20 September 2018

Book Review: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

I have missed this world so much, so when I saw Impostors sitting on the display table in my local Waterstones I pounced on it and then gushed about the whole Uglies universe to the bookseller for a good ten minutes as I paid. Because Uglies is one of my favourite series and I'm so excited that it's continuing.

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld coverAdd to Goodreads button
Frey and Rafi are inseparable... Two edges of the same knife. But Frey's very existence is a secret.

Frey is Rafi's twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.

When her father sends Frey in Rafi's place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor-as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth and if she can risk becoming her own person?

With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies-a world full of twist and turns, rebellion and intrigue, where any wrong step could be Frey's last.


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Family, power, control, betrayal, revenge.

When I heard about this book I was so excited - I loved the Uglies books growing up. I loved the twisted world, the acerbic take-down of societal conceptions of beauty. And now I'm back in the same world watching a similar take-down of the people in power. and it's excellent.

I loved the changes in the characters, how the Frey from the first page isn't the Frey from the last page, how the truth about Rafia is slowly revealed. I loved that there was so little trust and so much hope, so much pretending.

There is a bit of romance in the story, but it's not front and centre. To be honest I could very easily ignore it. It felt a bit convenient, and with the relationship between the particular characters it often felt more like an emotional outlet and a bit of mutual attraction than anything serious.

The ending is spectacular. This book is a bit of a thrill to read, packed with action and battle scenes, the hard reality of Frey's life is there on the page and explored in her every action. But that ending left me desperate for more.

Impostors may be the fifth book in the Uglies world, but you don't need to have read any of the other books first as this is set in a future timeline and generally deals with different characters and cities.

Have you read any of the Uglies books?
What's your favourite fictional power struggle?


18 September 2018

Books On My Autumn 2018 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

Top Ten Tuesday
This week is Top Ten 
Books On My Autumn 2018 TBR
I am a huge rereader and save some books especially for rereading in autumn. But I also read new books and some of these are autumn releases which I can't wait for, others are ones I'd like to finally get around to. Click on the title to go to Goodreads!

    What's on your TBR this autumn?

    17 September 2018

    September Primark Haul 2018

    At least once a week I'll browse through Primark's website looking at the New Arrivals and fantasy shopping in my head. I even sometimes do imaginary Primark Hauls for fictional characters, which I 10/10 recommend for fun. I thought it was finally time to do my very own haul so here we go!

    September 2018 Primark Haul

    It's getting to the time of year where all I want is comfort. I want snuggly jumpers and socks, soft slippers, a bit of a pamper. And Primark is where I find it, so I was super excited to head in to town on Saturday and stock up on the good stuff. I go in around once a month to have a mooch around, as it's always busy and I'm not a fan of crowds - I have to bug myself up for it.


    Scatter Shoulder Jumper £13.00
    Luxury Chenille Socks £2.50
    Princess Face Mask £3.00
    Twilight One Coat Nail Polish £0.90
    Sloth Life Mule Slippers £4.00

    Here's my haul in total!

    I spent ages going through racks to find the jumper in my size, but I was not going to leave without it. It's pale blue, super soft, and has gorgeous details across the shoulders and arms. It's so comfortable that I kind of can't wait for the colder weather, as this will definitely become a wardrobe staple.


    I couldn't resist these luxury socks. The pack contains two pairs, this lovely pink which reminds me of the sunset, and a beautiful pale blue that reminds me of rain clouds in the distance. I think they're perfect for autumn under my boots.


    With all of the wind and rain over the past couple weeks, my face in in some serious need of some TLC. In store they had four different Disney Princess face masks, but I settled on this Jewel Of The Sea face mask. It's a sheet mask with green tea that promises to refresh and revitalise skin.

    I also picked up this dark grey one coat nail polish, in the colour Twilight. I'm always really impressed by Primark nail polish, especially as it's so cheap, and this colour is really calling to my current mood.


    Aren't these slippers adorable? I really relate to sloths, and love taking things slow and taking naps. The slippers are pale grey and super soft, with a memory foam sole. Perfect for slipping on after work.

    Do you shop in Primark?
    What's top of your September shopping list?

    14 September 2018

    Five Things I Can't Wait To Do In Autumn

    Everything is just a little bit more dramatic in Autumn, and I find it so inspiring. I love to wrap up warm and go outside, see the colour and smell turning fruit and rotting leaves. It sounds gross but it's one of my favourite smells, I love the earthiness of it. I like the damp air curling my baby hairs, the wind chapping my lips, the rain beating my skin - it's all an excuse for an extra pamper.

