A Tapestry Of Treason – Blog Tour


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Synopsis:
Her actions could make history – but at what price?

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV.  Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her.  Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head.

Book Information:
By: Ann O’Brien
Published By: HQ, Imprint of HarperCollins
Publishing Date: 22/08/2019
Format: Hardback [eBook & Audio]
Price: £14.99

 

My Review

I have to admit, I’ve never read a historical fiction book like this before but I have enjoyed watching movie adaptations of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and ‘The Duchess’ < though the latter is a biography instead of a historical fiction novel.

Still, I read the synopsis of this and knew I couldn’t pass it up with my love of history and let’s face it, we always could use a few more books about women that history has swept over. I was delighted to take part in this tour!

The first chapter just drops you in, you’re caught up immediately into the world that Constance of York occupies. There is no mistaking Anne O’Brien’s attempt to immerse you completely into this world. You are transported to 1399/1400s and it is rife with political intrigue.

O’Brien does a great task in not focusing too much on one set of details, in particular, instead, she takes everything into consideration. There is the expectation of women of the time, but also the reality of women in that period. They may not have much power out front but they can still do things their own way. Constance is a woman of ambition and of course that tends to make her not well received by others, viewed as immoral though others around her are forgiven and lauded for treasonous thoughts all because they are men and she’s a woman.

I was slightly daunted by the page count but then O’Brien builds up this quiet intensity, she brilliantly keeps the tension all the way through out. It actually made it hard to put down, there was this feeling of Constance running out of time or rather that she was always on the verge of being in trouble and I was completely on board for that. 500 pages and it kept me on the edge of my seat, to me that’s the sign of a brilliant novel. I adored it and I now adore O’Brien.

Anne O’Brien clearly does her research and brings Constance to life, giving her a voice that would fit in seamlessly as fact rather than the fiction it actually is.

If you’re a fan of history and/or Philippa Gregory books then I highly recommend this five cups of coffee read to you!

[Thank you to HQ for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review as part of the tour]

 

About the Author

 

Sunday Times bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history. Todayshe has sold over 250,000 copies of her books in the UK and lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels about the forgotten women of history.

 

The Rest of the Tour

A Tapestry of Treason Blog Tour (1)

Ed Book Fest Day 3

Hey everyone!

So last night was my final day attending the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I’m now poor and more than that, I hate going around Edinburgh when it’s full-blown festival season.  [Road rage while walking is REAL for August in that city, folks]

Who did I go see?

The lovely Samantha Shannon again

AND

Holly Black!! [I have loved her books since I was like 15, which is half my life guys!]

Kirsty Logan did a great job panelling, asking questions and making sure that they were the sort of questions that could apply to both authors.

Also, I’m pretty sure there’s some conspiracy that makes all authors really super at reading out loud.

[In general, I sound like a really unimpressed chipmunk, so like, obviously my author dreams are out the window, but I digress.]

The authors were asked about how they do their worldbuilding to introduce the readers to their worlds.

Samantha starts us off with the answers, talking about it’s a balance as you have to avoid info-dumping but you still need to give a way for the readers to submerge into the world. There’s also the difference with Fantasy in that a lot of times you don’t need to understand the beginning of it, so as she read the book to her family who did not read a lot of the genre they had so many questions on the first page alone. This part cracked me up as she said they kept interrupting asking who the stranger in the sea was, why was he in the sea, and so forth. Seriously, my sides hurt from that panel.

Holly agreed on the info-dumping and that you have to try and not bring the story to a halt while explaining things to readers. The plot must go on!

When asked about their writings of female characters in the Fantasy genre, I mean we know that it’s still pretty male-dominated but the women are slowly taking over but Kirsty had them speaking about what it was like, did they make the conscious choice to have their female protagonists or did it come naturally.

Also as they discussed the fantasy genre and talked about the dominating protagonists of it, Kirsty Logan gave us this gem:

Pale, Male, and Stale.”

Such an accurate description of the genre.

Samantha Shannon wrote a book she wanted after watching Lord of the Rings, as we know Arwen is more prevalent and gets to be a badass in the movie versus in the books so when she read the books and was so disappointed, it spurred her to write the book she wanted to read.

