Weekly Posts · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #2

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@TakingOnAWorldofWords and was formerly hosted by MizB@ADailyRhythm. Just answer the three question. It’s open to anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answer. It’s a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments of Sam’s blog.

The Three Rs are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Have been really enjoying this series so far. Started this book yesterday and so far it’s good, hoping it stays that way. I have yet to read a Sarah J. Maas book that I’ve disliked though so I’m hopeful.

Recently Read

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

Enjoyed reading both of these books. My review of Girls of Paper and Fire can be found here, and I’ll have a review of The Shamer’s Daughter up within the next few days.

Reading Next

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, Jack of Thorns by A.K. Faulker or Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube

Not sure which of these I’m going to read first but I’m planning to read all of them soon.


Let me know you’re currently reading and what you’re planning to read next in the comments.

Review

Review: The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

The Shamer’s Daughter
Author: Lene Kaaberbol
Series: The Shamer’s Chronicle #1
Publication Date: 4th July 2019 (new edition, original published earlier)
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆
*Finished copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

The first step into the thrilling middle grade fantasy world of The Shamer Chronicles.

Dina has inherited her mother’s gift: she is a Shamer, able to see a person’s most guilty secrets just by gazing in their eyes. But sometimes her gift feels more like a curse. Nobody seems to want a friend who can see their deepest shame.

But when Dina’s mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a terrible crime, Dina must come to terms with her power, and quickly – or let her mother fall prey to the vicious dragons of Dunark.


This book series leans more toward middle grade than YA, although I think readers of YA could still enjoy it as it’s quite a fun and engaging read. Maybe the later books change a bit but I think this series so far could best be described as Game of Thrones but for children. Mostly because the main character Dina, kind of reminds me of Arya Stark.

This story has such an original premise. The creation of a shamer, someone who can reveal someone’s biggest shame and darkest secrets is such an original idea that I hadn’t seen elsewhere before. The way in which Dina has to learn to deal with both the good and bad sides of this gift makes quite an interesting read.

The story itself was a pretty good read, focusing on Dina and her time at Dunark Castle. Including being bitten by a dragon and uncovering the true perpetrator of a murder. While some of the topics may be somewhat unsuitable for super young readers it should be fine for anyone over the age of ten.

Not sure I’ve I’m going to continue with this series but I’d definitely recommend it for readers in the 9-14 age group.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about The Shamer’s Daughter in the comments.

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Completed

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is an open choice so I’ve decided to go for ten series I’ve fully read and loved. This won’t include some series that I do really enjoy, such as ‘Throne of Glass’, as I haven’t actually finished it yet.


The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

The Winternight Trilogy is probably my all-time-favourite series. Both the characters and story are amazing and Arden is just such a brilliant writer. I can’t recommend this series enough.

The Rime Chronicles by Mindee Arnett

Okay so this is a duology rather than a series but I’m including it on here because not enough people know of its existence and you all are missing out. The ending of the duology also sets up the possibility for a number of spin-offs so you never know, this could soon become a series.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Was pretty slow getting around to reading this series and only actually read it this year but I fell completely in love. Which I’m sure most of the people who have read this series will understand. And yes I did spend pretty much all of Clockwork Princess in tears.

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I don’t think this series is as good as The Infernal Devices but I do still love it. Also may be an unpopular opinion but I think the later three books are better than the original trilogy.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I read these back to back on holiday in France about a year or two before the movie came out and completely fell in love with them. I’m super excited about the prequel coming out next year.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

My problematic fave. I get that there are a lot of problems with this series but honestly I just enjoyed reading it so much. Also any book series that has a character like Morrigan in is going to be auto-fave.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles is just such an original take on the fairytale retelling genre, even if it is still very hetero. The books are just such fun reads and I fell in love with so many of the characters.

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce is pretty much the queen of fantasy so obviously her books where going to end up on this list (although I haven’t read all of them yet, hence why only two series are here). If you haven’t read this series yet then you really must.

