Saturday, 14 January 2017

Book Review: The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst

The Forgotten Fairytales – Angela Parkhurst

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Angela Parkhurst
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
First published: 2014
Edition: ePub
Pages: 360
Blurb:    (Taken from goodreads)
               A psychotic, shoe obsessed Princess.
               A not-so-charming, alcoholic Prince.
               A hot Big Bad Wolf she absolutely cannot fall for – no matter how well he kisses.
               If seventeen-year-old Norah Hart had known she’d be attending a boarding school for the nut job reincarnations of fairy tale characters, she would have insisted on going to Moscow with her father. But getting out isn’t as easy as she thought. Especially once Norah realizes she, too, is a storybook character. An Unknown. The first one in one hundred years.
Soon Norah learns she can help others break free form the story binding them. But in doing so puts everyone’s Happily Ever After in jeopardy. Some princesses will do whatever it takes to protect their endings. Even if it means betraying the one closest to you.

History of my copy: I received a copy of The Forgotten Fairytales through YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

In all honesty, this is the kind of book I should adore. I am a huge fan of fairy-tale retellings, especially those with a twist. To me, it sounded like a high school version of the hit TV show Once Upon A Time, of which I am a huge fan of. Although The Forgotten Fairytales wasn’t a bad book, I think that my high expectations kind of ruined it for me when it turned out to not live up to them.

Plot: We follow Norah Hart and her sister as she enters boarding school whilst her dad moves to Moscow. However, this isn’t an ordinary school – it’s a school where all the students are an ‘alternative’ version of fairy-tale characters. It is also very cliquey where the princesses stick together, as do the heroes, villains, sidekicks, etc. It turns out that Cinderella, of all people, is evil and so Norah and her best friend turned boyfriend Wolf have to stop her whilst not getting killed.

Setting: One thing I did enjoy about The Forgotten Fairytales is the setting. The castle-turned school may feel a little Hogwarts-y, but it certainly suited the fairy-tale nature of the book. I do wish Pankhurst had given it a little more character and description though as it had the potential to be a fantastic setting.

Characters: Whilst the main characters of the book were all individual, none of them really connected with me. The protagonist, Norah, was sometimes a bit if a bad-ass, but became a complete wuss when it came to her sister. She just felt a little two-dimensional and flat, and had no outstanding personality.
               Wolf was another conundrum. Starting off as a broody, humorous person, he became all soft and sweet as soon as he and Norah became a thing. That just felt too fake. In fact, their whole relationship was just a little too cliché and fake if I’m honest.
               Then there is Cinderella because, of course, the innocent, kind, angel of a girl definitely is evil.. right? Pankhurst did explain it well and did it justice but it just felt a little too far gone. It felt very much ‘let’s take the kindest person and make them evil!’


To read or not to read: Not read. Whilst The Forgotten Fairytales was far from a terrible book, it just really didn’t live up to my expectation. It was such a brilliant idea but I think it fell a little flat, with perhaps too much effort going into making the characters ‘different’ from the traditional tales. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an alright book, but I wouldn’t go recommending it to anyone in a hurry.


Christmas Book Haul 2

It's that time of year again folks! I hope you have all had an amazing festive period whether you celebrate Christmas, any other holidays, or nothing at all. 

As per usual, it isn't really Christmas without family, gifts and, of course, books! I thought for this post I would do a quick update on the state of the books I got last Christmas (blog post can be found here) and then dive into the literary wonders I received this time round.


Last year's books:


Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia by Christopher Paolini

This was the first book I completed in 2016 and I gave it a 4* review.

Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

I'm still yet to finish this one, but the images are just beautiful!

Wars of the Roses: Bloodline by Conn Iggulden


Oops I haven't even started this one yet.


Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


Ahh yes this one was so good! I gave it a 5* review.

The Company of the Dead by David Kowalksi


Don't think I've even started this one either.


The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan


I haven't even touched the first of this trilogy. Maybe this year?


The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


I loved this one so much I actually finished it back in 2015, just after Christmas! It got a 4* review.

The Enchanted Forest Postcards by Joanna Basford


I've done a few of these now and I'm still super obsessed with how pretty they are. Check out my adult colouring page here.

And now onto this years books!!!

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Already read this one and I am so in love with it! It had a great twist and I'm heartbroken and I just need the next one like right now. Review shall be up soon.


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare


I read this back when it came out and gave it a glorious 5* review which you can read here. This was the edition I really wanted because it's so beautiful and is stamped by Cassie, but it was sold out when I wanted to get it. You should've seen the look on my face when I found some in my local Waterstones just before Christmas! I practically ran across the store crying! So yes, I am very glad to finally add this to my collection.