Holly, on the other hand, said it was obviously a conscious choice to make female protagonists but it wasn’t one she did for any reasons other than…

I’m a lady, writing about ladies.”

And honestly, that’s fair enough, because that’s why I write female characters in my own hobby writing.

Holly then goes on to say she was about halfway through the book when she realized that the characters were almost all girls when reading The Priory of the Orange Tree. And her reaction was brilliant haha as was Samantha’s response of,

It’s because I tricked you by adding some men.”

They talk veered toward their discussion of characters, we went into the ‘strong female’ archetype and dissection of it with Samantha while Holly said she loved characters who make mistakes but of course for women characters, as they discuss ‘strong female character,’

Women [are] often punished for making mistakes.”

And it’s true, many times male characters do not face the same scrutiny and backlash that women characters do.

I won’t give you a rundown of everything but suffice to say we also covered retellings, their purposes depending on their reason of writing the retelling and their story origin ideas and processes. This includes writing a standalone compared to writing series books and diversity in characters.

And I think I’ll leave you all with these thoughts and end it here, for now, I will go into a post of my own about ‘strong female characters’ and diversity of characters and worlds another time built off this discussion!

Here are some pics of the books I had signed!

I was SO excited to have Holly Black sign these, and I LOVED that she was happy to see these editions and even complimented me on my upkeep of them despite having moved about 14x with them.

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This was my second time getting a book signed by Samantha Shannon so I brought along my charity shop find of The Bone Season and talked with her a little, mostly telling her I already had Priory signed and I accidentally dropped it on my foot and almost died. I wanted to be way more …normal while talking to her but it was like 10:15PM, I was barely coherent.

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Content/Trigger Warnings

This really isn’t a post to rant or to discuss if they’re needed or not.

I’m not here to stir the pot as they say.

I just want to say that I think it’s ludicrous to even argue about it.

Have you ever picked up a movie?

What does a movie typically have on its cover? Rating, right? PG, 15, all that, and what happens when it has those ratings above G?

They tell you why you should consider letting a person younger than the rating watch it, but also, does it not tell you if you’re going to encounter drugs, violence, sexual content? Especially if it’s a 15?

I have a point, I promise.

So we have these movie ratings, and I’m not saying books need to be rated but it’s almost like the ratings are used as warnings. Not for triggers, but, it can help those looking for a trigger warning, and it’s definitely a content warning. ‘Hey, this movie’s gonna have someone doing crack out of a hooker’s butt crack, think about that before letting your ten year old or yourself watch it’ [Wolf of Wall Street, btw, I’m not just making shit up as I go…this time]

And what happens if you really want to see a movie and don’t care? You ignore the rating, right? You ignore the warnings of what the film will contain.

So.

What if we put trigger/content warnings on books and then, if you don’t care about them you just….don’t read them? Wouldn’t that be easier than someone stumbling onto something that can be unfortunate for them? I’m not necessarily saying ‘oh thrillers should come with warnings about violence and possible gore’ [Though there’s absolutely nothing wrong in stating that] I’m talking about books that may appeal to YA audiences and ARE meant for YA but hey, there’s going to drug use, or hey this person encounters abuse, all that jazz.

I don’t put content/trigger warnings on all of my reviews but I at least try to be mindful, because it feels rather silly to only think of myself if I’m writing a review on my blog for readers, it’s a bit different in other circumstances, but that’s my PERSONAL choice on other review things, on my blog I am trying to go back and add content/trigger warnings to things I can remember. Why? Because I don’t want to throw someone through a loop and hurt them.

Also.

I read a book last night, and I was so enraged that it did not have any sort of warning to the last chapter which just seemed to come from left field that I was sitting there and thinking ‘this, this is a really good example of why trigger warnings are needed.’ Needless to say, if I decide to review that one on my blog, I’ll make sure to warn you all, so that you’re not left feeling gross and in shock, like myself.

Content/Trigger warnings, they aren’t there to ruin books, they’re there to help, just like film ratings and warnings.

I’m not here to yank anyone’s chain, this is just my opinion on the matter.

