Swords of Silence – ARC Review

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GoodReads:
Where once new ideas and beliefs were accepted, now the country’s military dictator, the Shogun, is shutting his country down to any outside influences.

Father Joaquim Martinez, who left Portugal to make Hizen Province, Japan, his home, has been tending quietly to the lives of his villagers, but everything is about to be thrown into turmoil, as the Shogun has outlawed Martinez’s beliefs. Those who won’t recant or accept banishment, face a death sentence.

With the threat of a massacre looming, and the Shogun’s samurai closing in, Father Martinez must decide, if he is willing to risk everything, to save those he has sworn to protect.

 

My Review

 

**Thank you to HarperInspire for an ARC copy of this to honestly review**

A historical fiction novel that is an action-packed story of the power of faith and the good of mankind that brings people of different lands and religions together against those who are cruel and oppress.

How often Western History forgets that we were not the only ones with castles and feudal systems, and Curry reminds us that Japan was a land with its own culture and with aspects that were similar to lands across the sea.

This tale follows Father Joaquim Martinez and those he has sworn to lead and protect in every Christian sense and literal sense when it calls for it.

His village or you may see it as his ‘flock,’ has been found out, now the question is, what will Father Martinez do to protect them?

This has excellent pacing, the chapters are perfectly divided out and it makes for a surprisingly quick read because of it. Not only that but there is heart, and struggle, that doesn’t require any religious faith to connect with. A story that is common and known throughout history and cultures. The only difference is, this one is done on an epic Biblical scale and calls forth recollection of the story of Moses.

Father Martinez clearly is impassioned for his cause and his village, and the love and devotion he has to them is admirable.

[You don’t need to know your bible to enjoy this though, and admittedly, I probably know more about Moses from ‘The Prince of Egypt.’ Don’t judge, that’s an excellent movie.]

You don’t see this as a story of ‘simply’ Christianity but rather a story of people trying to choose the way they live their lives, they are beholden to those who own their land, the one they farm and work on and sweat for, only to give these ‘overlords’ their profit of working the land.

Who wouldn’t want something more?

The fight and action scenes were so much fun to read, I loved just how much action there was, and the travelling seemed endless, you held your breath wondering if they would ever be able to stop. [Hopefully, they won’t be wandering for 40 years]

Seriously, there were so many excellent fighting scenes, especially concerning Father Martinez and even Tonia, one of his foreign catechists.

Also, with that sort of ending, I am now very impatiently waiting for book 2.

An inspiring story with a lot of heart and the wish for freedom that everyone can connect to.

As far as favourite characters go, I did love the inspiring Father Joaquim Martinez but I also loved his villagers, but Tonia won my heart.

Four cups of coffee from me, and you can expect this book to hit the shelves on September 19, this year! [2019]

A Superior Spectre – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing
Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.
In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.
A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

Book Information:
By: Angela Meyer
Published by: Saraband Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2019
Price: £8.99
GoodReads

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

Content/Trigger Warnings: [My apologies on slacking on these lately] This has molestation & child molestation, abuse, thoughts of pedophilia, death and brief suicidal thoughts and a rough view of mental illnesses due to institutional care available in the Victorian era.

This is a book that is chilling and haunting in the most unexpected ways. Firstly it’s truly a blend of genres. It is a sci-fi yet also a historical fiction, and at the same time a horror/thriller in its own right. And while this may sound like a mess, it’s done SO well that it doesn’t feel like they’re all jumbled together.

Please bear in mind this is quite a heavy read due to its content but it’s actual length is not.

The two protagonists are completely different and though there’s not much to like about Jeff, it is possible to see why he has dipped into Leonora’s mind repeatedly.

Leonora is certainly the more sympathetic of the two characters, an unwilling host to a man whose thoughts have no place in her mind. She’s a woman who has loved animals and had a curiosity of sciences and anatomy, a woman that like many during her time, were ‘progressive’ in their wants knowledge. Still, she enjoys the simple life she’s had at her Father’s home and though Edinburgh has some interesting aspects, it’s still home she yearns for.

With everything she goes through, you truly want her to be free in every sense of the word, from Jeff, from expectations, from her family’s desires, and it’s her that I cheered for while reading.

The difficult premise though was put in a tasteful manner, because, unfortunately people like Jeff [and people much worse than Jeff] are a reality. I thought his story’s ending was completely fitting for him, and I didn’t hate him, but I certainly had a hard time sympathizing with him. That being said, the choices he made were in attempt to be something different than what he was and that was something to think about.

