Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Winner's Kiss By Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

Marie is a FANTASTIC writer. I remember finishing The Winner's Curse and thinking I wasn't blown away by it, but definitely wanted to pick up the next one because I sensed potential and Marie's writing felt so unique. Book two completely upped the game, everything became more complicated and much more 
gripping. By the end I remember clutching the book like I could somehow stop what was coming. 

The ending to the series is perfect. It gives you everything you as a reader could want. The intricate and complicated relationships are what makes this book so great for me. The plots tension and unpredictability keeps you desperate for more, for what happens next until you find yourself on the last page. 

The plot feels more mature, these characters have grown and been changed by their experiences. They're much different from the characters we met in book one and are better for it. Kestrel and Arin both have such individual voices and are so well written, both having their own flaws and way of doing things that they become real in your mind. I can picture them and understand their thinking.

The mix of romance into the storyline is expertly done, it doesn't overshadow the plot and yet is still such an important part of the book. Its a perfect blend. 

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending my a copy of The Winners Kiss. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Salt to the Sea By Ruta Sepetys

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

Salt to the Sea is heartbreaking. Totally, utterly heartbreaking. But it also fills you with hope. 
At points you will hate humans and what they can do, but at others you'll be reminded of the hopeful wonders strangers can do for each other. 

Salt to the Sea is most definitely Ruta's best novel so far. Her characters felt so real and fleshed out and her writing style is unique and a joy to read. Each character was so individual, each had their own secrets, their own problems and even though you didn't necessarily like them all, you wanted to find out what happened to them. 

Salt to the Sea is so well researched, you learn so much about the times from the book. But the book doesn't feel dense with history facts. Each chapter is usually only a page or so long which causes you to read 'just one more chapter' and boom, you find yourself at the end of the book. 

I did find the beginning a little off-putting because the book has four different points of view and Ruta's chapters are very small. This caused the story to flip quickly from character to character which caused some slight confusion in keeping track and getting to know the characters. But after a few chapters, once you know the characters you completely fall into the story. 

I enjoy books that make me cry, because I know that that story will stay with me forever. I even got choked up talking about it to my dad. I'm so grateful to Ruta for educating me about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, something that I probably never would've heard of without her, but is something the whole world should know about. 
Books like Salt to the Sea and The Book Thief are so hard-hitting because even though you know the characters aren't real people, the characters represent all those people who experienced these times, experienced WWII and what happens to those characters is very much similar to what real people would've gone through. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016



On February 24th I had the amazing AMAZING opportunity to meet and interview the one and only Pierce Brown, author of the Red Rising trilogy. (Thank you so much Hodder- like seriously, I feel like I owe you so much chocolate)

You can watch the interview here:

And you can also watch me quiz/teach Pierce some Scottish/ North-Eastern slang. (He cant say Howay):

It was one of the best days of my life and Pierce is THE nicest guy in the world. Edinburgh is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it was wonderful to spend two days there for my birthday. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Blog Tour Stop- Maria V Snyder- Night Study

I am such a huge fan of Maria V Snyder's books, so I feel very honoured to have my blog as a tour stop. For today's stop Maria has written up 5 points to help with writing a convincing romance within your books. If you've ever read any of Maria's books you'll know the advice will be great because her romances are swoon-worthy. 
After the tips, you can read my review of Night Study, or rather read my gushy ramblings about my love for this book. 

While my novels are primarily fantasy and science fiction, I invariably have romance in all my books.  I can’t help it as I enjoy writing about two characters who eventually fall in love.  Here are a few tips I found helpful in writing a good romance:

11)      Avoid insta-love:  Relationships take time to develop.  Yes, there might be an immediate attraction, but that’s always based on a first impression.  When characters have time to get to know each other and have interacted in various situations, then, when they do fall in love, it’s a natural progression.

22)      It’s a partnership: The best romantic couples have this in common.  They compliment each other—one’s strengths balance the other’s weaknesses and vice versa.  They work together to solve problems and have equal say in decisions.  They respect each other and while one might rescue the other in one situation, it’s equally as likely that their positions will be reversed during another situation.

33)      Nobody is perfect:  Let me repeat this: Nobody is perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes.  They do and say things when angry and upset.  They make poor choices and do stupid things—sometimes for what they think is the right reason. This should not doom them, but show they are human and forgive them.

44)      Tension:  Good romances have lots of tension.  Sexual tension, of course, but also a clash of personality traits.  You’ve heard the old adage: opposites attract and that’s great to keep the sparks flying in relationships and make it interesting for the readers.

55)      Humour:  In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of any relationship.  It shows the lighter side of your couple’s personalities and gives them a break from all that tension. 


Maria V Snyder's books never disappoint. Never. Night Study is no different.
I had high expectations for Night Study and Maria surpassed them all.

Night Study is Maria's 8th book set in the lands of Sitia and Ixia. Does this mean the story's are starting to feel repetitive or dragged out? Not at all. Night Study is filled with as many twists, turns and surprises as her other books, and is written in Maria's addictive writing style.

The romance in Night Study feels so authentic. Valek and Yelena have now been together for many years but their relationship is still so exciting to read. Often in books, the initial chase and tension between a couple grabs the reader but after they get together interest can wane, but Valek and Yelena's relationship is so refreshing and they're still facing so many obstacles together, their latest being a baby. They're addictive to read.

After the events of Night Study it feels like its going to be an excruciating wait for the next book in the series. I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. 

Which blog is up next? Check who is next on the stop and look at where the tour has already stopped: