Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

Posted November 21, 2016 by Hannah in Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult / 2 Comments

Moon Chosen by P.C. CastMoon Chosen Series: Tales of a New World #1
on 25th October 2015
Pages: 600
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Publisher
BooktopiaPublisherThe Book Depository
Goodreads

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast, hosted by Pan MacMillan Australia!

I don’t know quite what I was expecting with Moon Chosen, but I was equally parts pleasantly surprised and equally…not bothered?

Moon Chosen is a really unique fantasy that centres around Mari, who is part of a clan called Earth Walkers. Her mother is the Moon Woman of her clan, who by right is a powerful figure within her clan, one whose abilities are passed down to Mari. However Mari’s own powers have had to be remained hidden – and Mari ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ When Mari’s clan is attacked, and her world forever changed.

I’ll admit – it was a struggle to get through most of Moon Chosen. It’s a massive book, almost 600 pages long, and a lot of it is just world building and setting the tone for what is to come, which makes it a bit of an adventure to read itself. I felt like most of the time I couldn’t connect with the characters, and I kept having to flick back through pages as I found myself skim-reading a lot of it, and then missing important things.

In saying that, I think Moon Chosen was such a different type of fantasy than what I’m used to, which was refreshing. Nik (the love interest) came across a bit bland sometimes, and Mari was a tough nut to read for a good chunk of the book, but one aspect of the book that did progress was their character development, and I will say, I’m quite intrigued as to where the series is heading, especially as the last 100 pages or so picked up quite a bit on the action front.

And the best part? The Companions, of course! I loved the concept of having animals that were bonded with certain tribe members. I could definitely do with a Companion.

If you don’t mind books that delve into a lot of back story and world building, then I think you’ll enjoy Moon Chosen. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it does leave you anticipating more, and I am curious to see where the story leads!

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November New Releases Giveaway Hop (INTL)!

Posted November 16, 2016 by Hannah in Giveaways / 38 Comments

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It’s NOVEMBER! How is it November – and almost midway, at that??? I don’t know!

EDIT: I realise that this post is a couple of days late and I didn’t realise that the scheduling wasn’t set up right! Forgive me!

I feel like these posts have been a great little chat between you and me, as I feel like not a lot happens (right now) for me to do weekly or monthly recaps, so dear reader, I hope that you are well. I know the beginning of November was a bit shocking for everyone, and we are still feeling the effects of the US Election around the world, and I just wanted to let you, my lovely followers, that you are never alone and always have a safe space with me. My favourite poem asks, “Do I dare, disturb the universe?” and I feel like this is my creed. DO dare to disturb the universe and make your voice heard!

On a happier note, my exams are now over, and I go on holiday at the end of the week and I’m so excited, as I’m going home to see my family who I haven’t seen in six months (and longer for my pets!). I’m going to be spending my time reading, sleeping, and #NaNoWriMoing! Lucky we’ve got some amazing books out this month to keep us entertained! And thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday last month, I truly felt blessed by all your comments!

ANYWAY. On to more important stuff. Like the giveaway! ONE (1) winner will win ONE (1) November New Release to the value of AUD$30. And as long as The Book Depository ships to you, anyone can enter! Not sure if that’s you? Check here. The winners will have 48 hours from me contacting them to say hello, or another winner/s will be chosen.

Last month’s winners were Penny who chose The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales by Parisien and Wolfe & Layla who chose Fear The Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh – lucky ducks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the Hop for more chances to win!

And as always….

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To DNF Or Not To DNF…That Is A Bookworm’s Biggest Dilemma

Posted November 3, 2016 by Hannah in And On That Note, Features / 5 Comments

 

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One of my firm reading rules since the beginning of time has always been Thou Shalt Finish Every Book Thou Starts.

It’s always been a no brainer: finish what you started, even if you hate it. Why? Because I feel like I can’t make an informed opinion or review on a book that I haven’t finished reading. That and I absolutely must need to know what happens.

But recently…

I’ve been having doubts about this reading policy of mine. Is DNFing a book really that bad? I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, so reading is precious. When I’m not working a crazy full time job, I’m studying full time. Now that it’s November, I’ll have more time for reading on my hands, but it’s also #NaNoWriMo, and I want to spend a lot of time focusing on my novel. And I have a lot of books I want (and need) to read.

