Friday, 20 October 2017

Bookish ramblings part 4

It's been a funny old week... Not much reading has been done and that is mainly down to the playstation.  My fab brother lent me Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and it's fair to say that it's been quite the time sponge.  Uncharted is one of my favourite playstation franchises and even though there is no Nathan Drake, there are enough kickbacks to make it really enjoyable.  It's very much uncharted by numbers though, cue lots of relentless gunfights, Tomb Raider style puzzles and and an arduous battle on a moving train but that's what makes it so playable!  It's not the best of the franchise by far but (apart from one utterly fiendish puzzle) it's really really fun to play and most of my evenings have been spent playing that rather than reading.  Don't listen to the reviews either, I got a good 10 hours game play out of it and I was expecting half of that from what I had heard!

Other bars to reading this week have been the horribly stressful muggle job and even the fun job has been a real emotional drain but i'm back on track with a fab client and a piece that i'm really proud of!

Other things have been afoot this week, the new bookcase arrived on Sunday it's installed and is starting to be filled, mini me was most excited to bring down the book stack from the attic to put them in pride of place.

I love finally having a bookcase in my living room, it really completes it and I can't stop looking at all the bookish goodness, i'm trying to be good by reigning in my book spends as I know my fairyloot boxes will start adding to the shelf next month but I'm finding it so hard to say no!

My bookstagram has taken a bit of a back seat as well this week as I have been struggling to feel inspired as a lot of the book challenge themes are samey given that it's start of Autumn and Halloween coming up.  I have also been very good with my book buying, trying to restrict it to new purchases on pay day so I don't have anything new to add to my photos and I don't want my followers to get bored with me posting the same books all the time. I'm going to be very proud to do my first proper #shelfiesunday though this week, this is a sneak peak as a work in progress, I have added a lot of bookish goodies since I took this <3

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Bookish Ramblings - Book Covers, Art or Marketing Opportunity?

So as you all know I've recently taken up bookstagramming which combined with my move away from ebooks has meant a new lease of life for my bookshelf.  It has made me look at and appreciate beautiful book covers at a new level, to seek out the unusual and colourful offerings.  A few weeks ago I saw that the "His Dark Materials" trilogy had released new covers and after coveting them since, I picked up Northern Lights and The Amber spyglass today (sadly no Subtle Knife).  All good and lovely, however, when picking up the Amber Spyglass I was frustrated to find that there was a sticker advertising the fact that the first chapter of "The Book of Dust" was included (I hate the residue the stickers leave) but then I realised that it wasn't a sticker at all but it was actually printed into the gorgeous cover!  I was so upset that the cover had been marred in this way, thankfully as I went back through the shelf there were 2 older versions which didn't have that addition so I managed to leave happy.  However it really got me thinking as to why the publisher chose to do that?

It's long been a bugbear of mine that when a book gets made into a TV show or a film that the publisher chooses to update the cover to match, American Gods and the Handmaids Tale are the most recent examples, with it's stars emblazoned across the front rather than the original cover design.  I'm sure that there is a plausible marketing formula for it, but is it really necessary?  In fact when researching this post I looked up American Gods on Amazon and the new cover is labelled as "mass market paperback" #sigh.  If anything I am less likely to buy a book with a "tie in" cover, because usually they just aren't very good. Similarly, with The Amber Spyglass, it's clearly being marketed as an exciting extra but then surely a sticker can easily achieve this?

At a time where paperbacks are experiencing a resurgence, bookcases are becoming displays, and the huge bookstagram community are championing beautiful covers, it's baffling as to why publishers want to change the covers to something that's simply less.  It's of course only a good thing that the serialisation of these books bring people round to wanting to read them, but then is it insulting to readers that they have to be drawn to it by a book cover that matches the DVD?  Like readers are unable to figure out who wrote something and then follow a simple alphabetical system in the book shop?

Maybe it's just me, but then it's clear that whilst looking up some other titles that there is a move back to traditional covers after the initial excitement.  I remember how awful the Game of Thrones tie in cover was, just Sean Bean sat on the Iron Throne, but now they are back to wonderful decorative covers.  It's obviously all down to timing.  Had "The Book Of Dust" not been due for release in a couple of days I may have missed this compromised cover entirely and then what would I have rambled about?

How about you, do you mind tie in covers?  Do you agree that they aren't necessary? Maybe you can change my mind with a tie in cover which surpasses the original!