Please feel free to tell me what you think down below in the comments, but, please, be mindful of others! ❤

Buddha Da Review

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GoodReads:
Anne Marie’s dad, a Glaswegian painter and decorator, has always been game for a laugh. So when he first takes up meditation at the Buddhist Center, no one takes him seriously. But as Jimmy becomes more involved in a search for the spiritual, his beliefs start to come into conflict with the needs of his wife, Liz. Cracks appear in their apparently happy family life, and the ensuing events change the lives of each family member.

My Review

Reading the synopsis I was intrigued by Buddha Da and I felt the need to see what exactly made up this book. Was it a book of spiritual growth? Was it more like the Glaswegian Eat, Pray, Love? Or was I about to find myself learning more about Buddhism than ever before? [And to be frank, it wouldn’t be that hard, my knowledge of it is minimal]

I can happily say it was a little of all of that and completely different than I expected, all rolled into one.

The story swivels from three POVs of the family members, Jimmy our Buddha Da, Liz his wife, and Anne Marie his daughter.  But the POVs do tend to stick more with Liz and Anne Marie.

Jimmy has felt a need to change something in him, and at first, all he thinks is that he is enjoying a bit of meditation, a man notorious for never finishing his projects, no one imagined he would take Buddhism to heart so much more than anything else. However, he’s met by resistance from his wife as he goes deeper into a world she can’t follow, her own journey is on a different path.

This isn’t just a book about the division of a family, and it’s not that Buddhism is the cause of it, it’s how people so often can change and sometimes it’s necessary to make a few mistakes along the way to do so. It’s a coming of age story of Anne Marie, it’s a spiritual journey for Jimmy, and it’s a journey to desires of the heart and mind for Liz.

I really loved this book and it made me quite the sentimentalist while reading it, and I can honestly say I love how the characters all had to find out their own truths without anyone giving them answers. The ending was perfect and I enjoyed reading this so much I knocked it out in a day.

If you’re a fan of books all about personal journeys and don’t have a problem with understanding Glaswegian speak [ 😉 ] then I recommend this book to you!

Four cups of coffee from me! This new paperback edition is stunning as well so doesn’t hurt to have a pretty book inside & out.

Thank you to Canongate Books for sending me a copy to read and review in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

We Hunt The Flame eARC Review

Another review, I know, I know, I promise guys, non-review posts are coming! I just want to get some of these out before the books are out there. [In this case, before it hits UK shelves]

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GoodReads:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Glossary & Pronunciation Guide

 

This book was built upon layers and layers of lush landscapes, history, and culture. This was a work we all needed to help diversify the pool of fantasy, and the writer’s style is strong and enchanting. I found myself really pulled into this world, there was such a darkness in the shadows and in the characters that I loved and I praise them for not being always good or always sure, they were not just morally grey as people so often are but conflicted and constantly striving to do right [or wrong/what they think is right] and that’s important in a YA fantasy. It’s not a quick light read but engrossing and dependent on the reader’s desire or ability to get lost in its words.

I would have rated it five stars but there were times where I felt the pacing was a bit skewered, not necessarily in the plot but within the love interests and their personal journies. That and I do feel like some parts stretched on, but honestly, that could easily be attributed to me being impatient while reading this because I really wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I will be waiting -impatiently of course- for the next book.

I did adore all the characters though and cannot wait to read the next book, their zumra was amazing and there was not one character I disliked in the book, not even the villain. Faizal did a great job creating these characters and such an enriching world.

The worldbuilding as I mentioned earlier was ‘lush’ and that would even be an understatement. There’s such a history and knowledge in her writing that it’s hard to believe these lands don’t actually exist and the journey of the characters is much like every good fantasy, one of adventure and for a noble cause, well in a way a noble cause. There are many trials for them all and bonding in a land that holds more power than anyone could imagine.

We Hunt the Flame switches between the POVs of Zafira and Nasir, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to know more about Kifah. She was by far my favorite character though, I loved them all and Altair was definitely a hoot!

On a whole there was little to no fault in this read for me, I give it four full cups of coffee

Thank you to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for an egalley in exchange for my honest review.

Favorite Fantasy Books: The First Half Of 2019

Hey guys, I meant to post this yesterday. I like alliteration.