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare


In case you haven't noticed, I'm a pretty big Clare fan. I've wanted to read these short stories about Simon for a while now, but, as I did with The Bane Chronicles, I patiently waited until they were released as a full collection. Can't wait to get stuck in!


Wars of the Roses: Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden


Still haven't read Bloodline, but I needed this beautiful hard back edition to add to my collection.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer


I am a h.u.g.e. Meyer fan. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series ever and I've been dying to get my hands on Heartless since its release. This edition is gorgeous and I can't wait to get started! Find my review for Stars Above here, including links to the 4 main books of The Lunar Chronicles.

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan


As you can see above, I loved the first book in the Magnus Chase series and can't wait to get stuck into this one.

Illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Seriously, you can never read Harry Potter enough times. These illustrated editions are just a gorgeous collection to any Potter collection. They're almost too pretty to read!

Taylor Swift - This Is Our Song by Tyler Conroy

I have been a dedicated Swiftie for over a decade now so as soon as I saw this book, I knew I needed it. I'll probably get super jealous of all the fans when I read it (I still haven't seen her live - she always plays too far away for me to affordably go see) but I'll live with it because I just need more Swift in my life.


So there we have it! These are all the books I got for Christmas. Leave a comment with the ones you received!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Magical Creatures Colouring Book Part 1

Although it has been a while since I last uploaded any colouring pictures, I am definitely still a fan. However, I struggle to find time to do much to be honest.

I recently picked up the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Magical Creatures colouring book as I loved the film! Plus the pictures in this book are amazing.

Although just the title page, this was a nice one to colour in, especially the Mooncalf in the corner. It was a simple yet fun way to get stuck in to the book.

I used some of my metallic colouring pencils and my Faber Castells.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Spotlight: Highway Thirteen to Manhattan by Kourtney Heintz


Highway Thirteen to Manhattan
The Six Train to Wisconsin Series
Book Two
Kourtney Heintz

Genre: Paranormal and Suspense

Publisher: Aurea Blue Press

Date of Publication: 11/1/2016

ISBN: 978-0989132688
ASIN: TBA

Number of pages: 420
Word Count: 94,000

Cover Artist: Creative Paramita

Book Description:

His secrets almost killed her. Her secrets may destroy them both.

Kai is recovering from a near-death experience when she realizes something isn’t right. Her body is healing, but her mind no longer feels quite like her own. Her telepathic powers are changing, too. She can’t trust herself. The darkness growing inside of her pushes her to use her telepathy as a weapon.

Oliver clings to the hope that he can save their marriage, even though he was the one who put her life in jeopardy. As his wife slips further and further away from him, he becomes increasingly obsessed with bringing the man who ruined his life to justice.

The sequel to The Six Train to Wisconsin is a genre-defying tale of love and consequences. Once again, award-winning author Kourtney Heintz seamlessly weaves suspense and paranormal intrigue into a real-world setting, creating characters rich in emotional and psychological complexity.

Amazon    BN    Kobo    iTunes

"Family secrets, paranormal suspense, and romance collide in Heintz's fascinatingly original tale. A compelling read that will keep you guessing and haunt you long after the last page is turned." -Gretchen Archer, USA Today Bestselling author of the Davis Way Crime Capers


