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BOOK REVIEW: Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

This book was an absolute treat to read. Wonderfully visual, tense at moments and full of hope, I’m really glad I picked this one up. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me a proof copy!

The snowy kingdom of Erkenwald was once a thriving, joyous land. Tribes worked together in harmony, sharing food and advice. But when the Ice Queen decides she wants control, she darkens the land and takes who she can as prisoner to the dreadful Winterfang Palace. Desperate to use the voices of all the inhabitants, there is one person that she needs the most. Eska, an unusual girl who has been marked by the sky gods.

When Eska is freed from a cursed music box she quickly joins Flint, a brilliant inventor who has never given up the belief of magic. But to push the Ice Queen back, they have to get the rest of the tribes to also believe…

Let me start by saying that the writing style of Sky Song was gorgeous. It was so visually stunning, and I could easily visualise the snowy peaks of the Nevercliffs or the wooded hideaway of the Fur Tribe. Not only has Abi Elphinstone done a fantastic job of crafting these stunning worlds, she also has a brilliant way of creating believable and loveable characters. Flint had to be my favourite; he was confident and proud of his tribe, but fiercely defensive of his younger sister Blu. This brotherly protection was so lovely, especially when his default mode was to be wary of anybody interacting with her. Flint was also very worried of his belief in magic, and was constantly torn between belief and denial.

Eska’s story was so clever, and one that I think is a brilliant one to teach to children. The idea of the outsider not being accepted by any of the tribes out of fear is something we sadly see in society today. It was hard to see her get turned away and have to fend for herself at times when she only ever wanted to belong and to do the right thing. She yearned for that acceptance, knowing that in her heart she wasn’t a bad person no matter what anyone else said. She was a joy to read, with such determination and hope for the future of Erkenwald, and it’s great to see such determination in characters.

The only thing that makes my rating lower than five is the fact that the ending felt a little rushed. I was so swept up in the story that when I got to the last page I was really surprised, and in fact wanted to continue turning the pages to find more story! It was over all too quickly 😦

Final thought: A beautifully written and brave story: 4.5/5

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UKYA Blogger Awards Longlist

Wow. I think I’m still at a loss for words. Yesterday evening, I checked Twitter just briefly and had a huge number of notifications. Intrigued, I clicked and noticed that there was a ton of exciting stuff pouring in – the major thing being that I had been longlisted for the UKYABA 2018!

I’m still stunned – I’ve been longlisted for three categories!! It’s such a huge achievement for me, considering I only started blogging last year! I’m so excited, and it’s an honour to have been longlisted amongst such huge blogging talent! I thought I’d show you the ones I’ve been included in and tell you what they mean to me.

Champion Adult Blogger

The Champion Adult Blogger category is for bloggers aged 20+. To be put in this category is unbelievably amazing – there are bloggers in this category I love and look up to so to be alongside them is thrilling! I’m glad that I can be an inspiration for bloggers and readers who love YA, no matter their age!

Champion of Diversity

This category is the one that I think I might be the most happy over. Having diverse books is so important to me – as a teenager I hardly saw myself represented in books! It’s important to make sure people are represented properly in books, whether this be for different skin colours, religion, sexuality, disability, you name it. I’m always striving to represent these books on my blog, and to be recognised for doing so is a huge honour.

Best Newcomer (0-2 years)

Having only started by blog in June/July of 2017, I’d like to think that I’ve posted quite a bit along this time! Reviews, book tags, adoration for certain books, and I’m always striving to do more. I’ve got a few things up my sleeve for the blog this year to be announced once planned, but this is so amazing to have been longlisted in this category when I’ve been blogging a short time! I’m thrilled that people like my blog and enjoy my content, which is all I want! If people smile when they read my post, or I give them an idea for a new book to read, I’m happy!


So there you have it! I’m still SO EXCITED, thrilled and thankful for everyone who put my name forward for this amazing award. To the publishers, authors, bloggers and followers who put my name forward for these categories, I am thankful to each and every one of you. This is a huge, huge achievement for my blog and I’m just so happy.

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The Animal Crossing Tag

I’ve been hunting high and low for some really good tags to complete on my blog, and how lucky was I to find this one! The Animal Crossing Tag was created by Mckenzie over at Bookish Things and Tea – be sure to check her out! She also created all of the amazing graphics that go with this tag which are absolutely adorable.