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Emerald Cloth Cover Reveal & Giveaway with Clare C. Marshall

Title: The Emerald Cloth
Author: Clare C. Marshall
Genre: YA Fantasy
Cover Designer: David Farrell
Publisher: Faery Ink Press
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Resist.
That’s what my friends tell me.
But to free my prince,
And save my people from extinction,
I must cooperate with my greatest rival.
Everyone believes Kiera Driscoll is dead. Only her friends know the Violet Fox is alive, because they’re in hiding with her deep in Feenagh Forest.
Prince Keegan Tramore, who married Kiera in secret, faces a far worse fate. Cursed to slumber eternally, Keegan has been captured by the powerful Frostfire family. The curse is spreading, only affecting those born on the surface. Worse, the Frostfires pin the blame on the Freetors and persecute them relentlessly–a nightmare for Kiera, who wants all Marlenians to live in harmony. Difficult, now that the Frostfires and their Northern allies–including Kiera’s bitter enemy, Lady Dominique Castillo–have usurped Keegan’s rightful throne.
There is one hope: the Emerald Cloth, an artefact with legendary healing properties. Although Kiera swore she’d never seek another artefact again, she will do anything to protect her people. The Frostfires seek the cure as well–and they’ll go to great lengths to prevent it from falling into Kiera’s hands.
Whatever the cost, Kiera must free Keegan and her people from the magic-induced slumber before the kingdoms succumb to the curse of the Silver Spear.
CLARE C. MARSHALL grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial-up internet, and yet she turned out okay. Her YA sci-fi novel Dreams In Her Head was nominated for the 2014 Creation of Stories award. Her hit fantasy novel The Violet Fox earned an honorable mention in the 2016 Whistler Independent Book Awards. She is a full-time freelance editor, book designer, and web manager. If there’s time left in the day, she devotes it to Faery Ink Press, her publishing imprint. When she’s not writing or fiddling up a storm, she enjoys computer games and making silly noises at cats.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Opal Blade Release Day Blitz with Kristy Nicolle

Title: The Opal Blade
Author: Kristy Nicolle
Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance
Editor: Jaimie Cordall Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: When Sephy Sinclair is forced to sign a contract taking over her father’s business empire, she’s not happy. What she doesn’t know though, is that in having her Father’s legacy thrust upon her, she’s about to discover the secret lives of her parents, and most importantly that her lineage is steeped far deeper in ancient myth and magic than she ever anticipated.
Journey, with Sephy, through The Hollow and find yourself among the sinners of Mortaria, The Underworldian City ruled by a council of Gods made mortal. Here, she will seek sanctuary beneath a purple sun and vermillion sky, ruled by Haedes, a man broken beyond repair by an incident far too close to home.
Unfortunately for Sephy, it is Haedes alone who can teach her how to wield her newfound powers. Will he overcome his personal loss in time to save Sephy as she is hunted by the Demon Lords of Ancient, or will Sephy be used as a bargaining chip to bring Mortaria to its knees?
Facebook Showcase: 
Kristy Nicolle is a 23 year old writer living in the historically beautiful English city of Norwich. She is a full time writer and a graduate of The University of Lincoln in English literature & language, as well as an avid collector of first editions.
Having penned her first novel length piece at age thirteen, Kristy has been writing daily ever since and is particularly drawn to Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance and Science fiction. Kristy Nicolle's Queens of Fantasy Saga is a collection of 3 trilogies, following the lives of three extraordinary women and their journeys, both personal and fantastical, into three unique but interconnected fantasy worlds. The first trilogy in the saga, 'The Tidal Kiss Trilogy', captures the fantastical underwater world of the Occulta Mirum and its scaly tailed residents as their world, which seemed stable for so long, begins to shift. The Second and Third Trilogies names- The Ashen Touch Trilogy and The Aetherial Embrace Trilogy are currently a work in progress.
Kristy is also an animal lover and has a cat, Mitsy, who she has lovingly dubbed Doctor Moo after harboring the belief that all cats are secretly Time Lords. Kristy's reading preferences are wide, spreading from William Gibson to William Golding and encapsulating multiple genres, though her favorites include Science fiction, Adventure stories and Postmodern narratives such as Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children', and numerous Angela Carter titles.
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The scene would shock most people.
A nun on her knees, giving head to the god of The Underworld.
Haedes’ face is contorted with anger and pleasure melded into one, and Annie’s eyes are wide and tear filled, staring up at him as he continues to thrust himself into her mouth.
At the intrusion, they both turn from where they are positioned. Her at the foot of the super king size mattress, and him towering over her, both hands grasping the black wood of the bed post with white knuckles.
I cough, clearing my throat as Annie’s gaze becomes slightly terrified. She’s bound at the wrists and ankles with black silk, unable to move, but clearly mortified. Her blonde hair falls from beneath the ceremonial wimple he always makes her wear, for a reason I can’t understand, as her jaw slackens and he turns to me, fully naked.
“Your daughter, and yes, she is your daughter –  is under attack from the Demon Lords. She’s coming to stay with us. Thought you’d like to know,” I announce, keeping my chin tilted high and spinning on one heel.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Bookish Ramblings part 3