Grab Book One for Free October 1- December 1

The Six Train to Wisconsin



Amazon     BN    Kobo    iTunes


Excerpt - Chapter One

Kai

Like most daughters, I loved my parents, but right now, I wanted them anywhere but here. Hospitals are always hard, but my parents managed to make it harder. My head was already pounding from all the thoughts and emotions coming at me. Not just from the patients and their families and the doctors and the nurses, but also from my mother and father. Instead of shielding their thoughts and trying to make it better for me, they let their emotions crash into me.
My mind wasn’t strong enough for all this. Neither was my body. Tubes eviscerated my right hand. A giant bruise blossomed beside the newest IV line. A cast wrapped around my left wrist. My broken pinky finger had been set and taped to my ring finger. The back of my head was held together with stitches. Beneath the blanket, my body was covered in bruises.
I didn’t feel any physical pain because of the medications the doctors pumped into me. They said I needed it to recover, but it made my body feel like it wasn’t mine. And the steady drip of opiates didn’t just steal my physical pain; it left me unable to form the psychic shield I needed to protect myself from the misery swirling around me.
Mom sat in the chair closest to my bed. She wore one of her flowing peasant blouses and faded jeans. Her hair was pulled back in a messy bun, and light brown strands slipped loose to hang around her face. The corners of her hazel eyes were pinched with worry.
Her hand hovered over my arm, unsure where to touch me—if she should touch me. Finally, she laid her hand gently on my thigh. “You just need to rest here for a few more days.”
She was wrong. I needed to get out of here. Away from all these thoughts as soon as possible. “I want to go home.”
Mom shook her head. “You need to let the doctors help you.” Like they did last time.
Her thoughts slammed into my brain. She thought hospitalization was the solution to everything.
“Please. Look at what’s happened to you. You can’t go home until you’re better,” she said. I can’t lose you. I won’t let that happen.
I didn’t know how to reassure her. Yes, I’d almost died, but being here was hurting me more than it was healing me. I swallowed all the words I wanted to say and hoped for Caleb to come back soon. My brother would know how to talk to Mom, how to make her understand.
The doctor came in to check on me and Mom’s agonizing fear rose up. Don’t let her have brain damage.
Dad patted Mom’s shoulder. He looked like an older, surfer version of Caleb. Both were tall and muscular with curly blond hair. Dad’s hair was a darker blond streaked with platinum from decades in the sun and salt water. His eyes were greener than Caleb’s, but like Caleb’s, they were rimmed with purple bruises. When Dad smiled, sun lines radiated from his eyes and cut across his cheeks. But I hadn’t seen them since he’d arrived at my bedside. Instead, waves of exhaustion rolled off him and rippled over me, right before I heard his thoughts. I can’t go through this again, watching you slip away.
My younger sister Naomi lounged in the chair in the corner as far from me as she could get. She had Mom’s light brown hair and thin frame and Dad’s green eyes and height. She looked nothing like me and only distantly related to Caleb. Her long legs looped over the armrest as she flipped through a magazine. Thanks for ruining Christmas break. I’d rather be anywhere but here.
I felt the same way.
At least Oliver was gone for the moment. Mom had convinced him to go home, take a shower, maybe even sleep. I couldn’t bear his guilt; it was so thick it choked me.
Oliver. My husband. God. I’d never loved and hated someone so much at the same time. I still couldn’t believe he’d called my parents. He knew how bad they were at handling me. How could he have thought that having my family here would be good for me?
Bitterness frosted my thoughts. I was in a hospital, bruised and battered. I’d almost died. That’s what Caleb had said. He was the only one willing to tell me the truth. Oliver had said it was bad, but he wouldn’t say how bad. He couldn’t bear to admit what happened to me.

About the Author:
Kourtney Heintz is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Six Train to Wisconsin (2013), the first book in The Six Train to Wisconsin series. She also writes bestselling young adult novels under the pseudonym K.C. Tansley. Heintz is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Heintz has given writing workshops and author talks at libraries, museums, universities, high schools, conventions, wineries, non-profits organizations, and writing conferences. She has been featured in the Republican American of Waterbury, Connecticut; on WTNH’s CT Style; and on the radio show, Everything Internet.

Kourtney resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amok at night, envisioning a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.

You can find out more about Kourtney and her books at:






Tour Giveaway:

5 signed copies shipping to anywhere in the world

And

Kourtney’s Giveaway open from October 1-December 1 - prizes include naming a character in her next book, Butternut gift basket, and a $50 Amazon gift card. Enter on her Facebook page: http://gvwy.io/bwh02f9



Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

*Warning – may contain spoilers*


Author: Sara J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
First published: 2016
Edition: Paperback, signed
Pages: 264
Blurb:    Feyre is immortal.
After rescuing her lover Tamlin form a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.
As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.
She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

History of my copy: ACOMAF was one of the many books I picked up in my book haul last May. It was a bit of a gamble as I hadn’t read ACOTAR at that point and didn’t like Maas’ Throne of Glass much but as it was a signed copy, I couldn’t resist. And I’m so glad I got it!

I’ve said before that the time it takes me to read a book and how much I like it are in no way linked, and ACOMAF is a perfect example of that. It has taken me nearly 2 months to read (and now over a month to review), but is hands down one of my all-time favourite books.

Plot: ACOMAF starts pretty much where ACOTAR ends, with Feyre trying to settle to some kind of normalcy now that she is immortal. She thinks Tamlin and the Spring Court are all she needs when, in reality, it starts to suffocate her, leading her down a path she doesn’t want, right up to her wedding which Rhysand interrupts under the pretence of carrying out the contract he had made with Feyre to save her life – she was to stay with him for one week a month.
         Although not an ideal escape, it is clear that Feyre is glad that she is now in the Night Court and as the two get closer, she is let in to all the wonderful secrets that the rest of Prythian don’t know. However, as her relationship with Rhys and his closest friends grows, so does the looming danger and thus they work together to try and save Prythian and the Mortal Lands from King Hybern.
         In the end, though, there is a plot twist that turns Feyre’s life upside down and sets the perfect scene for book 3.