THE RULES

  • Please link back to the original creator of the tag, Bookish Things and Tea.
  • Answer the following Animal Crossing themed book questions.
  • Feel free to use my graphics, but please don’t take credit for them.
  • Tag some friends to spread the love!

There are loads of classics that I feel like I should read. Once upon a time, I would have felt terrible for not having read certain books, but life is too short to read things that make me bored. There’s always one that has stuck on my list; Animal Farm. I really want to read this one, and I’ve seen an animated version of it which was shocking, so I want to read the book and compare!

I tend to read a lot of standalone books, which makes these sorts of questions really hard. However, I think the second volume of Saga definitely has to be my favourite second book. Hello, Marko is on the cover! How could I not choose Marko?!

This is easy; Six Of Crows! Ketterdam is huge, dark, and somewhat disturbing. It’s perfect for Kaz Brekker to go about his schemes or hide away somewhere safe in this city, especially in the places nobody thinks to look…

The best new release I’ve recently read has to be, by far, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Although it’s only the first new release I’ve read this year, it is absolutely amazing and I think I’m hooked! The unfortunate thing is now I’ll have to wait a whole year for the next book…

This is a tough one; there are lots of books that have been by my side through lots of things. I’ve had a think and decided that it has to be Chicken Soup For The Teenage Soul. It’s a collection of stories and poems all about different subjects, and my mum bought it for me when I was going through a tough time at school. The book will never leave my possession.

This definitely has to be A Darker Shade Of Magic! There are tons of characters within this book, and each one is hugely different from each other. Kell is mysterious, Lila is fierce, and Rhy is just wonderful and I love him dearly.

An unpopular opinion, but for me it has to be The Loneliest Girl In The Universe. I couldn’t stand this book at all, and actually put it down while halfway through because I felt like I was dragging myself through it. I persisted about a month later and wish that I’d left it at the bottom of the pile.

I don’t actually read historical books, fiction or nonfiction…Oops! They’re just not the genre for me, so I don’t tend to pick them up!


I’m leaving this one open for the tags – feel free to answer the questions yourself over on your own blog! Make sure to credit the original creator!

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Blogger Bookshelf Tour

On the weekend, my bestie and I tidied my very cluttered, very unorganised bookshelf. I only have a small one, so some books had to go…into storage though, not thrown away. It’s too hard to part with books, especially ones I haven’t read yet or ones that are pretty! So, now that it’s looking gorgeous, I wanted to share it with you and take you on a bookshelf tour!

TOP SHELF – LGBT+ & OTHERS

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My top shelf includes some books that I’ve really enjoyed, but couldn’t fit onto the favourites shelf. On the left, I’ve put together my LGBT+ collection of books, which I tried to sort in rainbow order but some of the books were too long! In the middle, Patrick Ness sits tucked away behind a birthday card my sister got me a few years ago. It’s a dinosaur made of bread – two of my favourite things! There’s also the two Jeff Zentner books that he has written and I have loved entirely. Right at the end are a few hardback books. There’s The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice & Virtue which is accompanied by a little pirate ship, Nevermoor, and my collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales which I’ve had for years!

SECOND SHELF – THE FAVOURITES

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Here we are; my shelf of favourite books! Of course, Harry Potter is stacked proudly and my Luna Lovegood wand has finally made its way out of the box to be on display on the shelf. The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit are next, followed by my special edition of A Clockwork Orange. A stack of V.E. Schwab works are beginning to form too. Finally, all of Leigh Bardugo’s works are on this shelf as I love her writing. Standing on top of A Crooked Kingdom is Kaz himself (in crow form) and the books are safe with my two moody book boys in candle form – Draco and Kaz.

THIRD SHELF – GRAPHIC NOVELS, SIGNED BOOKS & PROOFS

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AKA, the heaviest shelf in the world. Graphic novels are so heavy when there’s loads of them, and the fact that The Walking Dead compendiums are so thick doesn’t help this! I’ve got Rick & Morty, Saga, Lumberjanes, and lots of others on here. I’ve even got some of TWD Pop Vinyls on here because it’s the perfect place for them! Right at the end are some of my favourite proofs, and some books that I’ve had the absolute joy of having signed by the authors.

