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January 2019 Wrap Up

Posted in Books
on 03/02/2019
The cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo features the actress herself in THAT famous emerald dress.

January was a good month for reading! I got through most January TBR of my and a couple of others too, plus I picked up some sick reads for next month. Tearjerkers take pride of place this month’s wrap up (maybe it’s something about January?) because my gosh did I cry through some of these books. I also found it so hard to pick up a book – I think going back to work after my three weeks off over Christmas ruined me. Anyway, I still did relatively okay this months – eight books means I’m on track for my goal of 100 and I’m going to take some of my own advice to get me through the last of the dark days of winter!

Anyway, enough rambling – let’s jump in to my January Wrap Up!

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you. I also received some of these books for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Book of the Month

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

The cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo features the actress herself in THAT famous emerald dress.

Yes, I’m jumping on the bandwagon, here, but this book is just so good. It it not the type of book I usually read, but I could not put it down and I ended up reading it in one sitting! It made me laugh, cry, and angry – sometimes all at once

Evelyn Hugo is a famous actress who, after a colourful life, has lived in relative silence for many years. Until she wants her story to be told and, to the disappointment of many, she chooses Monique Grant, a relatively unheard freelancer, as the person to write her story. The book follows the journey of her rise to fame, the behind the scenes sadness, and her relationships.

I don’t want to write too much as I’ve got a fuller review coming soon, but this is such a beautiful book – I cannot recommend it enough.

Read

Yes, this girl finally read a book by Victoria Schwab and I’m completely in love. City of Ghosts was my first read of 2019 and I’m v. excited for Tunnel of Bones in September! I’ve got A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious lined up in my February TBR. The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, by Anstey Harris, was an “ooooo, that front cover is v. cute” purchase and, you know what, it turned out to be a bloody good read too!

Michelle Kenney’s Book of Fire and City of Dust were my rollercoaster reads. I think I enjoyed Book of Fire slightly more than the second installment. Everything was new and there was an enemy to sort of lovers trope that will get me every time, whereas that wasn’t so prevalent in the second (for various reasons that would spoil the books if I told you what they were).

One Of Us is Lying kept me guessing up until it was so obvious I felt a little stupid for not spotting the ending. A brilliant read and I finished just before Karen McManus’s next book, Two Can Keep a Secret, came out – keep an eye out for that in my TBR!

The saddest moment of the month had to be not enjoying A Dance of Air and Water. Look, it’s a decent book, but I’ve read it before in a million different ways. And, whilst it is refreshing to see LGBT+ characters within a book, I just think that the author was clumsy with it and missed the mark.

Currently Reading

I was so pumped for Red Snow to come out last month so I decided to do a re-read of the first book in the series, Dark Pines, ahead of the publication of the next installment. Then I got distracted, and work got hectic, and I still haven’t finished it. Fingers crossed I’ll get this and Red Snow done in February as there are some big books on their way that I am dying to get my hands on!

When I first bought The Binding, I’m not going to lie, I bought it for the cover. It is beautiful. And the story was blossoming into something beautiful too. Until it wasn’t. And now I’m fighting to not DNF the book and that is making me so sad.

DNF’d

A beautifully written book, it just wasn't my cup of tea.I warned you in last month’s TBR – this book was massively out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately, that has proven to be it’s downfall.

The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay, is a beautifully written book. Very descriptive and a story that should grip anyone. It just wasn’t the type of book I needed this month. A very sad DNF for me!

 

So, there you have my January Wrap Up! Full reviews of each book will be coming soon, I just need to pull my finger out and get writing! What were your reads of January? Did we read any of the same books?

*Updated to include disclosure at the top of the article. Sorry for any confusion.

The Flower Girls, Alice Clark-Platts

Posted in Books
on 26/01/2019
Yellow and black tend to mean bad, like wasps. Doesn't bode well for the colour scheme of The Flower Girls then, does it?

What happens when you mix the innocence of children with murder? A gripping book full of twists and turns!

Thank you to Bloomsbury for an e-copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. For complete transparency, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn a commission at no extra charge to you.