So it's the start of a new week and there a number of things I'm excited about!   In an effort to move on from the emotional trauma of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I have picked up the new DC Icons book which is Wonderwoman - Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo.  I have heard lots of good things about this author and as this is a standalone i'm looking forward to getting a feel for her writing style (and I don't think i'm ready to emotionally invest in another series straight away) It was part of my payday book haul  which you can check out over on my Instagram!

I've also broken my bookish cherry and purchased some fandom items from Etsy.  There is a whole world of bookish goodies available on there, sadly more for the traditionally published fandoms at the moment, but hopefully indies will get a look in too soon.  I have ordered some ACOTAR candles from Book and Nook they are based in the UK and have featured in the Fairy loot subscription boxes.  I have got ones for Feyre and Rhysand and hope to have them arrive in time to add to our new book shelves which arrive at the weekend.

Speaking of which I can't wait for this, sadly all my paperbacks are currently in a big old stack looking very sorry for themselves, so i'm excited to finally have found a case that will fit them all and have room to grow, i'm anticipating a Saturday delivery so my Saturday night is sorted!

What are you all up to this week, anything you are looking forward to??

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses, ruining me for real life in every way...

I try hard not to be one of those overly gushy bloggers, not to be one who cries and screams and throws books in a tear and snot fuelled emotional tantrum; but then I read the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas.

To say that I have been completely consumed by this series is an understatement.  I have become so obsessed with it, that the emotional tatters it has left me in has repeatedly seeped into my real life, giving me unrealistic expectations of what real life should be.  And it has made me cry on many occasions, a feat only managed once, by Suzanne Collins, when a certain character from District 11 met their demise in the Hunger Games.

If you haven't read the series you may want to stop reading now as the rest of this post is going to be *spoilertastic*

I'll be honest, when I first picked up ACOTAR, I was a little underwhelmed.  It was the first step for me out of a firmly entrenched indie ebook habit that I had been sucked into for about 2 years.  We were going away camping and I wanted a paperback (after all it doesn't need to be charged) and A Court of Wings and Ruin (book 3) had just come out and I thought I would join in to see what all the fuss was about.  Not the best environment to start a book and I accept that it probably took me a while to get used to the feel of a paperback again.  However once Feyre reached Prythian and entered Tamlin's Spring Court I was hooked.  Beautiful imagery, immense world building, characters who were, funny, cruel, sensual, kind, and terrifying.  When Feyre entered into Amarantha's trials I couldn't stop reading, Feyre and Tamlin had to be ok, they had to get together at the end!  They were meant to be! If only that pesky Rhysand would stop butting in.  Thankfully all was well at the end, the good guys won, the girl got the guy and save for the fact that a bargain left Feyre having to visit with Rhyand every now and then, the book was closed with a big smile. 

But then a Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) came along and shattered my bubble.  Because for once a female character who had gone through an immense trauma was not OK by book 2.  Clearly suffering from PTSD, haunted by the murders she had to commit, her death and then life and the horrific trials she had to undertake.  But Feyre had Tamlin to help her, to sooth her, right?  In perhaps one of the biggest about turns I have ever made in a book, I came to hate Tamlin.  As a person who has suffered through an abusive relationship the first part of this book hit home hard.  Locking Feyre away, not caring about her wants and needs, not seeing how broken she was.  She had to bend to his will, be a trophy to be admired from a far, dressed up and paraded and belittled when she tried to speak her mind. I cried. It was a relief when Rhysand popped up on their wedding day to whisk her away as part of their bargain before the ceremony could start.    Rhysand, that cocky and unlikable cad, had been playing a sneaky game all along, he's actually awesome in every way.   The unfurling love story then between Rhys and Feyre is beautiful.  Feyre is given time.  Time to heal to become herself, to learn to fight and be strong and speak her mind and everything was always her choice. I cried.  The time taken for Feyre and Rhys to join together is completely right - which makes the cliffhanger this book ends on all the more wrong, forced back into the arms of Tamlin, I cried.  