Which is why this year, I’ve DNF’d three books, and started to read two that I almost immediately put down and moved on from. It’s sad, because those three books (if you’re curious, they were Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Passenger by Alex Bracken and Ruined by Amy Tintera) were three that I was looking forward to soooo much…and yet they turned out to be a disappointment. Do I never want to try and read them again? No! Of course not!

When I struggle through a book, it starts to invoke the dreaded reading slump, and I’m wasting away through a novel that I’m not enjoying for the sake of reading it, when there are plenty of other books on my shelves I could be reading instead. And enjoying.

So where do I go from here? Well, it’s not as easy as just giving up. When you’ve been oh so strict on yourself for many years, it’s hard to break out of a habit. So I have a new reading rule: Thou Is Allowed To Pass On A Book; As Long As It Is Not A Review Book. Okay, okay, it’s a little harsh, but considering that my review list is mainly Netgalley and Edelweiss books these days, I think it’s a fair enough rule.

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Shining Brightly: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Posted November 2, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Shining Brightly: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury ANZ on 24th September 2013
Pages: 352
Format: E-ARC, Paperback
Source: Publisher, Bought
Goodreads

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve read this book now in the aim of writing a review, but every time I do read it, I still love it just as much – and maybe a little bit more – each time I do. Trish has a beautiful gift for storytelling – as we saw in her raw, emotional debut Something Like Normal, and is ever present in Where The Stars Still Shine.

Where the Stars Still Shine centres on a storyline that (morbidly, I know) fascinates me. Callie and her mother have never really settled in one place, until a routine traffic stop gives her the reason why – Callie’s mother kidnapped her at a young age, and now, with her Mom facing jail time, Callie is given back to her father and his large Greek family.

The novel isn’t very plot centric, so if you are looking for a contemporary with a lot of “action,” then this may not be for you (but still read it anyway!). However, what we do is a wonderful novel that centres around Callie coming to terms with her new family, as well as trying to understand why her mother did what she did. The way that the book deals with mental health as well was one that I loved; it wasn’t in your face or too preachy, but rather understated the whole way through.

As this book is about characters and the way they entwine with each other, we get a great host of secondary characters that are easy to fall in love with. From Callie’s relationship with her father and her new half brothers, to Kat her new best friend/cousin, and of course the gorgeous Alex, who is facing demons of his own.

This is a novel about family, about finding your own strength but realising that it is okay to lean on others as well. It’s about falling in love, all coupled with that beautiful writing style that will make Doller a firm favourite with any one.

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Here There Be Dragons! Introducing My NaNoWriMo Novel

Posted November 1, 2016 by Hannah in Features / 8 Comments

NaNoWriMo 2016 Participant Banner

It’s November – which means it’s NaNoWriMo Time!

For those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo stands for, it’s National Novel Writing Month, where crazy people like me attempt (and I say attempt, because the last couple of years hasn’t been very successful for me) to write a novel, or at least, 50,000 words of one, in a whole month that equals to 30 days. Basically, that equals to something like 1,666 words a day. It’s a great place to start if you’ve ever wanted to write a novel but didn’t know where to begin – because NaNoWriMo is all about getting those words flowing! Some amazing authors, like Marissa Meyer, Rainbow Rowell, Susan Dennard, and Erin Morgenstern have written their bestsellers off the back of NaNoWriMo, so it’s a good a place to start, if any, right?

Now full disclosure: I’m not really one who likes to talk about my writing, as I tend to waffle – a lot. For me, writing has always been a bit of a private thing, and it often gives me great anxiety because there are some amazing writers in the blogging community, but I want . . . to share my journey with you guys. So I’m taking my prompts from the amazing Cait at Paper Fury‘s Beautiful People. Which means I guess it’s time to meet my novel!

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Okay, let’s start with the latter first, shall we? I’ve had this story – or the crux of this story – rolling around in my head since 2013. It was around that time I started listening to awesome instrumental music, like Two Steps from Hell. I’m not sure what exactly inspired me, but I knew it was fantasy and I knew there were dragons involved. Three years and a million costume changes later, I finally have a plot. I think. It’s definitely changed a lot of hands to reach this point, but I love where it’s at right now.

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Dragons!! Everybody loves dragons right? Not in my book.