One of my favorite things Meyer did was to make this a spine tingling read, you felt like there was something always just out of sight, and it’s the sort of tension I like in a ‘scarier’ book.

A great read, but again, a heavy one. I give it four cups of coffee and if you think you can handle the premise, I recommend it, especially with October approaching if you want a spooky read.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review

 

About the Author

 

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Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

 

The Rest of the Tour

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The Necromancer’s Bride – Blog Tour

 

 

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Synopsis:
Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.
A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.
The smart thing would be to let him go.
Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.
Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.
Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.
Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.
When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.
[Note: The Necromancer’s Bride is the sequel to A Bad Breed, which should be read first.]
Book Information:
The Necromancer’s Bride
by Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #4)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling
GoodReads

Where to Buy

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

 

My Review

This is just yet another example of Kat Ross’s perfection.

I’m obviously not biased in anyway, amiright?

But honestly I fell in love with her Gaslamp Gothic series when I had the privilege to read and review Bad Breed with Xpresso Tours earlier this year. This is everything I like in a romance book, where the romance is blended in flawlessly with awesome action scenes, supernatural, and Victorian-era awesomeness.

Not only did I get more of my favorite pair, Anne and Gabriel, I also got to see more of Balthazar who I find myself having a huge soft spot for. Now this is the fourth book in this series but it’s only necessary to read Bad Breed before it, the other two do not have to be read in order/with it. But. I mean, if you want more gothic awesomeness, I say, go ahead and read those first two as well.

The satisfaction I got from Anne and Gabriel’s storyline in this made me ecstatic! I was like jumping for joy while reading this. [Not really, I’m old and can’t jump anymore, but, I do a bit of a happy wriggle of sorts]

I did miss seeing Vivienne but I do understand why there was not a focus or entrance of her in this book other than in reference. It was necessary in a lot of ways and it worked out so well.

Also this may have one of the best epilogues ever, I’m just ‘forewarning’ you.

Anne is on a mission, she wants Gabriel to know her reasons for the choices she made the last time they saw each other. She knows he doesn’t forgive easily but her heart won’t forget easily either and he left his mark on it. She also acknowledges that there is something more of a ‘beast’ in her than she’d like to admit, and Gabriel is the only one she can share this information with.

While though she pursues Gabriel, he has a score to settle and not even love can deter him. This also leads to an unlikely if not temporary alliance.

What does this mean for our lovers? What becomes of them? Could it perhaps be hinted out in the title? Who knows! Find out next week on-

Okay just kidding on the find out next week, but honestly there’s so much in this novel, it’s packed with so much to enjoy.

Five huge cups of coffee from me, I think I will just go read this again now.

 

 

About the Author

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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

 

GIVEAWAY

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Rafflecopter link. This giveaway is INTL and you have a chance to win a signed copy of Bad Breed or one of 10 ecopies of it.

BadBreed

 

The Rest of the Tour

Click on the picture below to be taken to the rest of the tour’s schedule!

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Tour Host:

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Thanks to Xpresso Book tours and the pub/author for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

 

Meet Me in Monaco – Blog Tour

 

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GoodReads:
Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

 

My Review

If you think I’ve been on a historical fiction binge lately, you’re right. I have.

But, guys. There have been so many good ones these past couple of months! And this one is no exception to that! I ADORED it!!!

It’s a love story wrapped up in Grace Kelly’s own story but yet completely separate from her and you just want to cheer on the two protagonists.

It’s a sweet love story that really makes Grace Kelly’s involvement quite serendipitous in it.

James is a brilliant ‘male lead’ and you really love how big his heart is, how much he cares for his friend, for Sophia, and most importantly, for his daughter. Honestly, that type of fatherly love is not seen enough in novels whether they’re historical or not and so this was a very important point for me.

There’s this collision of cultures as well, our French countryside where Sophie hides away to make her perfume scents, James and his ‘grittier’ London, the Hollywood life style and the royalty of Monaco. All of it is just spun together in this excellent tale of perfume, glamour, and love.

It didn’t hurt that to begin with I’m a pretty big Grace Kelly fan, but it really was Sophie and James who won me over. Sophie is such an intriguing character, her love of perfumes comes from her Father but yet she is a genius in her own way and what’s more is that when she finally breaks free of things holding her back it is such a satisfying moment for you as the reader.

It was the same when James decided to change his fate, to do something to make him happy.

Also the way this love story ended may or may not have made me teary eyed. ‘It was perfect, and really I’ve had such a great time reading this that I’ve been raving it about it to my sister and mom, I’m hoping they’ll get the point and read it themselves.