FOURTH SHELF – MANGA

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The shelf that has grown since childhood. This shelf is a bit deceptive, as behind all of the Fruits Basket books there is even more manga! I think it’s safe to say that I think manga is brilliant and I love it. I haven’t read it in a while though – are there any you would recommend?

FINAL SHELF – PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART

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Right at the very bottom of the shelf are my photography and art books. It would be foolish of me to put these any higher on the bookshelf as they are just soooooo heavy! I’ve got some photography books by Jared Leto and some other random assortments, but the majority of this shelf is taken up by film and video game art books. I’m a sucker for concept art, and if you gifted me a concept art book of a favourite game I would love you forever. Favourites on this shelf include The Art of Howl’s Moving Castle, The Art of Uncharted 4, Hyrule Hystoria, and The Art of Wall-E.


I am so in love with how my bookshelf looks now that it’s nice and tidy; I think it really reflects the books I really love and want to reread over and over again.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books I Meant To Read in 2017…

…and just didn’t get around to doing so. Oops! However, it’s a brand new year which means that there’s plenty of time for me to read these titles and enjoy them!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, who also designed the Top Ten Tuesday graphic that is at the top of the page. I found this while browsing other blogs and it sounds like such a great idea. I can’t wait to continue with other weekly Tuesday posts! After this week, the Top Ten Tuesday will be continuing on ThatArtsyReaderGirl, so be sure to follow for updates!


TEN BOOKS I MEANT TO READ IN 2017 THAT I’LL DEFINITELY BE READING IN 2018

1- Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence

I bought this at YALC and even had the author sign my copy, and have been so excited to read this book. Unfortunately, I just never got around to picking it up which sucks because I really want to dive in. This will be the year I read this book!

2- The Fandom by Anna Day

I was lucky enough to receive a proof of this book which is amazing! But again, it sat on my shelf and I didn’t pick it up. A few friends are currently reading and loving this book though, which is making my fingers itch to grab it and join them.

3- The Extinction Trials by S. M. Wilson

Another book that I keep seeing being read all over Twitter, I’ll read this for sure this year!

4- The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This is being adapted into a film, and I always try to read the books before seeing the films. I’ve got the whole series so thankfully if I love this one I can continue to the second and third!

5- Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I won this in a giveaway which was amazing! I also love Leigh Bardugo, so I want to get this read for sure in 2018.

6- Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Another book I received an early copy of, and in the DC Icons series too! Batman will be read after Wonder Woman!

7- Girl Mans Up by M.E Girard

I’ve wanted to read this book for such a long time! Then I had a copy in my hands and was even more excited to finally get started! But…just haven’t! Which really sucks. I feel like I need to read this this year purely because I may explode if I don’t.

8- After The Fire by Will Hill

Highly recommended all through 2017, this is firmly on my TBR for 2018.

9- How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather

Recommended by my colleagues, I need to read this and see how good it is!

10- Moonlocket by Peter Bunzl

Cogheart was my favourite book of all time in 2016, so why haven’t I read the sequel yet? This answer is ‘I just don’t know’. It’s here and it’s on my 2018 list, so I want to read it this year and fall back in love with how amazing the world is!


Are any of my books on your Top Ten Tuesday list this week? I’d love to see your posts and compare (and maybe even find some recommendations for the rest of 2018…)

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BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince

I’ve had a strong start to 2018 – this is the second book I’ve read and it was utterly brilliant! Considering the fact that I woke my friend up shouting and swearing over a particularly shocking scene, I think it’s safe to say this was a brilliant read. Huge thanks to HotKey for sending me a copy to review!

Jude has lived in Faerie practically all her life, ever since she and her sisters were taken from her mortal home after witnessing the murder of her parents. Now living with Madoc, the faerie who commited the murder, Jude and her mortal sister Taryn face mockery from the Fey. With no magic and a target for glamours, they are vulnerable. Jude wants nothing more than to become a knight of the Royal Court to prove that she has strength. However, to succeed in the world of Faerie, she has to be as cunning, as deceitful, and even as cruel as the rest of the Fey. Perhaps as cruel as Prince Cardan, the youngest of the royals who seems to have a personal vendetta against Jude. Jude must tread carefully if she wants to survive in this world…

Although this book started off a little slow, it was worth the build up to have the twists and turn jolt my stomach. The Cruel Prince is beautifully built, and Holly Black has done a tremendous job of making an enchanting and enticing world. It’s easy to get carried away into the world of Faerie as many other mortals in the book have done. With politics, monarchy, and a little bit of bloodshed, Faerie is a dangerous place. The last ten chapters of the book are full of shocks, twists and turns, and even when I thought I was expecting something, an entirely different thing happened to completely throw me off. They are dramatic, shocking, and oh so wonderfully perfect for Faerie. I still can’t get over what happened, and how quickly things turned sour.