Fire and Ash is set in a world where dragons used to roam freely over the continent of Amaria. Now, two kingdoms have fallen at the hands of a power hungry King who captures and trains what is left of the once docile creatures to become war beasts for his army. Alix Pierce knows that if anyone was to ever find out that black blood runs through her veins, she’d have to answer questions even she doesn’t know the answer to, but being near the King’s dragons day in and day out seems to calm the thing crawling under her skin, itching to break free. After an accident leaves a dragon dead, Alix stumbles upon a smuggling ring – and at the centre of it, her two older brothers. Her only option to prove that she isn’t working as a spy for the King is to kill him herself, and set in motion a revolution that Alix wants no part of.

Caught between her loyalty to a King determined to destroy the continent, the fledgling friendships she makes with those at court, and the need to keep her brothers safe, Alix agrees, if only to stall the demands of Daniel, the leader of the rebellion, who seems to be hiding the real reason he wants her – and only her – to be the one to assassinate the King.

Annnd this is why I’m terrible at sharing my writing – because I’m terrible at describing it! Summaries and blurbs SUCK, and it makes me cry that I can’t tell you ALL about Fire and Ash. So what are the main points you need to know? There are dragons (and that’s not all!). It’s a quadrilogy ( I actually don’t know what it is yet, but I know Book 2 will be called Dust and Shadows). There is lots of snark. I mentioned dragons, right? My MC is not The Chosen One (in fact, she’d probably sic a dragon on you if you said that). There is a reaaaaally slow burn romance. 

As for comp titles…if these books tickle your fancy, I think you’re gonna like mine!

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Because I’m terrible at making aesthetics, if you’re really dead keen, I’d recommend checking out my Pinterest board (but bear with me, as I’m currently in the middle of moving my Storyboards over to my “author” account). A lot of the images and drawings I’ve used are from other books/TV shows, I know, but it gives you an idea! Musically, I’d also recommend checking out my Spotify playlist, because if I do say so myself, it is pretty amazing!

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Oh, my characters, ah, yes, alright. My characters. I’m going to introduce you to only four, because there are a host of characters and I want you to meet them all but you can’t, not just yet any way!

Alix Pierce – our MC. She just wants one day where no-one will disturb her sleep. Favourite place is riding the thermals on the back of a dragon. Is stable. Like a building (inside joke, sorry). Has two left feet. Does not like dogs (especially Thorne’s). Or swords. Or any sort of fighting, for that matter. Prefers books instead as weapons – literally and figuratively.

Tristan Thorne – That’s Captain Thorne to you, please and thank you. Don’t mention the scar. Quiet. Loyal. On the rare occasion, his sense of humour is known to be a bit dry. Has a love/hate relationship with dragons.

Penn Margoulis – Just don’t ever call her Pennra, because she does know how to use a sword (and isn’t afraid to use it). She’s the same age as Alix (17), and has been a soldier (and then a Guard) in the King’s Army since she was ten, after the King conquered Vardrys, the small kingdom that made up the cluster of Western Isles. One day she’ll admit that she is slightly and somewhat completely in love with Prince Xander’s cousin Emilia.

Kamali – a (rapidly growing) Eastern Sand Dragon rescued by Prince Xavier and nurtured back to health by Alix. An insufferable pain in the arse who refuses to go airborne until – oh, spoilers. His scales are sand-coloured, pebbled with light greenish-grey flecks, and like all sand dragons, is smaller in size than its cousins, with close-set wings that run from its shoulders to lower back, giving an illusion of a small wingspan. Kamali’s left wing was badly damaged when Xavier found him, and has never quite recovered. Kamali is intensely loyal and fiercely protective.  do-you-need-to-understand-it-to-love-it-you-think-its-beautiful-thats-enough-7

I sob. Into my laptop. As I stare at my empty word document. No really, I’m a terrible plotter. I have a synopsis, and a few breakdowns of scenes, but that’s about it. I’m mostly a pantser, but we shall see how much that works. I like to have inspiration in the form of playlists and storyboards though, so I guess that counts for something, right?


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Finishing the damn thing!

Haha no really. I love that I have all these thousands of little scenes, and I can’t wait to bring them together and meld them into a story. I’m excited about having something that’s in full, not in parts. And I’m equal parts terrified to see what people think of it too. I’m also excited to develop the world I have created beyond what it is at the moment.

