Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Spin the Dawn

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss books you’re excited about that you have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. 

What am I waiting on this week?

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

What do you need to know about its author?

This is a debut author, whose project was snapped up by Knopf, in a 2 book deal. You go girl!

Okay, so what does the publisher’s synopsis say?

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Why am I excited?

Mulan comparisons from early reviewers (love that movie!) and also, recommended for fans of Sarah J Maas? Ummm… yes please!

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry (Book Review)

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Jesse and Scarlett have been through a lot. Jesse’s warm, loving gran, who raised him after his flighty mother was murdered, lost her fight with cancer and is now residing inside an urn that lives atop the heater in his dilapidated trailer. In the huge mansion across the way from Jesse’s farmland, Scarlett’s forbidding dad is controlling and physically abusive, but her timid mum is insistent that this is all perfectly normal. Once, Jesse and Scarlet were the best of friends. Of course, they haven’t spoken in 3 years… Not since Jesse froze her out at the start of high school and began spreading rumours about her. 

Don’t worry about not liking or relating to these characters, you’ll like them just fine; I’m so glad this was written with a dual POV. You’d think Jesse would be at least a little unlikable, considering he did ignore Scarlett for 3 years, but he’s actually swoon worthy… You might also think you’d get frustrated that Scarlett doesn’t speaking out immediately about her abusive dad, especially with a vulnerable younger sister to consider, but that wasn’t my reaction at all. All I felt was empathy. The fact is, Katie McGarry might write baggage like nobody’s business, but her characters are so well drawn that you can’t help loving them despite their weaknesses – they might make silly choices, but you always end up thinking, “I probably would have done that too…” 

Finally, I loved the southern-gothic vibes of this story – from the magical realism in the cursed land, to the quiet horrors of abusive families, and the psychic, distantly-related cousin who lives amid endless woods and predicts fates. This setting, combined with a wickedly twisty plot and slow burn romance, make this a great YA contemporary that has a heavy dose of suspense. I found this a difficult read to put down and spent my entire Saturday reading it… I’m sort of hoping that Leo and Veronica get their own spin off story. (Hint, hint! Miss McGarry…)

Edition read: Hardback (January 2019)

Age recommendation: 14+

Triggers: physical and emotional abuse

Rating: 5 yummy cupcakes!!!!!

Novella Review: Prisoner of Night by J. R. Ward

Prisoner of Night by J. R. Ward

I like my books chunky, my characters fully fleshed out and a slow burn romance. So I’m not really a ‘novella’ reader. I am however, a huge fan of J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series… I therefore threw caution to the wind and loaded Prisoner of Night onto my Kindle.

Honestly, that probably wasn’t such a good idea. This book features the usual scarred hero and feisty heroine, but the romance angle just didn’t work for me. It was too rushed, too contrived.

The backstory was interesting though. The idea of vampire cults – whoa! There’s a twist in the Brotherhood’s world. Also, I found the bad guy’s henchmen really interesting in this one. They kind of reminded me of George R Martin’s unsullied… I sense there could be a cool storyline here for a future novel.

Verdict: Stick to her novels, which are FANTASTIC, unless you are a fan of novellas.

Book Review: The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth.

The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth are ruled by their fates, spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates, once determined, are inescapable. Akos is in love with Cyra, in spite of his fate: He will die in service to Cyra’s family. And when Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek—a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead—reclaims the Shotet throne, Akos believes his end is closer than ever.

As Lazmet ignites a barbaric war, Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost. For Cyra, that could mean taking the life of the man who may—or may not—be her father. For Akos, it could mean giving his own. In a stunning twist, the two will discover how fate defines their lives in ways most unexpected.

I have been a huge fan of Veronica Roth for years, ever since I first read Divergent. Unfortunately I have yet to convince myself to read Allegiant – I love Tris too much to read it… Even now. (Yes, Twitter, you and your spoiler ways do affect my reading choices!) One day though, I know I will read it. I just need a bit more courage. Anyway, that experience did not discourage me from reading first, Carve the Mark and now, The Fates Divide.

This series has well developed characters, a whole universe of deadly planets (yey! I love science fiction!) and of course, oracles! Like, seriously, could it get any cooler? Oh wait, a prophesy defying romance of the Montague VS Capulet variety? Check! So basically, if you’ve not been reading this series, then what have you been doing with your life?

Romance stuff: Cyra and Akos are as ship-worthy as ever, but also Akos’ sister’s relationship with the Chancellor was pretty heart-pounding. If only I had liked the Chancellor more… Oh, and in the audiobook, Akos’ character is voiced by Austin Butler, from The Shannara Chronicles. I know, right? Buy it!!

Action stuff: explosions, assassinations, spaceships. I loved it ALL!

Prophesies: this is where the narration at times reminded me of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, which is pretty much the highest complement I can give a book, as that is one of my all time favourite series. “Roth and Steifvater vibes, in one book?” I hear you say. Yes, oh yes.

Ending: I really liked how the sequel wrapped up lots of lose ends (whoop, happy endings!), but also didn’t solve a whole universe of problems in a single book. Dare I hope this means a spin-off duology is in the works? Pretty, pretty please Ms Roth? I could do your dishes for a month?