Yellow and black tend to mean bad, like wasps. Doesn't bode well for the colour scheme of The Flower Girls then, does it?

Title: The Flower Girls

Author: Alice Clark-Platts

Page count: 339

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

What. A. Book.

Seriously, this is one to grab a copy of ASAP. Set in the present day, with flashbacks to life as children, we meet Primrose (now, Hazel) who is on a getaway break over the New Year’s period. All is, relatively, well in the hotel until a child goes missing.

Not a big deal, I hear you say. Sounds like the premise of an interesting murder-mystery, right? Until you find out that Hazel was given her new name because her sister, Laurel, was found guilty of the murder of a child at the age of 10 (Hazel was 8). Yep. Not good.

And so begins the most intriguing and (at times) disturbing rollercoaster ride this book takes you on.

This book gripped me from the very first page.

I absolutely love the way the Clark-Platts has written this book. The different viewpoints and flashbacks give enough to make you think some outcomes are certain, whilst slowly building a case for the final reveal. I remember finishing the book and feeling both delighted with the ending and annoyed that I didn’t spot it – exactly what you want for this type of book.

I also think that the setup is rather unique. Murder committed by young people is often, in books, designed under the trope of “led astray” or “expected due to their upbringing.” Whilst the latter may be true to some extent, it doesn’t feel like the focus throughout the book. That’s an amazing feat for the author to achieve.

I would say that one of the reveals at the end was more obvious and fitted well with the story, but it also worked to draw your mind away from the final few twists that have stuck with me since I read this in November!

Go get this book and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

January 2019 TBR

Posted in Books
on 06/01/2019

I’ve got to be tactical with my TBR’s this year as, for some crazy idea, I’ve set my GoodReads Challenge for 100 books! I’m feeling the regret but considering the amazing books coming out this year I’m slightly hopeful I can at least get close! So, my January TBR looks a little something like this.

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you. I also received some of these books for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A geek, a jock, a criminal, a princess, a murder. Who would you believe?

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

Damn. Those two sentences make this sound epic, right? I’m about a quarter of the way through so far and this is pretty good!

One of the kids in detention runs an anonymous website (xoxo Gossip Girl-style). He dies – not a spoiler, it’s on the back copy! – and each of the main characters are put in the frame after being mentioned in the next update that was being released the following day.

It’s shaping up to be a pretty good whodunnit novel. I currently have NO IDEA who it could be and it’s really annoying me (in a good way!). The characters are fun and whilst it could’ve been tempting for the author to really write this for a younger audience, I’m finding that their issues are really reflective of issues that I recognise having gone through as a teenager – really impressive!

 

A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante

A regal cover for a regal tale. Dark greens and blues let you know that this isn't going to be the happiest of books!Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

This is also shaping up to be a pretty solid fantasy. I’m 9% through this one and, so far, I love it. If you’re a fan of Sarah J. Maas, I think you will too!

Alongside Edmund being palmed off for marriage, someone then attempts to assassinate the woman that he is destined to marry, putting Edmund in a bit of a sticky situation.

I received a copy of this through NetGalley and am finally catching up with my out of date reviews (sorry, Antonia and NineStar Press!). Expect a full review when I’m done!

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

The Book of Fire holds all the secrets - at what cost?

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.

I stumbled across this book by pure accident. I requested City of Dust on Net Galley (see below!) without realising that it was the second part of a trilogy! I’m a quarter of the way through this and it is SO GOOD! 

The domes are built to house survivors after a nuclear war. But not everyone thinks the domes are a good thing. Those who leave the domes have set up their lives in a sort of tree city in a valley that’s only accessible through what is essentially a water slide (except it’s claustrophobic and my worst nightmare). After some of the outsiders are taken back to the dome after a forest raid, the main character, Talia, is on a mission to rescue them.

The book is full of colourful, descriptive writing that just pulls you in to this whole other world. Bonus points that it’s set in Exeter – my parents aren’t too far from there and it’s one of my favourite cities in the UK!