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1. The five kingdoms of Amaria are based off Holy Corner, in Edinburgh, where three roads meet and on each of the corners is a church. The kingdoms all intersect of a central location known as Sariel, which is known as the heart of Amaria. While there is no magic in my books, it is a very important place.

2. Dragons used to roam the entire continent, but the Dragon Wars ended in the death of many. Only in Scorchia, the eastern most kingdom, do dragons and humans live in harmony.

3. I’m really terrible at these things and I don’t know what to tell you for the third one. Did I mention there’s no magic in this fantasy?

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Alix’s only goal in life have been to keep her brothers safe, and to fly under the radar. Obviously things change when she realises they like putting themselves in danger a bit more than she would like, and ends up having to kill the King. What stands in the way of her killing the King? The fact that she’s dedicated her life in service to him, for one. And other things that I can’t tell you because SPOILERS!

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Abject horror over how such a lovely person could write something so horrible and cliffhanger-y, because let me just say, the ending is the one part I have already written and I love it to death. It’s my favourite part. If I could summarise it, it would be . . . and I’m going to be quiet now.

Theme wise…there’s a lot going on here. Trust. Acceptance. Overcoming fear. There’s a lot more I could say, but ugh, bloody spoilers. You’ll just have to wait until it (hopefully) gets published one day, right?

So that’s my NaNoWriMo story! What do you guys think? If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments! If you’re also participating, let me know, or feel free to add me as a buddy! I’d love to hear about your projects or past experiences with NaNoWriMo!

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The Books We Read & The Things We Love: Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Posted October 31, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

The Books We Read & The Things We Love: Words In Deep Blue by Cath CrowleyWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on 30th August 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
BoffinsDymocksBooktopiaPublisher
Goodreads

This is a love story.
It's the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It's the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she's back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

There aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to accurate describe how wonderful this novel is, but I’m going to try my best. Because this is a book where words can’t do it justice – you have to read it to experience its beauty. Cath Crowley shows just how much of a natural storyteller she is by really getting to the heart of every book lover and explaining why literature and words are so important, so revered.

Words in Deep Blue is, at heart, many things. It’s a love story. It’s about family, and relationships between friends. It’s about not necessarily letting go of the past and moving on, but accepting it and conquering life when road blocks pop up. And it is so, so much more than that. The central point of Words is Howling Books, the secondhand bookstore Henry’s family owns. The plot itself is simple and short – in a time when books are considered to be a dying art form (ha!), Henry’s family must decide whether to keep or selling the secondhand bookshop that is an integral part of their lives – and the lives of so many others.

From here we have our two main characters, Henry and Rachel, who were best friends once, until time and distance drew them apart. When Rachel moves back to the city, a different person than she was before, her life is entwined with Henry’s once again, and it’s from here we have this beautiful story.

Cath Crowley’s writing is positively magical in this book, and if you’re a person who loves words and books and poetry and just literature in general, than this is one for you. And what really made me love this book even more is that I’m not a poetry person – in fact, I abhor most poetry (it’s been the bane of my existence this semester). But there’s one poem I love, and I’ve loved for years, and it’s probably the only one I’ll ever love, and I’ve never been able to explain exactly why I love it – until Words in Deep Blue came along. You see, that poem is The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot, and it features heavily in Words, as Henry’s favourite (great choice, Henry). And it’s Henry’s explanation to Rachel that makes me realise why I love this poem so much:

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And in talking about Cath’s amazing way with words, it shines through her characters. Rachel is very easy to fall in love with – her past is sadly tragic, and we all love a jilted heroine trying to be stronger than the people who sought to tear her down. I loved seeing her take back control of her life, to find meaning and passion past her brother. And Henry, God it was so easy to hate him at times, but even then one of the great things about this novel was not just Rachel finding herself, but Henry too. And Henry opening his eyes to the world and past his own little sphere.

I know this book isn’t out in the States until next year, when you get an amazingly pretty hardcover of your own, but if you get the chance to read Words in Deep Blue, I implore you to pick it up and savour it. Enjoy the magic and power of words – because you won’t regret it. At all. do-you-need-to-understand-it-to-love-it-you-think-its-beautiful-thats-enough-1

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