#DishThosePages #hardback #pre-order

Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King by Holly Black.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

My brain is on fire… It’s whirling backwards and forwards, trying to decide and imagine what could possibly happen in the third book, or rather, what I would like to happen! I cannot believe I have to wait another year for The Queen of Nothing to be published. Sometimes life is incredibly unfair.

Holly Black is my go-to fairy queen. I love the way she peppers her worlds with just enough details to make you gasp and squirm. Rotting dresses and bloody, undercooked meats… She can sure plan a fairy celebration! Her books are certainly not for the faint of heart. Jude has more guts in her pinky, than most teenagers, which is I guess, why I like her so much.

I seriously thought that Jude and Carden had played with my poor, foolish romantic heart enough, but I was proved wrong… Holly Black, you are a cold, cold, woman! How could you toy with me this way, again? Erg, these two are perfect for one another. I just need them to realise that! Pronto! Okay… enough whining.

My advice? If you haven’t already started this series (by reading The Cruel Prince) steer well clear until ALL of the books have been published! It’s just that good… Then binge read them all in the space of a week. Deal? Also, remember to buy them in hardback – they will get some serious wear, when you lend them to all of your friends!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Warrior of the Wild


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss books you’re excited about that you have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. 

What am I waiting on this week?

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

What do you need to know about its author?

This is Tricia’s third novel and it will be published by Feiwel and Friends on the 26th February. It’s a standalone novel. She describes her books as, “young adult alternate–world historical fantasies with heavy romantic subplots.” That sounds pretty good to me!

Okay, so what does the publisher’s synopsis say?

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.





Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, until a girl falls in love with him. But at the end of each autumn, he turns into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. And now, powerful forces are now amassing against Prince Rhen and Emberfall.

Born with cerebral palsy, nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. Her father’s gone, her mother’s dying, and her brother constantly underestimates her. When she tries to save someone on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead sucked into Rhen’s cursed world…

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know what to think, but she certainly doesn’t believe in fairytale endings…

This book was a mash up of ‘mediaeval’ fantasy and fairytale, a combination that I found hard to resist. This book had everything: suspense, warring countries, fight scenes, political intrigue, myths, humour and a sprinkling of romance.

The romance aspect was light, but compelling and a love triangle, was hinted at. (I’m a romance fan, so now I’m definitely planning to read the sequel – A Heart So Fierce and Broken – which due out in January 2020.)

I was afraid that this story would be a tragic one, because of Harper’s cerebral palsy – The Fault in Our Stars set in a fantasy world. I could not have been more wrong. Harper is an independent, stubborn, capable heroine, who always tries to do the best she can for others – even placing their safety above her own. She’s never whines and I admired her feisty, can-do attitude. Rhen’s character freely admits to having been selfish and arrogant in the past, but proves himself to be a somewhat-reformed prince!

On the strength of the writing in this book, I have gone ahead and ordered Brigid Kemmerer’s earlier novel, Letters to the Lost, which also sounds compelling!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Only A Breath Apart

can't wait wednesday
 
Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss books you’re excited about that you have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.
 
What am I waiting on this week?
 
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Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry.

Why am I waiting?
 
Firstly, Tor Teen isn’t publishing this book until the 22nd January! Secondly, I love the sound of the tragic ‘curse’ – this book has Maggie Steifvater vibes written all over it… (Another favourite author of mine.)
 
What do you need to know about its author?
 
Ever since I read Katie McGarry’s debut novel ‘Pushing the Limits‘ this author has been blowing me away with her YA romances. Sadly, for family reasons, she won’t be able to do much promotion for this book on her own in the coming months…
 
Okay, so what does the publisher’s synopsis say?
 

Jesse Lachlin is cursed… 

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic…

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Wondrous Word Wednesdays

Wondrous Word Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by BermudaOnion, where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.

Which word am I spotlighting?

My word this week is coddiwomple.

Where does it come from?

This is a lovely piece of English slang, which reminds me greatly of the time I’ve spent walking the fells!

Why should we use it?

Would you rather go out for a slow, aimless ramble or a coddiwomple?

My Favourite TV Show of 2018: A Discovery of Witches

While I don’t have a Sky box, I did invest in a monthly NowTV subscription in order to watch the debut of this show in September.

I’d started listening to the first book (thank you Audible!) in August and had then binge read the rest of the books in the All Souls trilogy in quick succession.

So I had high expectations for the Sky-commissioned television show. The television series was very faithful to the books, although it made some effort to expand on the storylines of the secondary characters – often introducing them earlier than in the books. I felt this was a positive change.

The casting was perfect – Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer have terrific chemistry and were inspired choices for the main leads.

I also love the rich settings – from the Bodleian Library to the opinionated, witchy cottage in Madison. The combination of convincing acting and atmospheric settings make watching this series a lush, evocative experience.

I am already looking forward to watching seasons 2 and 3. I’m even hopeful that they might be able to commission a fourth season, based on Time’s Convert (Marcus’s story).

Will I like it?

It’s Twilight reimagined for adults, with Outlander‘s time travel thrown in (for Season 2). So, probably, yes!

My Rating:

Full cupcake marks with fairy dust sprinkled on top. A yummy, yummy treat!

🧚‍♂️🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰🧚‍♀️