I’m excited to see what the resolution to this book is and where the next book picks up. Speaking of the next book…

City of Dust by Michelle Kenney

The pages are still on fire after Book of Fire so I imagine it doesn't open in a happy place.

The fight is never over. Life in Arafel is no longer safe.

It doesn’t sound like the Book of Fire ends too well, does it?

I don’t want to say too much about this one as I think it would majorly spoil the first book for those of you who have quickly added it to your TBR’s!

What I will say is that City of Dust looks to be following a betrayal, a theft and a potentially deadly conclusion should the wrong hands get hold of the knowledge that has kept Arafel safe.

I’m excited, and I haven’t even finished the first book!

 

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Orange and red flowers adorn the cover of The Far Field.

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him.

This is a little different from the books I usually read. The book follows Shalini as she tries to find closure over the death of her mother. 

Exploring Indian politics, class prejudice and sexuality against a back drop of grief and guilt, this book should be an interesting read.

I’m a bit nervous that it’s a little outside of my comfort zone – although it would be great to find another genre to fall in love with! 

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

There's a ghost human, a ghost cat and Edinburgh on the front cover - things are going well for this book already.

When Cass’s family heads off to Edinburgh, Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift” of entering the world of the spirits. Cass still has a lot to learn about the Veil – and herself. And fast…

Confession time: I haven’t read anything by this absolute Queen, so you bet I asked for mostly all of her books for Christmas. My boyfriend (and favourite person in the world, if you’re reading this) delivered and excuse while I go and devour it.

Yes, I know this is meant for middle grade children, but a ghost book set in Edinburgh? Come on, now! You know that that is a recipe for perfection (and, in theory, shouldn’t be as terrifying as I find all other ghost stories).

 

 

Into the Hollow by Lynn Vroman

The forest Free hides in is presumably the forest you can see on the cover of this book.The hollow was the perfect place to hide. Or so Free’s dad said when they fled California, her five-year-old brother illegally in tow, to hide out in the West Virginia mountains and make some fast cash.

Free’s family seem like they can’t catch a break. Decisions are made in the moment causing her family to fall apart. There’s something about family stories that instantly grabs me and I’m hoping that this book takes me on a journey.

Plus, if the writing is as beautiful as the premise, I think we’ll be on to a winner.

Reviews say that this is an emotional one, so I’ll have the tissues ready.

 

 

Red Snow by Will Dean

Thankfully no blood or red snow on this cover.

TWO BODIES. One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik? TWO COINS. Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition. TWO WEEKS

I’ve already banged on about this book in a previous post so I won’t go on for too long!

I’m hoping to round out the month with a good, gritty murder mystery! Intiguingly, the main character is deaf so it’ll be really interesting to see how that’s written.

This book isn’t out until next week, but if you want to read the first instalment of the series, you can check out Dark Pines before Red Snow is released!

 

 

There you have it! My January TBR. I’m being quite ambitious but, at the time of writing, I’ve already finish One Of Us is Lying – hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a few more books before I go back to work on the 7th!

What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to hear my thoughts on these books!

My Most Anticipated 2019 Book Releases

Posted in Books
on 01/01/2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s 2019 and I am ready.

2018 was tough. Work was manic and, in my infinite wisdom, I thought that starting up this bad boy would be a great idea in amongst the chaos of life. That went well…

Don’t you worry though, I’ve not been resting on my laurels. I’ve been reading behind the scenes and you better believe I’ve got a ton of content ready to come your way! One of my goals for 2019 is to always have at least one post scheduled – right now, that thought is quite terrifying!

Anyway, as it’s the first day of the year, here’s a snapshot into the books I’m most excited for this year! These books mostly come out in the first half of the year, so I think I’ll have to do quite a few of these posts throughout 2019!

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree

Expected release date : 26 February 

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens. The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. 

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Yes, I too am on the hype train for this book! I was lucky to receive a copy of the first few chapters (thank you, Bloomsbury!) and, let me tell you, I was gutted when I couldn’t read on. I had forgotten how good fantasy was – I can’t get enough of them now!

