I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for Someday in Paris by Olivia Lara. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour, and to NetGalley and the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: Someday in Paris Publisher: Aria Release Date: 14 May 2020 Genre: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction Panda Rating:
Finding the one is only the beginning…
1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. Both know their lives will never be the same.
1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. After dreaming about him for years, Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – yet the way they feel is so familiar…
Over the course of twenty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?
I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for this gem of a debut: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Goodreads: His Only Wife Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Date: 01 September 2020 Genre: Contemporary Fiction, African Literature Panda Rating:
Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.
A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world.
Hey, hey friends! I’m so excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for The Ship of Shadows. This was such a fun and fast-paced read and I’m so glad this was put on my radar because of this tour 😍 Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour over here.
Super big thanks to Dave for organising these tours and to NetGalley and Puffin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Let’s get to it…
Goodreads: The Ship of Shadows Publisher: Puffin Books Published: 16 July 2020 Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Panda Rating:
Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.
But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.
Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find
Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.
Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.
All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.
With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.
We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: books about plants/flowers (can be on the cover, in title or plot)!
I’ve only ever read one book that’s about plants specifically and it was a horror novel that left me feeling extremely uncomfortable being around any vine-y plants for quite some time! Thanks to The Ruins for that nightmare!
I think having flowers and leaves on covers has been a big trend in recent years as I’ve seen my fair share of them. I’m admittedly a sucker for these kinds of covers though! They’re eye-catching, bold and colourful but also sometimes just really appealing in their simplicity. That said, I don’t think any of these are actually about plants/flowers, so this is going to be an appreciation post for books on my TBR with plants/flowers on the cover!
We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: books by debut authors!
I’m always surprised by how many debut authors I have on my TBR because I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to that especially if it’s from a different genre than I normally read. For this list though I decided to keep it simple for myself and focus on the books being released by debut authors in 2020. I’m pretty sure that all of these are by debut authors but sorry if I get anything wrong!
Goodreads: Sadie Genre: Young Adult Thriller, Mystery, Audiobook Panda Rating:
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
I’m really surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this story. I had seen very mixed reviews and the more people said they were disappointed by it, the more I hesitated to read it, but I started it on a whim and I certainly don’t regret the decision! Sadie is a young adult mystery/crime thriller told through an interesting format: a mix of podcast and first person POV. It delves into pretty dark topics including child abuse (off page) and drug/alcohol abuse and addiction. It’s not a happy story by any means and there isn’t much of a happy ending (though tbh, I’m still a little salty about that ending!), but I think it’s worth the read.
Elle, an accomplished baker, has a recipe for every event in her life. But when she discovers her husband’s infidelity, she doesn’t know what to make of it. Jam, maybe? Definitely jam. Fed up with the stale crumbs of her marriage, Elle revisits past recipes and the events that inspired them. A recipe for scones reminds her of her father’s death, cinnamon rolls signify the problematic courtship with her husband, and a batch of chocolate cookies casts Elle in a less-than-flattering light. Looking back, Elle soon realizes that some ingredients were missing all along. After confronting her husband, Elle indulges her sweet tooth in other ways, including a rebound that just leaves her more confused. As secrets from the past collide with the conflicts of the present, Elle struggles to manage her bakery business and maintain the relationships most important to her. In piecing her life back together, will Elle learn to take the bitter with the sweet?
This is kind of hard for me to review because although I really related to the internal struggles and the experience that Elle went through, I also found her character frustrating, the storyline a bit slow, and I found myself wishing that we got more development in the present.
Gold’s writing flows well and is easy to follow. It’s not overly descriptive but it’s laced with emotions; she really knows how to make readers feel what her characters are going through. I enjoyed the recipes that were laced throughout the story, and they highlighted well the importance of baking to Elle’s character. I really want to try some of the recipes because they sound delectable!
The story was told through Elle’s perspective and the story alternates between the past and present with the affair being the main point of reference (i.e. four months after Elle found out; nine years before Elle found out etc.). I’ve come to realise that I’m not always keen on this style, but I know the author was trying to show how Elle & Tom’s relationship developed through the struggles, successes, good times and bad. Sometimes I felt the flashback chapters dragged a bit so I would find myself skimming pages because nothing happened that significantly contributed to getting a better understanding of the story. I think the hardest part for me to read was the day that Elle found out because it was basically a cut/copy of what happened to me, so naturally I became very emotional.
I think one of the main issues I had was that while I empathised with Elle, I also found her character’s insecurity overwhelmed all other aspects of her character. I found her indecisiveness also very frustrating and it honestly filled me up with a lot of anxiety! I also found that I never really trusted Tom but we also really don’t learn much about his character. I think the story would’ve benefited from including his perspective in it, and to give the story a bit more depth. While I absolutely hate cheating, in the end I found myself feeling a bit… sorry for him? There’s clearly a lack of openness between Tom and Elle that basically led to the break down of their marriage, and I wish that we would’ve seen more acknowledgement on Elle’s part especially, that it takes two to tango because a marriage isn’t a relationship with yourself (and that’s not me placing blame on her character at all)!
Judging from the cover of the novel, you’d think this would be a happy and fluffy story, but it really isn’t and is actually quite emotionally heavy; although the ending does provide a glimmer of hope, maybe, for our characters. While it wasn’t a favorite, I did enjoy Gold’s debut and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!
Have you read The Ingredients of Us? What’d you think of it? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!