This is such a great novel and it wasn’t too heavy, it’s set in such a great period too so even if you’re not a fan of historical fiction, if you love, well, love and beauty, you’ll probably like this too.

Four cups of coffee from me!

Thank you to Jessie @ Harper 360 for a copy of this to read in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour.

 

About the Authors

 

Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published THE COTTINGLEY SECRET and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s most recent novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller. Her latest novel MEET ME IN MONACO (co-written with Heather Webb) will be published in July 2019.

Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. She is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative Management, New York.

Author Link

Twitter | Website

 

When Josephine Bonaparte appeared to Heather in a dream, she switched gears from fun-loving high school teacher to author & history nerd on the prowl for fascinating stories.

To date, her historical novels have sold in multiple countries worldwide, received national starred reviews, and have been featured in print media including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and more. In addition, LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS was a Globe & Mail bestseller in 2017, and in 2015, RODIN’S LOVER was chosen as a Goodread’s Pick.

Next up? She had so much fun writing Last Christmas in Paris with her co-author Hazel Gaynor that she decided to do it again! Their novel, MEET ME IN MONACO, set to the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s wedding, will release in the summer of 2019 from HarperCollins.

When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills, geeks out on pop culture and history, or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world, (especially her beloved France). She loves to chitchat on Twitter with new reader friends or writers (@msheatherwebb) or via her Facebook page. Stop on by!

Author Link

Twitter | Website

 

The Rest of the Tour

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The Secrets We Kept – Blog Tour

 

The Secrets We Kept Cover

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BLURB:
TWO FEMALE SPIES. A BANNED MASTERPIECE. A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY.

1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation. 

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott’s dazzling first novel is a sweeping page turner and the most hotly anticipated debut of the year.

Book Information:
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Hutchinson (5 Sept. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1786331667
ISBN-13: 978-1786331663

Book Links

Amazon UK | Goldsboro Books Exclusive Edition

 

My Review

 

I was immediately engrossed in this book, and I am not over-exaggerating about barely putting this book down the day I picked it up. I was up until at least 2 AM to finish it in the end.

First of all the synopsis had me hooked with the mention of Dr. Zhivago, it has such an interesting history to it and though I’ve yet to read the book, I have seen the beloved 1965 movie and do own the book and plan on reading it…you know, just as I plan on reading the rest of my mountainous tbr pile.

And I mean, spies, guys, SPIES. ESPIONAGE IN THE COLD WAR ERA!!! AMAZING ALREADY WITHOUT EVEN HAVING TO CRACK IT OPEN.

This is also a book that sheds light onto the difficulties faced by women in the work force. They had so much power in the workforce in WWII and many of them were left at a loss, the independence they had gained was stripped away and they were reverted to secretaries, typists, typical ‘female’ roles. [Of course some enjoyed those roles, this is not a judgement on those jobs then or now!]

But, a female spy can still get the work done that is necessary of them, the question is, how much is their worth to the people that employ them?

They brave the same hardships as men, and they were vital to certain operations, and in this story, they were vital to spreading Dr. Zhivago to its people.

Who were its people? The Russians. The Russian author has been under the thumb of the government, they view this novel as a threat, and of course that makes it a greater asset to those who want to go against Russia covertly.

Russia may have Sputnik, but these women are giving its people, Dr. Zhivago.

There’s the point of view of two women working as/with the spies primarily, but also the author of Dr. Zhivago, Pasternak’s, mistress, the typists and good ol’ Ted.

Prescott is amazing at setting up the book for its time period, in fact, I had such a huge urge to go watch the first few seasons of Mad Men after reading this.

The love story in this book isn’t what you might think when hear it involves Dr. Zhivago but it is the best part of this book. I absolutely adored the relationship and thought it was so well written while keeping historical fiction in balance with love and all the emotions it can cause.

Not to mention the ending was perfection, much as the rest of the novel was.

I gave this 4.5 instead of 5 because I really wanted to know more about the affect of the book on the Russian people, but I do understand why this wasn’t the focus.

A brilliant and thought provoking story that really tugs on the heart strings. If you love espionage, Cold War, or just great historical fiction, this book is highly recommended!

Thank you to Anne Cater, the publisher and the author for a copy of this book to honestly review as part of the hour.

 

About the Author

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Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivago and first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.