The weeks wait until payday so I could get A Court of Wings and Fury (ACOWAR) stretched an age.  I had to know what would come next.  Thankful that Feyre was on a secret mission, I still cringed every time she was forced into spending time with Tamlin, the ever watchful gaze of Lucien, knowing that Feyre was playing a game.  I was just willing the time to reach a point where Feyre would be able to get back to Velaris, away from HIM.  ACOWAR is the longest of the 3 books, much of it is spent at war with Hybern but even Tamlin's seemingly small acts of kindness weren't enough to redeem him in my eyes.  I think it's fair to say I cried a lot through this one, the emotional bonds I now felt with these characters was overwhelming.  My anger and sadness spilling over into my real life, my longing for a place like Velaris leaving me feeling a little empty at times and at a loss when all seemed lost for them.  

I finished ACOWAR an hour ago and I still feel a little lost as to what will come next - can any book series come up to that standard?  Can any other book series consume me so wholly?  In some ways I would rather not have a series do that, I read for escapism and at times reading this series made me feel a little imprisoned.  I didn't enjoy how emotional it made me feel and how that in turn impacted upon the way I reacted to loved ones in my life.  I do however congratulate Sarah J Maas for creating such an immense and involving world, for making me feel so much about a story, another book set in Prythian is due next year, i'll bring the tissues.....

Have you read the series so far, I would love to hear your thoughts on the issues raised!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Bookish ramblings part 3: Is YA just an age?

I have recently joined a new FB group linked in with the book subscription box I signed up to.  They are a great bunch and the other day one of them posted this meme:

And it got me thinking, here I am, the wrong side of my 30's with my favourite genre being YA fantasy.  It's the first and pretty much only section of the bookshop that I visit. Is there anything wrong with that?

At first blush - no!  Not a chance, I love YA, books are for everyone - hooray!  But as I started to think more deeply about it I started wondering about how my reading of the books become skewed by my age.  For instance I will seldom read a character in a YA book as their actual age, they will all be adults around their 30's and that's how I picture them when I read, therefore it's always a massive jolt when they do something I find to be inherently childish.  Then I remember.  Of course, this isn't helped that more mature YA has some adult themes mostly of the bedroom kind, which brings out the parent in me. Young teenagers shouldn't be acting this way and shouldn't be reading this sort of thing!  Then I remember that I was around 11 or 12 when I first read Forever by Judy Blume.

It then got me thinking back to some of the reviews I have posted on here in the past, did I unfairly Judge because I'm twice the age of the demographic?  Thinking back to when I was 13, I had kissed a boy (shock!) and maybe I had then wanted to kiss another, so then surely if I was reading a book age 13 with these themes, I would see nothing wrong with it.  Was it then wrong that I marked it down because, it made me feel uncomfortable that a 12 year old girl had kissed a 15 year old boy? It wasn't written for my age group and my discomfort was purely down to my age...hmmm.

So breaking it down this is what the google machine says about YA (and it's not helpful)
"Some sources claim it ranges from ages 12-18 while authors and readers of "young teen novels" often define it as written for those aged 15 to the early 20's."  Perhaps then the bedroom antics aren't too outrageous?

The thing is that I will continue to love reading YA Fantasy as it is pure escapism.  The muggle job is intense and stressful and at the end of a long day I just want to escape in a fantasy realm.  But there's plenty of high fantasy written for adults I hear you say.  Well yes, there is.  But in my view it is dry and over wordy and hard going at times.  The YA fantasy worlds are fast paced, exciting and easy to get into which is why I will always go to the YA section first.  What I have learned though is to be gentler in my reviews and more forgiving of story lines which may be misconstrued due to my age.

How about you, are you a "grown up" YA reader, do you think your age impacts upon your reading of the genre?