pooled Ink – The Sentinel’s Reign breathes life into an island of magic as well as enemies thirsting for its power. Adventurous and unique this fantasy only gets more captivating with every turn.

Jennifer – A line from a book – Yummy is the word that comes to mind when I think about this book…  I loved revisiting Kalaya and as in previous books the descriptions of the world and of the magic it contains are beautiful… Even if you don’t like fantasy books usually you will like this series, so don’t delay, get your copy today!

Madam Mim – Mim Inkling – The characters are one of the most brilliant parts of this story. Every character is subtly and realistically developed throughout the course of the story, they make mistakes and have flaws and strengths, relationships, loss, responsibilities, and preferences, and as a result they feel very three-dimensional… I loved every second of The Sentinel’s Reign. It was hard to put down, and lived up to my every expectation after the first book. I would highly recommend this series for classic fantasy fans.

You can also see these reviews on Goodreads. and add it to your book shelf.

The price goes up tomorrow, so if you want it at the bargain price of 99p / 99c, please head over to Amazon.

Here’s a last look at the blurb…

The new Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

The Sentinel’s Reign is a heroic fantasy. If you like character-driven adventures then you will love The Sentinel’s Reign.

This is the second book in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and follows on from The Lost Sentinel.

publicity ebook and paperback

Book release day 2 for The Sentinel’s Reign #fantasy #yafantasy

It’s day 2 for the book release of The Sentinel’s Reign. I have a few more links to share with a book review, guest post and an excerpt.

I’ve had lots of fun the last few days retweeting and replying to comments. Please keep them coming.

I will say that I’m enjoying the hot weather, but releasing a book during a heat wave and in the midst of the world cup was not the best of timing. You can help me by sharing my posts and the posts of the wonderful bloggers who’ve agreed to feature The Sentinel’s Reign.

So here are today’s links…

Jennifer posted a wonderful review yesterday on her blog Alinefromabook. She gave Book 2 a brilliant 4.5 stars.

I wrote a guest post and shared my 11 tips for creating great characters, so please visit Danny site at Dansbookblog.

Teri shared an excerpt from The Sentinel’s Reign on her blog Books and Such.

 

Here is a quick recap of the blurb, just in case you missed it…

The new Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

This is the second book in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and follows on from The Lost Sentinel.

The Sentinel’s Reign 99p for 1 week only

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine #Fantasy #YA

This is the first book review I have written this year and what better way to start than with Book 3 in the YA fantasy series The Great Library. Originally thought to be the last book in the trilogy (at least by me) I was delighted to hear that Book 4 is due out later in 2018.

For those of you who don’t know the series, I can highly recommend it. Please see my reviews of Book 1 – Ink and Bone and Book 2 – Paper and Fire.

Here’s the blurb for Book 3 – Ash and Quill

Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides … but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they’ll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive.

They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.

Win or die.

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My review

Ash and Quill picks up where book two finished, with Jess and the gang captured and transported to Philadelphia. It was interesting to get to know the Burners and there are some explosive moments in store!

It is harder to review books from a series without spoilers, so I just want to say that this is another exciting read, full of action, intrigue, plotting, double-crossing and a touch of romance. I love the interaction between the characters, especially Jess and Morgan, and I just want them to save the world and have their happy ever after. Of course that’s never going to happen until they take down the Great Library who have upped the stakes and will do anything, even commit mass murder to stop them.

As with the other books in the series, this is a fast paced story that drags you along and keeps you interested to the last page.

This is a 5 star read and I cannot wait for book 4.

Goodreads link

#Bookreview Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine #fantasy #YAFantasy

My first book review of the year and it’s a 5 star read!

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

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LET THE WORLD BURN

With an iron fist, the Great Library ruthlessly controls the knowledge of the world, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but his life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered for ever. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe any more. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or a Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control . . .

My Review

This will be a short and sweet review for the second book in the Great Library series. As with the first book I was drawn in from the start. The story picked up a few months after book 1 ended and was pretty much straight back into the action. The characters were further developed with a few surprises, and plenty of doubts about who can be trusted. You discover a lot more about this alternative world history and the library’s hold over everything as it’s all about to come crashing down.

As I read this book, I found myself constantly wishing they would make it into a film. I could picture the action so clearly in my head, that I was desperate to see it on the big screen.

I loved this book as much as the first and highly recommend the series. As far as I’m concerned the writing is flawless and additive.

There are very few scene breaks in the book, so the story flows along and carries you with it. Many times I wanted to stop reading (I need sleep after all) but the book just wouldn’t let me. I had to keep reading to find out what happened next; I wasn’t disappointed.

Now I have the long wait until book 3 is released. Ahh…

I hope I’ve encouraged you to give this a try. Plus here’s the link to my review of book 1 Ink and Bone. It was my favourite read in 2015. Both books are 5 star reads, you can’t go wrong!

Buy Paper and Fire now on Amazon uk or Amazon US

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2017 has started out brilliantly for books. I have a 5 star audio review coming up and another fantasy book which so far is another 5 star read.

My favourite reads of 2016 #amreading #greatreads

I’ve read more in 2016 than I have in years thanks to taking up the Goodreads reading challenge and joining Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Here are some of the books that have stayed with me long after I finished reading them.