Jude was a very well crafted character, and you could really see her internal struggle with her humanity and her giving in to the Fey. It definitely seems harder the further you get into the book for her to actually know who she is any more. Of course, other characters will have you led to believe one thing about them, only to break that further down the line. Is Taryn as nice as she seems? What’s up with Vivi? And does Prince Cardan have a nice bone in his body? So many questions! Without giving away spoilers, the title of this book is really clever. You’re led to believe who the cruel Prince actually is, but is it who you initially thought? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Final thought: Faerie politics + dramatic scenes = I NEED THE NEXT BOOK IN THE SERIES! 5/5

 

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Blogger Q&A!

It’s time for the blogger Q&A! Over on Twitter, I had loads of questions come in for things people wanted to know, so I wrote them all down and answered them here for you all to see. I hope you enjoy my answers!


 

 asks “What advice do you have for new book bloggers?”

My main advice is to stick at it. When I first started my blog back in June 2017, I thought that nobody would be interested in what I had to say about books, but I was so wrong. If you’re passionate about what you write, people will read it and love it! Also, participate in Twitter chats for book bloggers! There are lots to get involved in, and you can connect with many like-minded people. My favourites are #UKYAChat, #SundayYA and #UKMGChat.

@JemimaJOsborne asks “What book made you who you are today?”

This is such a tough question. There are so many books that I think inspired me to be the person I am today, but I think I’m going to be cliche here and say Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix. It told me to stand up for what is right, even if wrong stands in the way. It told me to always be there for my friends when they are struggling, and to have their backs no matter what. It told me to be accepting and embracing of the weird and wonderful people in your life, and to be who you are.

@GoldenBooksGirl asks “Favourite blog post you’ve done, and favourite you’ve read? Favourite chocolate bar? Country you’d most like to travel to?”

1. My favourite blog post I’ve written has to be the Those Beloved Books: Six Of Crows duology. I loved every single second of writing that post and taking the photos for it. It was a real treat to get carried away with my passion and write about how Kaz Brekker has taken over my obsessions. My favourite blog posts I read tend to change a lot, but currently I’m absolutely loving the ‘2018 Reading Resolutions‘ from Abscape, ‘Do Book Characters make good role models?‘ from ThatFictionLife, and ‘Launching My Own Etsy Shop‘ from ThisBookyPlace.

2. My favourite chocolate bar has to be a Milky Way! Love those little beauties!

3. I would absolutely love to travel to Japan during the Spring and take photos of the cherry blossom. I’ve longed to go there for ages, and hope that one day I can get there and immerse myself.

@RacheyRagdoll asks “If you could spend a day with three fictional characters, who would you invite and where would you go?

I have so many favourite characters, but I think I’d choose Luna Lovegood, Kaz Brekker and Henry ‘Monty’ Montague. Luna would be whimsical enough to enjoy whatever we went to do, Kaz would grumble about how expensive it would be (even if it cost nothing at all), and Monty would bring us some laughter followed by the inevitable chaotic adventure of the trip caused by his actions. I think I’d have to take them somewhere to keep them out of trouble, like the library where they can attempt to sit quietly.

@lindas_library asks “What book did you finish, but wish you didn’t?”

I can answer this in two ways: A book that I didn’t want to end and a book that I desperately wanted to be over with.
I was sad to finish They Both Die At The End, as I knew it was coming. I was so upset, and cried my eyes out at the end. It was one of the most beautiful books that I’ve ever read, and if I could rewind time to read it with a fresh mind I definitely would.
One that I wish I hadn’t finished was The Loneliest Girl In The Universe. The ending was just so farfetched and I really disliked the book. Once it was finished, I wished that I hadn’t even started it.

@TheBookMoo asks “Name some of your auto-buy authors and why?”