The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce

And here’s the second Tamora Pierce series on this list. Set in the same world as The Song Of The Lioness Quartet, this series picks up years later introducing new characters and continuing the stories of some familiar ones.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I’ve loved these books so much ever since I was a child. Although I do think there’s definitely parts of them that haven’t aged so well I think I’ll also love them due to the nostalgia element. Plus I’m pretty sure I’d due a re-read soon.


Thanks for reading and post your TTT in the comments below and let me know some of your favourite series.

Review

Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Publication Date: 6th November 2018
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★★★
Trigger warning: this book contains sexual assault, rape, violence, abuse and animal death

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.’


I’ve finally read this book after hearing about it for months. And I’m just going to start by saying it definitely lives up to the hype. Girls of Paper and Fire is such a fresh and original fantasy story. Through this story Ngan deals with extremely complex and traumatising topics such as sexual assault, with the sensitivity that these topics really should be given. Something that is sadly quite rare in fiction.

Ngan weaves together elements of fantasy, aspects of her Malaysian heritage, her own experiences and the experiences of women living in patriarchal societies to create a fantasy world that is immensely intriguing, albeit one I would rather not live in.

Told from the point of view of Lei, one of the paper girls brought to the Hidden Palace to be trained as a consort to the Demon King. The story follows her as she is forcibly taken from her childhood home, then as she begins to rebel against the Demon King and as she falls in love with one of the other paper girls. The narrative voice of Lei is incredibly compelling and had me rooting for her throughout the story.

Ngan’s storytelling also allows the nuanced feelings of the paper girls and other women living in this society to be clearly shown. Showing how the ways in which some of these women rebel are incredibly important even if its only small.

All in all I really loved this book and I can’t wait for the sequel to be released later this year.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought of Girls of Paper and Fire in the comments.

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic for ‘top ten Tuesday’ is all about settings we want to see more of. I think this is a really interesting topic as there are so many possible settings for stories out there. My top ten for this challenge are mostly fantasy-type settings as this is what I tend to read the most.


Fantasy Worlds Based On Time Periods Other Than Medieval Europe

Don’t get me wrong I do really love this as a setting, but sometimes it might be nice to read something a little different? Like there’s so much history to chose from, why not have something in an Ancient Greece type world? or something post-industrial?

Under The Sea

I really love mermaids so obviously I will always want to read books about them (I’d also quite like to be one but apparently that’s impossible). Most books about mermaids will have at least some of the story taking place under the sea. Although I guess a lake or river could work too?

Photo by Allie Smith on Pexels.com

Not A Castle

So many fantasy novels seem to focus on royals and/or the nobility, and like not always wanting medieval Europe sometimes it’s nice to have a fantasy story about an ordinary person living in the fantasy world.

The Afterlife/Underworld

Don’t think I’ve read many books with this as a setting but the idea of it just seems like it would naturally by quite interesting.

A World Where It Is Constantly One Season

For some reason I just love this kind of setting. Maybe it stems from watching ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ a lot while growing up? Or that I really loved ‘The Snow Queen’? Either way this kind of setting just interests me so much, and is possibly one of the reasons I love ACOTAR as much as I do (that and Morrigan).

Photo by Stephan Seeber on Pexels.com

Pirate Ship

I really just haven’t read enough books with this setting. I’m sure there’s loads out there so please recommend some to me in the comments if you know of any good ones. Especially if there’s any with lesbian pirates, then I’ll definitely get around to reading it.

Space

Yes there are hundreds, probably even thousands, of books out there that set in space. I just haven’t read many of them so it’s going on this list as a reminder to myself to read some more. Again if anyone has any suggestions please put them in the comments.

Photo by Miriam Espacio on Pexels.com

Haunted House

Same as pirates and space, I just haven’t read many books with this as a setting although I’m sure there are many out there. If anyone knows any books about space pirates who are being haunted that would be great, thanks.

Genie’s Lamp

I’ve never read a book from the POV of a genie and just think it would be really interesting. And obviously if a book is about a genie I’d imagine some of it would probably take place within their lamp.

Fairyland

I love books about fairies and honestly don’t think I’ll ever get tired of books with this setting. Especially with how different it can be depending on the author.

