Bookish Update… We Will Rock You, Olympics & Sarah J Maas

What I’ve been reading lately…

Since my last bookish update I’ve been re-reading the Throne of Glass series in preparation for the 5th book coming out in September! I love this series so much.

New to my bookshelf…

Some I purchased, some were sent to me from publishers… King by TM Frazier, One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Manwhore by Katy Evans are all books I have read and loved enough to add to my shelves.

What else I’ve been up to…

This past weekend me and my boyfriend went up to Brisbane to see We Will Rock You. I’ve seen it before, but it was his very first musical. Ah, I love musicals!

I’ve also been loving the Olympics this past two weeks. I’ve managed to watch a fair bit of it. I particularly enjoyed the Rugby and Gymnastics.

What have you guys been up to?

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To Be Read Tag

I saw this tag on Tea and Titles and decided to give it a go.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I don’t. Well… not really anyways. I have a “want to read” list on GoodReads that I add books to whenever I see something I like. I also have piles upon piles of books sent to me from publishers that I still need to get through… but I don’t have a logical way of sorting them.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

Mostly print. I went through a stage of downloading a bunch of eBooks, but I find them to be too “out of sight, out of mind”.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I used to read them in the order they were sent to me from publishers, but I found that took all the fun out of reading. Now days I pick up whatever I feel like – at the moment I’m reading a lot of New Adult Romance and Contemporary Romance.

A Book That’s Been On Your TBR List The Longest

The very first book on my “To Read” list on GoodReads is Wildcat Fireflies by Amber Kizer. I added it back in 2011! It’s the sequel to Meridian which I rated 4 stars. Man, I really need to finish that series!

A Book You Recently Added To Your TBR

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. An advance copy was sent to me from Penguin, and after all the hype surrounding All The Bright Places, hopefully it is a good read.

A Book In Your TBR Strictly Because Of Its Beautiful Cover

The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I mean, look at that beautiful thing!

An Unpublished Book On Your TBR That You’re Excited For

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. Omg, words cannot even explain my excitement for these two!

A Book On Your TBR That Everyone Recommends To You

None actually… I have a tendency to read recommendations straight away, depending on who the recommendation is from. I get all excited about them!

A Book On Your TBR That You’re Dying To Read

Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater by TM Frazier. Oh god, I just love the King series, it’s so gritty!

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

I have 81, which is pretty good I think. As far as unread books I own go… I have bazillions!

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas is coming!

The latest instalment in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas is only a month away! In light of this, I’m re-reading the first four books. I did the same thing last year before Queen of Shadows came out. The re-reading process makes me so happy because I literally haven’t done that for a series since Harry Potter.

In celebration for Empire of Storms, here is a wrap up of all the Sarah J Maas related goodness on my blog.

Throne of Glass Series
Throne of Glass – Book Review
Crown of Midnight – Book Review
Heir of Fire – Book Review
Queen of Shadows – Book Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Book Review
A Court of Mist and Fury – Book Review

Other
My Interview with Sarah.

Are you guys looking forward to Empire of Storms?

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Bookish Update… Reading galore, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Katy Evans spree…

What I’ve been reading this month…

I’ve been devouring books lately! I’ve managed to find a little more time to read, and have been making the most of it! I’ve devoured quite a few Katy Evans novels and also Taylor Jenkins Reid who will go down in history as one of my favourite authors, I think!

I’ve got Your Number by Sophie Kinsilla – 4 stars
Paper Princess by Erin Watt – 5 stars
Broken Prince by Erin Watt – 4 stars
The Contract by Melanie Moreland – 4 stars
Manwhore by Katy Evans – 4 stars
Manwhore +1 by Katy Evans – 2 stars
Ladies Man by Katy Evans – 5 stars
Real by Katy Evans – 2 stars
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 5 stars
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 5 stars
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 3 stars

New to my bookshelf…

Some I purchased, some were sent to me from publishers…

What have you guys been reading this month?

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Series Review: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath & the Dawn, The Rose & the Dagger
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Links: GoodReads

Blurb:

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

My Thoughts – The Wrath & the Dawn:

I picked this one up because I’d seen it around a couple of places online. I was searching for something new to read and decided to give it a go.

I started this book a little bewildered. There were so many funny names that were difficult to keep track of. But I pushed through because I just love a forbidden love story, and I was excited to see where the plot could go.