I’ve got a beautiful edition on the way from Goldsboro Books but, seeing as I’ve booked the day of work to read it, I’ve also preordered the Kindle version so I don’t have to wait!

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Expected release date : 24 January 

Nice and simple – the bright red colour of the cover of The Last is perfect!

BREAKING: Nuclear weapons detonates over Washington

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message. 

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive. Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

Described as Stephen King meets Agatha Christie, I didn’t even need to read the blurb to know that I should be excited for this book! Whilst a murder mystery is good enough for me, I’m hoping to see a bit of influence from the dystopian genre to ramp up the tension!

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Expected release date : 30 April

The cute cartoons on the cover of Hot Dog Girl is simply adorable!

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

*  She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
*  Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
*  Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
*  And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Everyone in the world should be wanting to read this book. I’m wanting teenage angst, those awkward interactions you can only have as a teenager and some good old PG romance to warm my cold, adult heart. And, how cute is the cover?! If April could hurry up, that’d be great.

Also, so not sorry for entering every single Twitter competition to win an ARC of this.

The Ruin of Kings by Jean Lyons

Expected release date : 7 February

More dragons! This time on the cover of The Ruin of Kings.

When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back . . . 

As a bard’s apprentice, Kihrin grew up with tales of legendary deeds. He also steals, desperate to buy a way out of Quur’s slums. Then he raids the wrong house, he’s marked by a demon and life will never be the same again.

Kihrin’s plight brings him to the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of their immoral prince. But far from living the dream, Kihrin’s at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless ambitions. However, escaping his jewelled cage just makes matters worse. Kihrin is horrified to learn he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy. And every side – from gods and demons to dragons and mages – want him as their pawn. Those old stories lied about many things too, especially the myth that the hero always wins. 

Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.

This book sounds fascinating! Yes, it’s another fantasy but the main character is not a hero, he’s an anti-hero who has to destroy everything. How will this book end? I have no idea. Part of me hopes everything gets destroyed but imagine if he doesn’t and then we get all the internal conflict on paper… Dreamy whatever the outcome.

The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Expected release date : 2 May

Yes, another dragon. I think 2019 already has a theme…

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance…

I think The Poppy War was my favourite book of 2018. It whisked me off into a whole other world – I devoured it over two days (whilst also being in work 8am-4pm!). So, it’s no surprise that The Dragon Republic is on this list! Rin is the perfect main character, balanced perfectly by the friends around her. I’m most looking forward to more details of the various places Rin visits – the descriptive writing in this series is just phenomenal!

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

Expected release date : 21 February

Will I get nightmares? The Taking of Annie Thorne sounds absolutely terrifying. Give. It. To. Me.

Then . . .

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. Though she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

But something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. 
I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. 
She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

Now . . .

The email arrived in my inbox nearly two months ago.
I almost deleted it straight away – but I clicked Open:

I know what happened to your sister. It’s happening again . . .

How creepy does this book sound? I’ve never been one for horror books, but recently I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone! Reviews also say it opens with a murder so the part of me that loves murder mystery books should be satisfied!

Stephen King himself has endorsed this book so I’ll just mark this as a 5 star review now?

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Expected release date : 21 February

Blood Orange with extra blood, I reckon?

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems… 

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. 

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

Red Snow by Will Dean

Expected release date : 10 January

Death. Scandinavia. Sold.

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

This is the sequel to Dark Pines which is nearing the top of my reading list! I love Scandi murder books – there’s just something about the atmosphere that authors create that makes them even more horrific than ones set in London. Maybe living near London is the problem?

I’m intrigued to see how Dean writes the main character. I don’t think I’ve read a book where the main character is deaf so that should be really interesting!

And there you have it – my most anticipated reads of 2019! As I’m typing this, more and more books are coming to my mind so there will definitely be a part two (and three, and four, and maybe even 5!). I’m grateful that a majority of these books I am receiving as part of my Christmas presents!

Have you got any gems on preorder? Let me know in the comments! xox

This image is for use on Pinterest.