Photo by Tú Nguyễn on Pexels.com

Thanks for reading and let me know what settings you’d like to see more of in the comments.

Weekly Posts · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@TakingOnAWorldofWords and was formerly hosted by MizB@ADailyRhythm. Just answer the three question. It’s open to anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answer. It’s a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments of Sam’s blog.

The Three Rs are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

I’ve heard so many good things about this book so I just knew I had to read it. Am less than halfway through at the moment but really loving it so far. Hoping it stays just as good or gets even better.

Recently Finished Reading

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve finally gotten around to reading the Throne of Glass, after it being on my tbr for years. I’m yet to read a Sarah J. Maas book that I’ve rated less that four stars and that remains true here.

Reading Next

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh and The Head, the Eye & the Heart by Zoe Marriott

Hoping to read both of these before YALC on 26th July as both of these authors are speaking on the panel about YA retellings which I’m massively looking forward to.

Thank you for reading and let me know your current reads in the comments.

Isobel

Lists

10 Upcoming Releases I’m Excited For

The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh | Goodreads
Publication: 8th October 2019

Synopsis: ‘In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine becomes enamored with the vibrant city, from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt, along with the shame of her own horrible secret. ‘

I’m currently reading Ahdieh’s ‘The Wrath & The Dawn’ and I am enjoying it so far. I’m really excited to see what she does with a vampire story, especially one that sounds fairly original. Also please can we bring back the vampire YA craze? I kinda miss it.

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood | Goodreads
Publication Date: 10th September 2019

Synopsis: ‘When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death.  With The Testaments, the wait is over.  Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. “Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” —Margaret Atwood’

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is one of my all-time favourite books so I’m super excited for this book. I have so many questions and hoping at least some of them get answered. Also really liking the idea of three narrators as opposed to just the one, like in the original story.

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | Goodreads
Publication Date: 8th October 2019

Synopsis: ‘Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.’

I haven’t actually read any of Bardugo’s books yet (although all of them are on my tbr) but I’ve heard such good things about her writing that I’m looking forward to this release anyway.

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The Lady Rogue by Jean Bennet | Goodreads
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019

Synopsis: ‘ Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul. Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.’

Haven’t really heard much about this writer, but ‘The Lady Rogue’ just sounds so interesting so it’s automatically going my tbr for this Autumn.

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The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black | Goodreads
Publication Date: 19th November 2019

Synopsis: ‘Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.  Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril. Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.  And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity… ‘

Is there anyone who isn’t looking forward to this release? I need to know what happens next and how this story ends. And who doesn’t love a good enemies to lovers to enemies to ??? story?

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Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare | Goodreads
Publication Date: 3rd March 2020

Synopsis: ‘Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague. James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love. ‘

Really looking forward to see what happens next to Will, Tessa and Jem, and what happens with the next generation. Although I am super behind with the Shadowhunters books so part of me is somewhat happy that the publication date’s been pushed back as I’ll have longer to catch up.

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The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave | Goodreads
Publicaton Date: 19th September 2019

Synopsis: ‘They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin. On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate… ‘

Vampires? Feminist re-imagining of Dracula? Focusing on the brides of Dracula? Yes please.

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House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas | Goodreads Publication Date: 3rd March 2020

Synopsis: ‘Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savouring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City— has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world. Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye—and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case.’

I’m a simple girl, I see Sarah J. Maas, I buy the book. I love her writing so much and I’m so excited to see what she’s going to do with her first adult book (although I do think the ACOTAR books should have been adult to).

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Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin | Goodreads
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019

Synopsis: ‘Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony. The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made. And love makes fools of us all. ‘

The synopsis of this book sounds so interesting, and the majority of early reviews on goodreads are four and five stars so yes, I am extremely excited for this release.

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The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White | Goodreads
Publication Date: 5th November 2019

Synopsis: ‘There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl. Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.  To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live.

I love love love retellings of myths, legends and fairytales so am obviously looking forward to this release. Hopefully it is as good as it sounds.


Thanks for reading, and let me know in the comments what upcoming releases you’re excited for.