Setting: Although featuring many settings all over Prythian, it is the Night Court that truly takes the lead in the second book of the series, with the reader being introduced not only to Rhys’ home in the mountains, but to his secret city, Velaris, polar opposite to the Court of Nightmares hidden inside a mountain. This is a hidden paradise in what is perceived as the darkest of the courts, and Maas describes it perfectly, to the point where it is entirely understandable why Rhys did everything to keep it safe.
               We also get a chance to visit the Summer Court, a paradise in its own right, but as Feyre gets accustomed to Rhys’ home, as does the reader to the extent that nowhere but Velaris feels like home anymore. Creating a beautiful setting is definitely one of Maas strong points, and this really shines in ACOMAF with each setting being fully distinguishable from the next.

Characters: You may remember that I left my review of ACOTAR with adoration for Tamlin and a complete lack of understanding of the love of Rhys. Well, now I get it. After ACOMAF, there is no way I can adore Tamlin and with everything we learn about Rhys, it all becomes clear! Although I’m still not sure whether the twists truly suit the characters, Maas has done it well and I think I can go along with it.
                        You may also remember that I didn’t like the ending given to Feyre. However, Maas has brilliantly portrayed our heroine’s development from human to immortal, detailing how she gets used to the physical powers she now has, along with a fantastic sub story of her dealing with the emotions and PTSD she has from Under the Mountain. I really must praise Maas for furthering Feyre’s story in a beautifully believable way as it is something that really adds to ACOMAF.

To read or not to read: Read. Hands down read. Somehow even better than ACOTAR, ACOMAF has deepened the story and taken it away from the Beauty and the Beast backbone and allowed it to develop into its own fantastically unique tale. I am just dying to get my hands on the next book, recently revealed to be titled A Court of Wings and Ruin, and I need it right now!

Find my review for A Court of Thorns and Roses here!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Promo Post: Feast of Mercy by Kathryn M. Hearst




Feast of Mercy
Order of the Sinistra Dei
Book Two
Kathryn M. Hearst

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Crushing Hearts and
Black Butterfly Publishing

Date of Publication: October 4, 2016

Number of pages: approx. 300
Word Count: 75,000

Cover Artist: Marcela Bolivar,
Designer Shawn T. King

Book Description:

An ancient feud. A threat from the Vatican. Two lovers caught in the middle.

Nick never wanted to live forever, and he certainly didn’t want to join the Order of the Sinistra Dei. Unfortunately, before he’s able to get used to the idea of immortality, the High Judge from the Vatican arrives in New Orleans to investigate the strange events of Fat Tuesday. If Nick doesn’t play his cards right, his forever could be a whole lot shorter.

Marin, a relatively new immortal, is forced to serve as assistant to the High Judge while he investigates the alleged crimes of those she holds most dear. She’ll do what she has to do to protect her clutch. However, her efforts bring her closer to facing the executioner’s blade.

As their world spins out of control, Marin and Nick struggle to reconcile past hurts and hold onto their budding relationship. New enemies, new abilities, and new desires threaten to tear them apart. It isn’t long before they realize love can’t heal all.

Loving someone means you want the best for them...but what happens when what’s best isn’t you?

Feast of Mercy is the second book of the Order of the Sinistra Dei series, an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance like no other. If you like mysterious supernatural creatures, conflict-ridden romance and a lot of heat, then you’ll love this series.

Short Excerpt:

Nick expected sounds from her—moans, maybe a scream or two. What he didn’t expect was for her to bolt upright and let out a blood curdling scream. Déjà-fucking-vu.
“Get out,” Marin shouted.
For a brief terrifying second, Nick thought she spoke to him, then a male voice spoke from the door.
“Marin, I require your services,” a man said from behind him.
Nick covered her body with his unsure of what else to do. He didn’t recognize the voice, though he detected a European accent. Anyone who called her by name would have recognized him, even with his face buried between her legs. It had to be Lysander.
When the door clicked shut, he hopped off. “Who was that?”
“The High Judge. He’s practically a priest. A freaking priest saw my boobs.” Marin scrambled off the couch in search of her clothes.
“He’s not a priest. Worse.” Nick laughed deep in his gut. If looks could kill, he’d be stone cold dead, for keeps this time. “I’m sorry. Do you think he recognized me?”
“Where is my bra, dammit?” She pulled her jeans on commando style.
Nick handed her the scrap of lace she called panties. “Where are we going?”
“You aren’t going anywhere. You’re going to hide here until he’s gone, then go back to Gia’s. I need to find out what the hell he wants.” She snatched her bra from the edge of the desk and rushed it on.
Nick ran his hand through his hair. “Shit. This is bad.”
“Call Gia.”
“I will.”
“Now.” Marin slipped out the door.
Gia’s phone rang until he thought it would go to voicemail. “Hey, Nick.”
“Gia, the High Judge came looking for Marin.”
“Where? Did he see you?”
“The bar.” Nick’s stomach clenched. “I don’t know if he saw me.”
“Did he say why he wanted Marin?”
“No, but you need to be careful. Nicholai and Serena are still in town. If he comes to the townhouse, Nicholai doesn’t need to be the one to answer the door.”
“Shit, hang on.” She spoke with someone. “Okay, where are you now?”
“I’m still upstairs in the office, he barged in and caught us…um…making up. I didn’t get a look at him.”






