09 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #53

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Couples We Ship.

It's been a very busy week this week, with blog tours and giveaways, and I didn't think I'd be able to come up with ten on my own, so I asked my little librarian friend Steph to help and come up with five of her own. It turns out that we both ship too many couples and easily came up with a list of ten each!

Cora's List

Steph's List

07 February 2016

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull

In the 18th century, Dawnay Price is an anomaly. An educated foundling, a woman of science in a time when such things are unheard-of, she overcomes her origins to become a natural philosopher.

Against the conventions of the day, and to the alarm of her male contemporaries, she sets sail to Portugal to develop her theories. There she makes some startling discoveries - not only in an ancient cave whose secrets hint at a

previously undiscovered civilisation, but also in her own heart. The siren call of science is powerful, but as war approaches she finds herself pulled in another direction by feelings she cannot control.

5 Words: Circumstance, science, religion, discovery, adversity.

This was an excellent read that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy - and probably not for the reasons you'd think. Especially since there are plenty of heartbreaking scenes.

I loved Dawnay. She's just incredible, with a voracious mind and a fierce will and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants - even if that means questioning her own morals and beliefs. She is a rather straight-forward thinker and not the most emotional of people, so she does inadvertently hurt those around her. Despite that, I couldn't help but love her inquisitive self.

At the beginning I was a little thrown by the narration style. It did't quite sit right until a few chapters in when it all suddenly made sense. This is a very classically styled novel, and Dawnay's journey is incredible. She's quite a cynical thinker, and I loved how this came across in the narration.

My favourite part of this whole story was probably the caves. Out of everything, I thought that this was the most important catalyst to the story, the one thing that pushed the story in a different direction. They were brilliantly described, I could picture them perfectly and was just as infatuated as Dawnay.

I had hoped that there wouldn't be a romantic theme to this story, and despite an affair as controversial as the protagonist, it didn't steal from the wonder of the main story. And it made sense too, for the tensions to come to a romantic head.

This is a fantastic story about a fierce and independent young woman in a world where such a person just does not have a place in society. And it's amazing. It's challenging and I thought it was quite relevant even for today's world, hundreds of years later.


This is a UK only giveaway to win a copy of Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull, enter using the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

05 February 2016

Book Beginnings #17

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The red haired girl was the bravest.

Another book that gives nothing away with the first paragraph! Perhaps it's a theme with historical fiction? I am just starting this, but when I heard about it I jumped at the chance to read it. It sounds so exciting. And the cover is beautiful (and I'm a magpie who likes pretty things)

From the blurb, it sounds like it's going to be a bit of an Irish Mulan-type story that escalates into espionage, with a dash of forbidden love and lots and lots of danger. It sounds so exciting!

03 February 2016

Blog Tour Review: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly... she's apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers - and, to her dismay, by Blake - the school's notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle's wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers over the elements. But the comet has another effect--it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it's up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town... and possibly the world.

5 Words: Witches, elements, friendship, teamwork, family.

After a slightly shaky start, this book really picked up.

At first, I didn't really like Nicole. As wonderful as she was supposed to be, she came across as quite nasty. I couldn't click with her, I rolled my eyes a lot. I just wished she could have been a little nicer, taken the high road. It would have made me like her a little more likeable.

So it's a good thing I enjoyed the story itself. Once I got into it, I found that I couldn't put it down. I loved the pace and how it kept building and building.

If you've ever read my reviews of similar Greek-Myth-God inspired stories then you'll know that they usually don't gel well with me. But this one? I loved it. There was a logic behind it all, it made sense. I could almost believe it. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes and I am taking part in the blog tour.

01 February 2016

YA Shot Read-A-Long Review: All of the Above by James Dawson

When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in.

Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who's the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the 'alternative' kids take Toria under their wing.

And that's when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band - and it's instalove at first sight!

Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there's Polly...love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles. 

5 Words: Friends, family, love, school, discovery.

Oh man. That was amazing.

This is the book that I wish I had read ten years ago.

This book is the most honest portrayal of being a teen I have ever read. It was like reading my own teenage years, only we had cider and perry, not fizzy dessert wine. And we didn't have a crazy-golf course to hang around on, instead we had a den in the woods. But still.

All of the Above is absolutely fantastic. It will make you smile and cry and laugh and just stare into space, thinking. This book called to my soul.

It felt like the author had a "diverse book" checklist, ticked everything off, ripped it into millions of pieces and let them float away on the wind... Then did his own thing. And the result is breath-taking and real and utterly sublime. I recognised a little of myself in many of the characters, and I fell a little bit in love with all of them. So when my heart was broken, it was completely shattered.

Also, Polly all the way.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.

February's Book

Throughout February, we're reading Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve.

In the remote country of Angle Tar, apprentice hedge-witch Vela Rue has had strange dreams all her life: mysterious and incredibly real. Then she learns that her dreams mean something more - and that her government will do anything to nurture her talent.

Embarking on her clandestine training, she meets the enigmatic White, who has been forced to flee his own unforgiving country to the safer realm of Angle Tar. White is seen as a prodigy - perhaps even the ultimate weapon the government have been waiting for.

But the electric attraction between Rue and White may spell disaster... or change everything.

Join the Read-A-Long!

If you're not interested in this book, or if you've already read it and don't fancy a a re-read, still check the group out. There are monthly read-a-longs and buddy-reads and UKYA discussions and it's lots of fun. And closer to the YA Shot event you'll find author interviews and Q&As and features and all sorts of other fun goodies.

31 January 2016

Blog Tour Review: Between Shadows by Chanel Cleeton

X lives by three rules: Show no weakness. Trust no one. Don’t get caught. She lives by the rules they gave her. 

The Academy—set in London, shrouded in secrecy—it trains spies, computer experts, and assassins. Their mission? Dispensing justice and altering the course of world politics. Or so they think. In a world where secrets are weapons and some kills are impossible to forget, everything X thought she knew about her life is about to change. 

They taught her to fight. To blend into the shadows like a ghost, to operate on the fringes of society, to change her identity with ease. They taught her to kill. 

She’ll need every skill they taught her, to stay alive.

5 Words: Assassin, family, fight, shadows, love.

This book is amazing.

I wasn't such a fan of the Capital Confessions series - I can only take so much politics, and it's not much - but with this book Chanel Cleeton is back on track.

I loved the pace, how right from the start there was action and intrigue. I loved how there was this secret place where assassins, assets, were trained from childhood in their deadly craft. The way it was written was so believable, it rang true. It could exist.

X was my favourite character. I loved how conflicted she was, how even she didn't know what to think or believe or feel. It added this whole extra depth to her. One the one hand, she's this ruthless, kick ass assassin, trained to kill in cold blood. And then on the other hand she's this loving sister, only looking out for her sibling and willing to do anything for her.

I loved the twist, it completely changed my perception of a few characters.

Ally Carter for grown ups!

I received a copy of this for free from the author for review purposes.

29 January 2016

Book Beginnings #16

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull.

I think I had a brother once.

So, the first line/paragraph doesn't give much away. But it is certainly intriguing! I am taking part in the blog tour for this next week, so it's time to get reading. The premise is so fascinating, an orphan in the 18th Century who dreams of being a scientist? All at once it sounds uplifting and devastating, and I can't wait.