    And when the first morning frost hits I wake up extra early so I can walk the long way to work and crunch the grass and the leaves, and really feel the benefit of the warmth of my morning cup of tea.

    And in the evening I love flickering candlelight, hot chocolate and malt before bed, second day soup with a chunk of crusty bread. New cosy pyjamas and and extra blanket, Melomel (fruited honey) mead warming my throat.

    Autumn To Do List

    Autumn To Do List

    Picnics

    Picnics are usually reserved for Summer but I actually don't like picnics in the sun! In autumn you wrap up warm and cosy, pack a flask of hot water for tea, a flask of soup, pastry goodies galore. As a bonus the air is crisp and clear and smells amazing, there are less people (introverts, rejoice!) and there are less bugs.

    Rereading Favourites

    I absolutely love rereading books and I have some that I specifically reread in autumn. I can't wait to fall back in love with the familiar worlds and characters, and find something new in something I dearly love.

    Bingewatching Shows

    It feels like everything starts again in Autumn, and I spend so much time in front of the telly. I love TV shows you can binge-watch! I am particularly looking forward to watching Killing Eve as it starts this weekend on BBC iPlayer, and The Good Place, Grey's Anatomy, and Dynasty in the coming weeks.

    Knitting

    I started knitting last year after my diagnosis and I've been itching to grab my needles again. I just couldn't bring myself to do it when it was so sunny and unbearably hot outside. I have a couple of projects lined up and I'm going to challenge myself to try things other than scarves and snoods.

    Hot Drinks and Cold Days

    I love the feeling of cold hands wrapped around a hot drink, and I love that so many coffee shops do season ranges. The smell of spices in the air, feeling warm from the very inside, the decadence of the cake. I can't wait to get to Costa and try their Bonfire Latte!


    What do you love most about Autumn?
    What's on your Autumn To Do List?

    11 September 2018

    Ten Hidden Gems

    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

    Top Ten Tuesday
    This week is Top Ten 
    Hidden Gems
    I'm sticking here to books I've read in the past year that I think didn't get as much hype as they deserve, and all of them I thought we absolutely excellent.

    07 September 2018

    Five Books I Reread In Autumn

    I love to reread books. It's like coming home, putting on your comfiest pyjamas, getting between fresh sheets. You know what you're getting, that it's going to be good, and I find that even after 20 rereads I still get something new from the book.

    I recently talked about the books I reread the most, but a big part of my rereading is also seasonal. There are some books I savour each Autumn, that I hold off on reading until it's just the right time.

    Five Books I Reread In Autumn

    My Five Autumn Rereads

    1. Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
    2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    3. Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick
    4. Run For Home by Sheila Quigley
    5. The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

    What type of books do you like to read in Autumn?

    06 September 2018

    Book Review: Killer T by Robert Muchamore

    A clever sci-fi exploring society's reaction to evolving techonology, Killer T by Robert Muchamore is addictive and full of action, an just a little bit scary.

    Killer T by Robert Muchamore coverAdd to Goodreads button
    Harry and Charlie are teenagers whose lives are shaped by a society that's shifting around them. He is a lonely Brit in his first term at a Las Vegas high school. She is an unlikely friend, who gets accused of mixing a batch of explosives that blew up a football player.

    The two of them are drawn together at a time when gene editing technology is starting to explode. With a lab in the garage anyone can beat cancer, enhance their brain to pass exams, or tweak a few genes for that year-round tan and perfect beach body. But in the wrong hands, cheap gene editing is the most deadly weapon in history. Killer T is a synthetic virus with a ninety per-cent mortality rate, and the terrorists who created it want a billion dollars before they'll release a vaccine.

    Terrifying. Romantic. Huge in scope. A story for our times.


    Source: Giveaway

    5 Words: Technology, friendship, adversity, survival, society.

    Going in to this I didn't know much. I knew it was sci-fi and involved a killer virus, but I didn't know much more and didn't really have any expectations except "this will be good" because I loved the Cherub books growing up.

    Right from the start I was impressed. I loved Harry's tenacity and drive, how he knew what he wanted to do and was prepared to go far to get there, even if I didn't actually like him. If that even makes sense. And Charlie, oh Charlie. I love Charlie.