Unfortunately, I also like doing absolutely nothing.

Guess which one won out, hahaha….yea I was lazy.

Okay so I decided this was only going to be about books released this year that I’ve read thus far as it’s just over the halfway point so what better time?

Alright, let’s get these down, in no particular order.

 

6. The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston

 


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GoodReads:

Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’s land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs? 

Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans, The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous house and gardens dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. 

It is a classic YA tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.

 

 

5. The Ice House

 


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GoodReads:

WAR DOESN’T END. IT SLEEPS.

Delphine Venner is old, but she remembers everything.

She remembers what it is to be a child of war, she remembers fighting for her life and what the terrifying creatures from another world took from her all those years ago. She remembers the gateway, and those she lost.

And in that other world, beast-filled and brutal, someone waits for her. Hagar, a centuries-old assassin, daily paying a terrible price for her unending youth, is planning one final death: that of her master, the Grand-Duc. A death that will cost her everything. A death that requires Delphine.

Voyaging into this violence and chaos, Delphine must remember who she really is and be ready to fight, before war reawakens. But in the battle to destroy an ageless evil, will both worlds be saved – or will every mortal creature lose everything?

 

 

4. Dark Shores

 

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GoodReads:

High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

 

 

3. Soul of the Sword

 

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GoodReads:

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

 

 

2. Descendant of the Crane

 

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GoodReads:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

 

 

1. Crown of Feathers

 

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GoodReads:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

 

All of these books have enraptured me and while delighting me they’ve also possibly broken my heart. *Glares at Joan He and Nicki Pau Preto in particular*

Two of these are the second books in series, the rest are either first or standalone and anyone of these I would highly recommend to a fantasy lover ❤

My gushing fan-girl squeal filled posts can be found by clicking on the links on the titles of the books.

I’ll have some new Charity Finds for you all tomorrow, and closing in on my second Comparing Notes soon-ish, it’ll be over Stalking Jack the Ripper.

In the meantime….what are some of your fantasy faves of 2019 so far? Anything you recommend?

 

Books VS Their TV Series

Hey guys, decided to do something new again.

I’m going to go through a few Books and their TV adaptations, tell you which one I prefer or if it’s a tie (or neither, who knows, maybe I’ll go crazy with it)/

I’ll do 6 today.

 

1. Good Omens

Verdict: It’s a Tie

Don’t judge me one way or another, they’re both brilliant, damn it.

 

2. The Mortal Instruments

Verdict: Books

I actually do like the TV series, wouldn’t say I love it beyond all anything but let’s face it, Magnus gives me life in that. I still prefer the books at the end of the day though.

 

3.  How To Train Your Dragon [Dreamworks Dragons]

Verdict: TV Series

I haven’t read all the books yet, daughter and I are reading the first, but so far I’ve gotten the idea the characters may be better in the show [and movies too of course but this is about TV todaaaaay]. Not to mention. Astrid.

 

4. Watership Down [LOST]

Verdict: It’s a tie

Okay, hear me out. It’s not noted as an adaptation but it basically is, the directors used Watership Down as a heavy influence and source of inspiration and if you’ve watched the show and read the book, it makes total sense. Despite people hating the last season of LOST, I really enjoyed it, though I would say it definitely deviates from the book after about season 4/5.

 

5. Thirteen Reasons Why

Verdict: Book

I don’t hate the TV series, and in fact, don’t yell at me please, I haven’t read the book but part of the reason for that is because I assumed it was like the TV series until someone told me the differences. I think the TV Series could be something important for YA, I just think that the book is enough…but…hey, sometimes people need the show.

 

 

6.  Game of Thrones

Verdict: TV Series

Reasoning? I love the books, but I am that bitter that the series isn’t finished yet. I mean the author doesn’t owe us anything, but despite the ending to the show [and I still need to watch the final season], I just feel like at least the show has an ending! Not to mention the first couple of seasons are dead ringers for the books, it’s kinda incredible.

 

Alright guys, that’s it for me today, expect six more at some point, eventually, in some future.

What are shows or books you prefer? Any of these you agree or disagree with? Tell me in the comments!

Toodles!