“So his question to an all-knowing genie would be about a mere trinket of love?” the caliph interjected.

“A mere trinket? Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable . . . and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”

The caliph held her gaze. “I am not sneering at its power. I am lamenting its role in this story.”

“You are saddened by love’s importance in the emir’s life?”

He paused. “I am frustrated by its importance in all our lives.”

The highlight for me was definitely the characters. Despina in particular flew off the page – her personality was so vibrant. I also enjoyed the writing style – it was elegant and flowery without becoming purple prose. It’s strength was also in the plot – it was definitely an intriguing story that I didn’t want to end. The dialogue was simple and flowed well. Each character had their own distinctive tone.

The laces of her shamla were free. If this progressed much further, it would be pointless to even consider such a thing as thought. She had to ask now, before the flames consumed her.

“Tell me,” she gasped, her fingers gripping his shoulders.

“Anything.”

Her heart soared, and the guilt clutched at it. “Why did they have to die?”

He stilled in her arms for an interminable beat. Then Khalid lifted himself from her and stared down at Shahrzad, his face frozen in horror. He saw the conflict in her eyes. She saw the terror in his. Without a word, he rose from the bed and made his way to the doors. As his fingers grasped the handle, he paused.

“Never do that to me again.” It was low and harsh. Filled with unmitigated pain. He slammed the door shut behind him.

It has been a while since I’ve fallen in love with a male character, but I loved Khalid. He’s so well constructed. How could you not fall in love with him?

All in all, I loved this. Can’t wait for the second instalment!

My Thoughts – The Rose & The Dagger:

I was super excited to start this one. I loved The Wrath & The Dawn. It took a little while to hit its groove, or maybe it was just me settling back into such a lush world.

I like how strands from the first book came together in the second. Like the seeds were planted in the first, but their importance wasn’t truly revealed until the second. I like plots that make you feel like the author has truly thought things through, and not just thrown words onto the page.

I liked Arten, I thought he was a nice new character. I also liked how this book was about curses. It felt old school, like something from a fairytale.

It was an odd sort of story, because whilst the scope was quite large, the author made the world feel intimate. I would have liked a tad more information about the drives behind all the characters, and why some of them were so hell bent on destroying others. A little more motive would have made the plot richer.

All in all, I loved this. But I want more – I wish this series were longer.

Series Verdict – 5 Stars

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Book Promotion — Thanks for the Email!

Thanks for the Email is a brand new facet of my blog. It started because I get a lot of emails from authors asking me to review their novels, and whilst I don’t always get the time, I want to share these novels with my blog visitors in some way. So every now and then I’m going to post a little wrap up of some of the novels that have drifted into my inbox recently.

So without future ado, please show your support for the following authors!

It’s Never Enough by Susan Soares

Independent Publisher | New Adult, Contemporary
Amazon | GoodReads | YouTube
Thank you for taking the time to check out my books! I’ve wanted to be an author since I was seven years old. It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of. Thanks to some amazing support, a great editor, a thoughtful agent, and lots of time spent staring at the computer I’ve gotten to live out my dream! I love YA and NA books! I hope you’ll take a moment to check out what I’ve done! Oh, and follow me on social media! Thank you!

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

St. Martin’s, Macmillan | Literary Fiction
Author Website
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel.

Anomaly by Caitlin Lynagh

Outlet Publishing | Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Author Website | Amazon | FaceBook | Twitter
What if everything and everyone was connected? From the smallest emotions to the biggest decisions? What if one person’s choices could change the world? Alice Lynam has been dead for two years. The afterlife is complicated, time behaves differently and the deceased souls have important information concerning humanity’s future. Certain individuals are set to change the world for the better and Alice’s childhood sweetheart, Kyle, happens to be one of them. But Kyle’s grief has set him on a path that can only bring frustration and unhappiness. Alice needs to find a way to get through to Kyle to put him back on the right path. And if she gets it wrong, all could be lost.

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Author Interview: Anna Clifton

Today I’m featuring Anna Clifton on my blog. A big thanks to Anna for getting in touch and answering all my questions!

Anna’s Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads | Escape Publishing

Tell us a little bit about Copping It Sweet

Copping It Sweet is about two people who frankly, should never be together.

Cooper’s a gifted detective on a steep career trajectory – Sara’s the estranged wife of a crime boss and holding a swag of secrets about her husband’s involvement in the murder of an innocent street kid years before.