Favourite Children’s book – Fire Bed and Bone by Henrietta Bradford

My review & My Family Review

Featured Image -- 3569  I loved this book and shared it with my family. It was an interesting experiment to get the different opinions from a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old and my husband (whose age I’m sure he wouldn’t want me to mention!).

Favourite YA book – The Sapphire Legend by E.L. Tenenbaum

My Review

26248087 This fantasy book took me by surprise and I have been longing to read the sequel. I definitely will in 2017.

Favourite Indie and fantasy – The Crown of Stones by C.L. Schneider

My Review

20319844 I was drawn to the cover of this book from the start and the book didn’t disappoint. A great fantasy, and another trilogy I hope to finish in 2017.

Favourite Thriller – Distress Signals by Catherin Ryan Howard

My review

distress signals cover image This book led to some very late nights! A compelling thriller and I bet you won’t see the twist coming!

Favourite Romance – Late Summer in the Vineyards by Jo Thomas

My Review

51qenardljl I loved this book for the atmosphere and the wonderful feel good factor it had.

Favourite Audio book – Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

My Review

51fbBPM9h9L._SY346_  This was a thriller I just couldn’t stop listening to. It had that all important mystery element, and like the main character I didn’t know who to trust. It reminded me of ‘Before I go to Sleep’. Both truly great reads.

In all I read 33 books during 2016. Now I can’t wait to see what books 2017 has in store.

Have you read any of these books, and if not have I inspired you to add them to your TBR lists?

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview Rise of the Sparrows – Sarina Langer #fantasy

Title – Rise of the Sparrows Book 1 of the Relics of Ar’zac

Author – Sarina Langer

Genre – YA Fantasy

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First thoughts

I was really pleased to have won a paperback copy of this book during its blog tour back in May. I’d already bought the book on kindle, but it was great to be able to read the paperback. I think the cover’s great and I was pulled in by the blurb.

Blurb

Growing up homeless and orphaned in a town that hates her, Rachael must assassinate the king of Rifarne to become queen to a people who once wanted her dead. Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, who possesses the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person who can stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the king to take his throne may well be the only way to do just that.

My summary

This is a really great start to a new fantasy series. I like how the background is slowly built up with regards to the history of the people / magic and the prophecy surrounding Rachel. Not everything is revealed in book 1 which makes you want to read on and discover what mysteries are surrounding the Ar’zac.

Characters

The main character is Rachel. I liked Rachel and her attitude to self-preservation, although her continued mistrust of everyone did get to me. But she is an orphan from the streets and I could fully relate to her not willing to trust a single person after the harsh reality of her every day existence. Maybe it’s because I liked Cale (the leader of the Sparrows) from the moment he first showed up and wanted Rachel to put her trust in him more quickly.

Writing style / Viewpoints

There are several viewpoint characters, which were handled with skill. It helped drive the story forward at the right moments and made me able to care more for the other characters. At times I thought the readers were drawn into the characters thoughts a little too much though, especially towards the end when I was desperate to see the story reach its climax through the action without being slowed down by introspect.

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. It was a well written, easy read with a page-turning storyline.

I look forward to reading more of Rachel and Cale’s story and seeing what the future throws at them. The end of the epilogue certainly leaves me wanting to pick up the next book.

Recommend to

YA fantasy and fantasy fans in general

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Check out the book for yourself Amazon UK   Amazon US   Goodreads

#Bookreview Phoenix by Daccai Buchelli #YAfantasy #RBRT

Phoenix – Book 1 Peradon Series

Author – Daccari Buchelli

Genre – YA Fantasy

Reviewing as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review team.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I received a copy from the author and have given my unbiased opinion.

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Blurb

Magic never ceased to bring Violetta joy, until the day it became her curse. Aged fifteen, the young Flame Mage and Princess finds herself drawn to her sworn enemy, the Frost Emperor Ryore. Torn between her sudden feelings and inescapable duty to the throne, Violetta seeks to strike a balance. Will she surrender her will forever, or strive for freedom by doing the unthinkable?

My review

Phoenix is a fantasy book and book #1 of the Peradon series. It opens with immediate intrigue as a seer tells Emperor Jugan of a future marriage between his eldest son and their enemy. To avoid this fate, the Emperor decides to have Violetta assassinated. This sets in motion events that drive the story and greatly affects Violette’a life.

There are lots of good ideas in this book but several seem rushed and I longed for them to be developed deeper for the reader to understand. I also struggled to get my head around the different kingdoms, I wanted the writing to give me a clearer picture. I’m sure the author has a brilliant image of his fantasy land in his head, I just couldn’t see the pictures he wanted me to see.

There is a large cast of people and places to remember from the start. I’m not sure it was necessary to introduce them all at once, better perhaps to slow down the action and drip the characters into the storyline, so the reader stands a chance of really knowing the main characters from the beginning.

There’s definitely a good story in here, it just needs a bit of a re-write to sort out some of the weaker areas of the plot, head hopping on occasions by the characters and tweaking of punctuation errors. There are also a few minor formatting errors with regard to the unnecessary indenting of first paragraphs of new chapters and scenes, which is easy to resolve and doesn’t detract from the story.

I think another run through edit would vastly improve things from a readers point of view.

With a little more work, I think this is an author to watch out for in the future.

My rating 3 stars

Check out the book on Goodreads