Author Links

Website | Twitter

 

The Rest of the Tour

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To Calais, in Ordinary Time

 

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GoodReads:
Three journeys. One road.
England, 1348. A gentlewoman is fleeing an odious arranged marriage, a Scottish proctor is returning home to Avignon and a handsome young ploughman in search of adventure is on his way to volunteer with a company of archers. All come together on the road to Calais.
Coming in their direction from across the Channel is the Black Death, the plague that will wipe out half of the population of Northern Europe. As the journey unfolds, overshadowed by the archers’ past misdeeds and clerical warnings of the imminent end of the world, the wayfarers must confront the nature of their loves and desires.
A tremendous feat of language and empathy, it summons a medieval world that is at once uncannily plausible, utterly alien and eerily reflective of our own. James Meek’s extraordinary To Calais, In Ordinary Time is a novel about love, class, faith, loss, gender and desire—set against one of the biggest cataclysms of human history.

 

My Review

This is a testament to the detail and research Meek has done. The novel is brimming with the nuances and vernacular of 1348 and it reads so atmospherically because of that, that you feel you are in the time period.

This also means though that it took me a while to get into a rhythm when reading this book because of the medieval vernacular. This also made me lose focus on the story itself at times, which was a shame as the story was quite a remarkable one. A group of archers, a proctor, a runaway noble, and a mysterious brother and sister [no spoilers from this gal!] are all pulled into events that seem inescapable. The plague feels as if it’s chasing them in a way, always on its heels and it gives a nice feeling of tension while you’re reading, always wondering when it would catch up with them.

There are diverse characters in terms of personalities and orientations. Hab, in particular, captured my interest and was probably my favorite character.

At times it was rather hard to feel sympathetic for the characters who were of the noble class, but I have to hand it to Meek, they were accurately portrayed. In those times they did truly think themselves superior to their serfs/servants/workers.

Because of the effort to remain true to its origins, it was, at times, hard to connect with the characters, much the same reason for the distraction from the story; the writing style and atmosphere of 1348.

The middle part really lagged for me, but getting to the last third or so of the book, it felt like everything just paced so well and you wanted to know how this was going to turn out. This is a book to read in leisure and I highly recommend it to those with a love of historical fiction.

I applaud Meek on the work he’s put into this.

Three and a half cups of coffee from me!

This book is available as of today, so, HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!

Thank you to Canongate for a copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest review.

August Rewind

 

My August Reads

 

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^^I had so many problems with this book, it’s just not for me^^

 

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^^Another one that wasn’t for me but this wasn’t problematic like Never Have I Ever ^^

 

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^^Review to come^^

 

^^Review to Come^^

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^^ Review to come ^^

 

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^^Review to Come^^

 

 

^^Review to Come^^

 

Favorite Posts from around the book blogger-verse

 

Isabelle @ Bookwyrm Bites: How I Created My Custom Rating System

Sam @ Fictionally Sam: Why Do You Read?

Michelle @ Michelle Likes Things: Why I Banned Myself From Requesting ARCs

Ruby @ Ruby’s Books: Wednesday Chatter: Musings About ARCs And ARC Bans

Kal @ Reader Voracious: Chased By A Flock of Seagulls

Clo @ Book Dragons: 2 Year Blogoversary! (ft. My Favourite Posts)

Susan @ Novel Lives: His Hideous Heart Editor, Dahlia Adler Discusses Reimagining Of Classic Literature With Marginalized Narrators, Conquering Her Fears As An Editor And Future Projects In A Blog Tour Interview -Releases 9/10 via Flatiron Books

 

What I’ve Posted

Charity Shop Finds!

Content/Trigger Warnings

Descended Author Interview: Amanda L. Almaraz

Ed Bookfest Day 1

Ed BookFest Day 2

Ed Book Fest Day 3

Harley in the Sky Cover Art

My First Book Box/Unboxing!! [Fairyloot August Spoilers]

The Tag of Rage and Sorrow

Favorite SciFi Books: The First Half Of 2019

Thriller Thursday

 

Again, I was so so so honored to have been nominated in the Book Blogger Awards, but a HUGE congrats to the winners and of course the other nominees!

Edinburgh’s [International] Book Festival was great, and I would really like to go to again next year, so fingers crossed!

I’m trying to work out train fare for the Jay Kristoff event in Glasgow next week but if I can’t go, well, I’ll just give my ticket to someone who can!

Still waiting on our house, we may get it before I turn 31, but since that’s in October…I mean, maybe not, maybe by the time I’m 40. *Insert a lot of cursing in various langauges here* But I am still hopeful about moving!

So this month I got to see Holly Black for the first time, along with Joanne Harris and Alexander McCall Smith and saw Samantha Shannon a second time!

Also! I got my first two books from Orbit Books UK and I feel so special!!!!! AND

If you all notice, I really love Canongate Books, they’re one of my favorite publishers and they made me their August Blogger of the month!

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