Quite a challenge then for these two to ever see eye-to-eye. Only problem is, whenever Cooper and Sara are together sparks fly, and not the kind conducive to keeping their distance from one another.

Copping It Sweet is a stand-alone fifth release in my Murphy’s Law series published through Escape Publishing. It’s a story about the insidious nature of intimidation and control, and about the transformative powers of trust and acceptance, and finding hope where you least expect it. If you get a chance to read it, I really hope you enjoy it.

When you aren’t writing, what do you get up to…

As well as writing fiction, on most days I’m reviewing social policy for an organisation I volunteer for. On other days I teach English to a gorgeous group of migrant women. I also spend as much time as I can with my teenage children and at night, my husband and I love to collapse in front of the TV and commentate on whatever we’re watching, like a pair of Gogglebox heads.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Too easy! Have someone read your work and critique it. And although I understand the temptation, not someone who will tell you what they think you want to hear – so that rules out your mum – sorry.

Fact is, there were probably only two artists who produced close to flawless works first go, and they were Mozart and Jane Austen. For we mere mortals, there’s more work to be done.

Before I was published I submitted a manuscript to a competition organised by Romance Writers of Australia. I didn’t win of course (I didn’t deserve to as it was a hot mess) but one of the judges wrote reams of criticism about my writing and then made a final comment that she didn’t doubt I would eventually be published. After about six months – when I stopped feeling sorry for myself – I recognized this constructive criticism was exactly what I needed and got on with sorting out my manuscript.

So…find a competition for unpublished manuscripts offering feedback from judges and send that magnum opus in now! Failing that, find someone who hates your guts and ask them to do it instead – at least you’ll know they won’t hold back.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I remember reading a great comment from another author once. She said that when a book is finished you’re no longer the same person you were when you began it. This is so true!

Writing a book is such an organic process. It comes from who you are, where you’re at and what is going down in your life when you write it. That’s why I think it’s really hard for authors to make hard and fast plans for their long-term career unless they’re taking a very commercial approach.

What I can say is that I plan to keep doing what I was born to do: writing love stories about big, chaotic families – traditional and urban – and portraying and celebrating life, warts and all, with some humour thrown in for fun.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?

Sara is feisty, private, brave and stoic, devoting her life to protecting a child witness to a murder her estranged crime boss husband carried out years before. She’s also highly eccentric, never wearing anything but vintage clothing because said control-freak ‘ex’-husband also used to insist she wear the latest designer clothing so that he could show her off to his network. Needless to say, he’s both dangerous and creepy.

When Detective Sergeant Cooper Halligan inexplicably begins to circle Sara’s life she’s not unduly fazed. Over the years she’s become quite expert at keeping men at arm’s length. What she doesn’t count on is the man that Cooper is behind the badge: a bit of a lad, cuddly, brave, honourable and apparently, highly resistant to her normally bulletproof methods of jettisoning men out of her life. Suddenly she’s wondering whether she might finally have a problem on her hands, or should I say, with her heart… 😊

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Both, by choice. I become very immersed in the creative process in a full-time way when I’m writing a book. After that I’ll have an extended period when I step back from writing, take a deep breath, spend time with the people I love and live life without trying to deconstruct it.

Where do your ideas come from?

Every book I’ve written has been an expression of something that has touched my own life or the life of someone I care about.

Young women whose choices are highly controlled into adulthood by their own families inspired my first book, Falling for the Lawyer. New Year’s Promise, on the other hand, was about the discovery that the ‘in sickness and in health’ promise doesn’t always stack up when the chips are down in a family. Copping It Sweet is different again, inspired by domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, and those millions of women out there who receive little help from the authorities because their domestic violence injuries are psychological and emotional. Adam’s Boys and Making Ends Meet were also stories from the heart, for different reasons.

What books do you recommend to readers?

For every person who loves a book I recommend I know there will be ten who won’t. Fiction reading evokes such a personal response, as book review sites reveal – even the greatest classics ever written are often struggling to crack the 4 star mark.

I am crazy about books that do two things though. I love books that allow me to be a very active participant in coming to my own conclusions about the motives and behaviours of the characters – that elusive ‘show don’t tell’ quality in writing. Secondly, I adore stories that dig right down into the mystery of relationships and why we feel, behave and speak to each other as we do. If there’s a fascinating historical context to the setting – even better!

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