Currently, it’s gotta be Leigh Bardugo. I fell in love with her writing when I was reading Six Of Crows, so anything she writes will be an instant buy for me.

@rubyraereads asks “Favourite fandoms?”

I really like seeing art from lots of different fandoms, especially the ones I love. My favourites probably have to be: Six Of Crows, Uncharted, Dragon Age, Harry Potter. There are other shows I love and enjoy fandom content from, but I find that sometimes these communities can be toxic so steer well clear!

@GracieFM asks “What books best define your reading tastes? And sort your favourite characters from your favourite books into hogwarts houses!”

I love this question! Let’s start with the defining my reading tastes. I tend to fall for books that have male characters with tragic backstories/mysterious past lives, and that also seems to be the case for video games I play too. Some books that fall into this category: Six Of Crows, A Darker Shade Of Magic, Lost Boy, Twilight (Jasper, the true definition of brooding), The Mortal Instruments, A Series of Unfortunate Events. The list could go on. If something has some magic, mystery, and a moody main character, I’m intrigued.

CHARACTER HOGWARTS HOUSES (Not including HP characters as they’re already sorted!)
Kaz Brekker – Slytherin
Jesper Fahey – Gryffindor
Wylan Van Eck – Hufflepuff
Hermes – Gryffindor
Morrigan Crow – Ravenclaw
Jupiter North – Slytherin
Kell – Slytherin/Ravenclaw (because he’s actually quite hard to sort…)
Lila – Slytherin
Prince Rhy – Hufflepuff
Monty – Gryffindor
Percy – Ravenclaw
Nimona – Slytherin
Marko – Gryffindor
Alana – Slytherin

@Stacerino_2 asks “What’s the one book you’ve read that you wish you hadn’t- and why?

I really, really wish that I hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice. I had to read it for school, but hated every single second of the women and their lives. It was dull and dragged on, and I didn’t feel invested at all in the characters lives, and it was HUGE! The font was so tiny and it felt like a doorstop. Plus there was no magic! Safe to say, it put me off Jane Austen for life.

@RebeccaVeight asks “What do you like the most and the least about the book community?”

I like that the community is quite friendly – I’ve made some friends just by chatting about books which is wonderful! People support and read your blog/tweets and it’s great to get into a discussion over favourite books.

I don’t like the fact that if somebody has a different opinion about a book then they’re awful for having that feeling. I get it, somebody doesn’t love the book you adored. That’s no need to send them awful comments or to be rude. Opinion is opinion.

@rosiefreckle asks “What is a picture book from your childhood that sticks out in your memory?”

I will always remember the Shirley Hughes books – I’ve mentioned them a few times before in other blog posts. My favourite definitely has to be Alfie Gets In First, where Alfie hurries into the house before his mum and sister and locks them out! He’s too short to reach the latch and sends the whole street into a panic about how to get in. Alfie worries for a bit, before sensibly going to get his stool to reach the latch and open the door. It’s such a delightful read and I still love them today.

@olivia_gacka asks “If you had to change the ending of a book which one would you choose? If you could play a character in a movie adaptation of a book who would it be?

I would change the ending of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix so that Sirius Black would live and Harry actually had a member of family of his own to have forever. It was the saddest part of OoTP, and Harry has enough grief to deal with.

This was such a tricky question! If I were to play a character in a movie adaptation of a book, I think I’d play Nimona from the graphic novel of the very same name. Nimona is fierce and strong, and she always wants to do the right thing. She’s also a shapeshifter, which is just completely awesome.

@LiamOwens24 asks “If you could live in any book world, which would you choose and why? Also, if you were trapped on an island with three characters from MG/YA books who would you choose?”

I think I’d definitely love to live in Red London. The wonderful amount of magic, a really nice royal family and a pretty prince? That sounds like a place I could live for a while. That being said, I’ve only read the first book of the series, so don’t know if it stays safe…

If I was trapped on an island with three book characters, I’d take Jesper, Kell, and Jupiter North. Jesper would be able to entertain us and keep us sane as he told jokes and played games. Kell, I’m sure, would be able to turn his coat into some sort of cosy blanket to keep us warm, and would also be able to use his magic so we could have fresh water and not have to climb trees to get food. Once we’d had enough, Jupiter would be able to take us all home in his Arachnipod! (Can you tell I put tons of thought into this one?)


So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my answers, let me know what you thought!