About the Author:
Kathryn M. Hearst is a southern girl with a love of the dark and strange. She has been a storyteller her entire life, as a child, she took people watching to new heights by creating back stories of complete strangers. Besides writing, she has a passion for shoes, vintage clothing, antique British cars, music, musicians and all things musical (including theater). Kate lives in central Florida with her chocolate lab, Jolene; and two rescue pups, Jagger and Roxanne. She is a self-proclaimed nerd, raising a nerdling.

The Order of the Sinistra Dei is her first series and includes titles, Feast of the Epiphany and Feast of Mercy. Kate's novel, The Spirit Tree, won a publishing contract with Kindle Press through the Kindle Scout contest. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies.







Tour giveaway:

1 $50 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, 14 November 2016

Promo Post: Opaque by Calix Leigh-Reign


Opaque
by Calix Leigh-Reign
Genre: YA Scifi/Fantasy
Release Date: October 22nd 2016

Summary from Goodreads:


Highly controversial debut novel by Cālix Leigh-Reign is taking the nation by storm! For those who've been craving an untapped damsel-in-distress-less Sci-Fi niche - Opaque delivers in this gripping page-turner involving mutated Limbal rings, biokenretic anomalies, mental dysfunction, perplexing Russian ancestry & romance. Cālix takes us on an adventure that begins when 16 year old misanthropic Adam Caspian unknowingly reaches biokenretic puberty, and his supernatural abilities awaken to save him from his murderous intentions. His every thought revolves around the extinction of the human race until mysterious Afro-Russian Carly Wit stumbles into his English class one morning. Adam notices something otherworldly about her immediately but denies the bio-synch taking place inside of him. As he resists their blossoming love, he battles with unnatural thoughts of his mother. Discovering his origin isn't what he'd thought, he becomes determined to peel back the layers of his lineage and unmasks a multitude of mind-bending secrets along the way.


Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

Excerpt from Chapter 14 [Afrax]


“Mom, what is this place?” I can’t resist asking the question any longer.
“This is Afrax. A safe house and headquarters in International Falls for other descendants.”
“I never knew this many descendants were still living.”
“They not all exhibit the trait but do possess.”
“Then how can they pass through the corridor?”
“They are cocooned by another descendant.”
“So, it isn’t fail safe?”
“Not completely. But the Iksha, as we know, only possess medically-induced artificial traits. Those will not pass through. Our threat lies with the captured descendants who have joined the Iksha.”
“I haven’t told Adam that part.”
“Don’t worry, I will.”
         She reveals her idea and I listen intently.
“We would never lure them here where they could determine this location and capture all. No. Instead we lure them to remote location, retrace their steps and destroy them.”
It is time that these monsters be stopped. Permanently.
“If we cannot retrace their steps to locate Dad?”
“They still die!”
Her voice lowers, and growls in a way that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My mother is truthfully the only human being on the planet that I fear. I’ve seen what she’s capable of.
“Then let’s kill them Mom.”
“That’s my girl. But first, we must discuss your boyfriend.”
Gulp. I’d rather discuss the Iksha.



About the Author:
Cālix is the published author of the Russian-mutant, psychological Sci-Fi fantasy novel, Opaque. She's a certified paralegal and has studied creative writing under English teacher, script writer and published author Larry Strauss. Her earliest literary inspirations include Alice Walker, Larry Strauss, VC Andrews and Stephen King. She spent a majority of her childhood in libraries and developed an intense relationship with words. She's a member of YARWA and RWA and is currently serving as a judge for YARWA's 2016 Rosemary Contest. She enjoys prayer, discovering the minds of those who rebel against social programming, listening to music, a great cup of coffee, exquisite ethnic cuisine, spending time with family & friends, attending movie premieres, traveling and the arts. She spends her free time in the gym, fantasizing about story plots and different ways of changing the world.

Author Links:

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