His name is Farden. They whisper that he’s dangerous. Dangerous is only the half of it. A spellbook has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell – a very old and extremely powerful spellbook from the time of dark elves and demons. Five scholars are dead, the magick council is running out of time and options, and the Arka is once again on the brink of war with the Siren dragon-riders. It falls to Farden the Written mage to keep the world from falling into chaos. Entangled in a web of lies and politics, Farden must recover the spellbook before an ancient enemy rises, even if it takes journeying halfway across icy Emaneska and back. In his fight for answers, Farden will unearth a secret that not only shakes the foundations of his world, but threaten the entire future of Emaneska. Sorcery, death, drugs and the deepest of betrayals await. Welcome to Emaneska.
Earlier this year, Noly @The Artsy Reader asked me if I wanted to join the biggest ever blog tour organized by Dave @TheWriteReads for the author Ben Galley, and I got so excited because I’ve never participated in one before so of course, I said YES and I’m so glad I did! There were four books to choose from and they all sounded great, but I decided to go with Galley’s debut: The Written. I haven’t read a fantasy yet in 2019, so I wasn’t really sure if I was in the right mood to read this or if I’d enjoy it, but holy wow, I loved this book! This book has everything that makes fantasy fun: adventure, raging asshole bad guys, magic, vampires, werewolves, elves, gods and daemons, mythical creatures, and best of all: DRAGONS. It reminded me of all the reasons why I love fantasy so much and diving back into the fantasy world felt a bit like coming home.
As this is the first book of the Emaneska series, there’s obviously plenty of worldbuilding. I thought Galley did a great job at describing the different regions of Emaneska, the cities/villages, the magick, and the creatures, and I felt myself becoming fully immersed in all the scenes. We also get to learn a bit more of Emaneska’s history through epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter, which I really enjoyed. I did find though that the pace tended to dip a little at times because it could get very descriptive. The story itself was pretty fast paced, especially the last 50% of the book, and a lot happens in a very short amount of time.
You know that moment you think you know who the bad guy is, but then you think that’s too obvious, so then you become suspicious of someone else, and then everything starts playing out how you think it will, but in an even more epic way? That’s what happened with this book. The twists were so good and still shocking, and the fact that my suspicions were proven right didn’t make it less of an enjoyable reveal. There’s also some good humor thrown in the text that had me laughing out loud a few times, so that as a nice surprise I wasn’t expecting!
I was honestly a little ‘meh’ about Farden’s character when he first appears, but the more I read, the more I loved him. He’s kinda the typical fantasy novel hero–big, strong, gruff on the surface but caring deep down, but he’s also got a short fuse, is often reckless, and has a seriously bad and dangerous habit that I was worried would plague his character throughout the book. He’s also a bit of a loner and mostly doesn’t prefer the company of people, which I can relate to, but he has a few close friends who he greatly appreciates and respects. He’s really just a good guy battling his own demons, and the latter half of this book had me really emotional for him. I loved many of the others we’re introduced to in the story–Durnus, Eyrum, Lazy–but I have to say that my favorite were THE DRAGONS (Farfallen and Brightshow especially). The dragons could talk. They were magical, wise, and kind. Overall, they were just very awesome and I wanted to be their friend.
The only thing I can think of that really bothered me when I encountered it while reading were the various typos (once there was a chunk of text that didn’t belong in the middle of a paragraph). Confusing at times, but for the most part okay, I’m just a bit of a stickler for these things!
The Written was a great fast-paced adventure and it excites me that this is just the beginning. I think I’ll continue on with this series right now, as I don’t feel like I’m ready to leave Farden and Emaneska just yet. At least, not before finding out more about what happens next!
About the Author
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
Thanks to Ben Galley for giving me a digital copy of the book as part of this Ultimate Blog Tour!
Special thanks to Dave for the tremendous effort of organizing this tour of 100+ bloggers?! Amazing! 🙌🏽 Be sure to check out the other bloggers who’ve participated in the #UltimateBlogTour coz there are loads of great posts out there! You can find their posts on Twitter @TheWriteReads OnTour. Happy reading, friends!
Last week I missed one of the prompts I was most looking forward to answering for #TopTenTuesday: my most anticipated releases for the latter-half of 2019! I thought I’d still do it though, so it’s more of a “Top Ten Thursday” today. I don’t know about you but there are a lot more than ten books that I’m looking forward to towards the end of the year, so narrowing it down was a bit tough! Although I’ve been a voracious reader for years, I really threw myself into the book community with this blog and my instagram this year, so I’ve been more aware of what books are coming. 2019 definitely feels like an epic book year, and I’m looking forward to wrapping it up on a high bookish note!
Wilder Girls by Rory Power (July 9) Goodreads Synopsis: It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her. It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim (July 9) Goodreads Synopsis: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (August 6) Goodreads Synopsis: Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods. Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with? When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center (August 13) Goodreads Synopsis: Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?
The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood (September 5) Goodreads Synopsis: In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades. 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.
The Ninth House (Ninth House Series #1) by Leigh Bardugo (October 1) Goodreads 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.
The Butterfly Girl (Naomie Cottle #2) by Rene Denfeld (October 1) Goodreads Synopsis: A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life. The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her. As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (October 8) Goodreads Synopsis: No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (October 22) Goodreads Synopsis: Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak. During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good. Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.
The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman (November 5) Goodreads Synopsis: It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver. In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.
What are your most highly anticipated releases for the latter-half of 2019? Any of these on your list? Come let me know in the comments!