    I didn't expect the timeline of the story to be quite as vast as it was, but I felt that it really worked with the pacing of the story, keeping the action front and centre.

    Killer T quite cleverly explored gene modification, how it would impact society, and even how companies would spin it to make money. The story itself acts almost as a commentary of a consumer driven world, a world where people have short attention spans and are driven by the media they consume.

    This book kind of made me want to start stock-piling coffee and tea just in case. There's just such a sense of urgency, as though this could actually be right around the corner.

    05 September 2018

    Blog Tour: Two Dark Reigns Playlist

    I am thrilled to be sharing a playlist from the author themselves! Some of these tracks relate to certain characters (can you guess who?) and some are just have the right vibe for the boos.

    The Tracklist

    Breath of Life
    Florence + The Machine

    you should see me in a crown
    Billie Eilish

    Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)
    AWOLNATION

    Look What You Made Me Do
    Taylor Swift

    Shake It Out
    Florence + The Machine

    Every Single Night
    Fiona Apple






    Do you listen to music while you read?

    Have you read any of the Three Dark Crowns books?

    Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake coverAdd to Goodreads
    One Crowned, Two Exiled, A Revolution Rising.

    The battle has been fought, blood has been spilt and a queen has been crowned, but not all are happy with the outcome.

    Katharine, the poisoner queen, has been crowned and is trying to ignore the whispers that call her illegitimate, undead, cursed.

    Mirabella and Arsinoe have escaped the island of Fennbirn, but how long before the island calls them back?

    Jules is returning to Fennbirn and has become the unlikely figurehead of a revolution threatening to topple Katharine's already unsteady rule.

    But what good is a revolution if something is wrong with the island itself?

    Kendare Blake's Two Dark Reigns is the heart-stopping third book in the bestselling Three Dark Crowns series. Discover more about Fennbirn and the three queens in the thrilling start to the quartet, Three Dark Crowns, and its sequel One Dark Throne.

    04 September 2018

    Ten Binge-worthy TV Shows

    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

    Top Ten Tuesday
    This week is Top Ten 
    Bingeworthy TV Shows
    I love watching TV shows, and this is something I've touched upon previously when I talked about the five TV shows I can watch on repeat. Of course they feature in this list too, but with five others to accompany them.
    • Empresses In The Palace
      I absolutely love Empresses in the Palace and I pretty much watch the Netflix edit on repeat. It's six episodes, each an hour and a half, and I rewatch it almost every week. Political intrigue,  murder, feminism, murder, power struggles, murder... I love it.
    • iZombie
      I mean, it has Rose McIver so no other reason is really needed. But if you do need some then it's full of dark humour, pop references, murder, and feminism.
    • Reign
      I'll be honest, it's trash and so far from historically accurate that it's basically fantasy. But also I am Frary trash. And there is political intrigue and power struggles and feminism and murder... So it's 100% me.
    • Nashville
      I am a sucker for country music and power struggles and feminism and oh shoot there I go again. I love Nashville and although it started going a bit downhill at one point, the last season from CMT really pulled it back and was excellent.
    • A Touch of Cloth
      This is a parody of every crime procedural you've ever read, and I love the detail that goes into it. I've seen it so many times that I can quote it and now when I watch it I'm scanning the background for puns and funny signs.
    • Dynasty
      I was fangirling about Nashville with Amy at Golden Books Girl and she recommended that i try Dynasty and oh man, it's excellent. It has that same feminist power-struggle at its core, with added family drama and cheesiness, and it just makes me feel so happy.
    • Vikings
      Oh, hey there feminism and power struggles and murder. What can I say, I have a type. I am trash for Katheryn Winnick, and I love how brutal this series is.
    • Whitechapel
      Maybe not the fourth (and final) series, but Whitechapel has everything I love in a crime drama. It's dark, it's unreliable, and it has the faintest hint of surrealism.
    • How To Get Away With Murder
      I only started watching this three weeks ago, but now I'm all caught up and ready for season five in 24 days. Yes, I'm counting. Obviously it has murder, look at the title, but Annalise and Laurel and Michaela are just so kick ass.
    • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
      It just makes me laugh so much. When I need a quick laugh I put an episode on and accidentally watch a whole series.
    Going to do a special shout-out to the shows I'm currently binging too. I have just started The 100 and I am addicted and completely in love with Octavia. I am continuing with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals after taking a break for a couple years, and now I'm wondering why I stopped watching them at all!

      Have you seen any of these?
      What do you love to binge watch?

      03 September 2018

      Guestpost: How I Started Writing by Faith Bleasdale

      Today I have a fantastic guestport from Faith Bleasdale, author of Secrets at Meadowbrook Manor, talking about how they starting writing. I reviewed A Year at Meadowbrook Manor by Faith Bleasdale earlier this year.

      How I Started Writing by Faith Bleasdale

      I hate to reveal my age, but I started writing in my twenties, and now twenty years later - and a few hiccups I am about to publish my twelfth fiction book - SECRETS AT MEADOWBROOK MANOR. So it seemed like a good time for reflection, to go back and look at how it all began.

      I loved books as a child, I read and read and read. It would be my escape, Enid Blyton was my alternate universe. And when I started school, I discovered a love of writing stories. As my school years progressed and I found that I was pretty terrible at maths and science I would take comfort in my English lessons, handing in stories which were far too long, making my poor English teacher work overtime on marking. To his credit he never stopped me and always encouraged me.

      As a teenager I didn’t write as much, and when I went to Bristol Uni to study History, having fun seemed to be my priority. It was more wine than writing.

      Fast forward to my power dressing years. I moved to London after graduation with the big idea of being a career woman. The problem was that I didn’t know what career I wanted. I tried a few - sales, marketing, advertising and even investment banking. By my early twenties I had a left a trail of destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get fired, often, but I did leave a fair few jobs just before they fired me.

      I despaired over my lack of success, as my friends climbed the career ladder I was sliding down the career snakes. I had to re-evaluate my life.

      Writing. It came back to that. The one thing I was passionate about, the only thing in fact. But being passionate and actually writing a book are two different things. So I took a low stress temping job and started to create my first work of fiction. It took a fair few attempts but after a while I had a completed novel.

      Of course in hindsight that was almost the easy bit. As I sent my shiny novel out to agents and received a huge pile of rejection letters I cried so many times, doubted myself, then got myself a thicker skin and kept going.

      I am a believer in persistence paying off. Eventually I did get an agent, and after more rejection a real life publishing deal. The feeling of getting my first book deal was indescribable and what I knew clearly, was that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

      Twenty fears later, lots of ups and downs, I have stayed with it. The only job that I haven’t quit, the only one I know I’ll never quit. It hasn’t been plain sailing, but I can say, hand on heart that I feel lucky every day to be able to do what I do.

      Secrets at Meadowbrook Manor Blog Tour Banner

      02 September 2018

      Blog Tour: Cold Iron by Miles Cameron

      Cold Iron by Miles Cameron is perfect for fantasy fans. It spins well-done tropes in new way, in a richly written Medieval-ish world that is packed with political intrigue.

      Cold Iron by Miles Cameron coverAdd to Goodreads button
      Aranthur is a student. He showed a little magical talent, is studying at the local academy, and is nothing particularly special. Others are smarter. Others are more talented. Others are quicker to pick up techniques. But none of them are with him when he breaks his journey home for the holidays in an inn. None of them step in to help when a young woman is thrown off a passing stage coach into the deep snow at the side of the road. And none of them are drawn into a fight to protect her.

      One of the others might have realised she was manipulating him all along...

      A powerful story about beginnings, coming of age, and the way choosing to take one step towards violence can lead to a slippery and dangerous slope, this is an accomplished fantasy series driven by strong characters and fast-paced action.


      Source: Blog Tour

      5 Words: Fantasy, control, politics, survival, adventure.

      Cold Iron takes some pretty typical fantasy tropes and spins them fantastically. What I did like about this was that it completely disregarded the usual Chosen One trope and Aranthur just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and had to deal with it. Despite being pretty full of tropes (and they're that for a reason) Cold Iron didn't feel like something I'd read before. The take on them was rather dynamic and different.

      I loved how political this story was. I love books that delve into the intrigue of politics, especially in a fantasy setting, and Cold Iron did this excellently.

      The world is rich and vivid. I could smell the smoke, hear the breeze, see the country before me. The world-building was fantastic, and added in with the politics affecting every aspect it made it all the more real and engaging. There was class system just like in the real world, and I loved the parallels.

      I did struggle a little pacing myself while reading this - but that's because I tend to read in 5-chapter bursts and this book doesn't have chapters. It was actually pretty fast paced, with a lot of action.

      This ended really well. There were enough issues left open to need more of the story, but all loose ends were tied up enough that there's no immediate need for the next book.