Monday, May 21, 2018

Owl Post #205


Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows us bloggers to showcase the books we've bought, won or received throughout the week and is hosted by Brodie over at Eleusinian Mysteries. We all know that the Owl Post is the fastest way to send and receive mail and they certainly make me happy every time they drop a book off.
 
Hi book lovers and welcome to my first Owl Post in a while!

Moving really has thrown me through a loop and these probably aren't ALL the books I received or bought but they're the only ones I can think of off the top of my head LOL.
 
For Review:
 From Allen & Unwin:
- Allied by Amy Tintera 
Allied is the final book in the Ruined series and I LOVED IT. Review to come. Such a brilliant ending to a superb series.  
 
....Thank you so much guys!
____________________________________
 
From Hot Key Books:
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
I'm really looking forward to reading this novel. Mermaid/siren novels seem to be growing in popularity in recent times and I've certainly enjoyed the ones I've read in the past so I have a lot of hope for To Kill a Kingdom :)
 
....Thanks guys!
 _____________________________
 
From Scholastic Australia: 
- Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter 
Ally Carter's latest release! Keen to read this one--she writes enjoyable and fun contemporary.  
 
- The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner 
This is the first novel in James Dashner's The 13th Reality series. I must say I love his Maze Runner series, but I'm wondering if this might be too young for me?? We'll see though. 

....Thank you so much!
________________________________

From Penguin Random House:
- True Blue by Sasha Wasley 
I LOVED the first novel in this series--Dear Banjo--and am super excited to read this second one! It's not shown, but the book also came with an adorable little easel for reviewers to express themselves in celebration of main character Free's passion for painting; such an adorable idea!

...Thanks so much Ali and Sasha!

I Bought:
- Rebel Heart by Moira Young 
Confession? I haven't actually read any of the Dust Lands trilogy, but I now own all three ;) Can't help buying them when they're on sale. 

- From the Earth to the Shadows by Amanda Hocking 
I'm a real Amanda Hocking fan and even though I'm still yet to read book #1, I had to have this pretty sequel for when I eventually begin the series. It's so pretty!

- A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
One of my book-ish resolutions for 2018 is to catch up on my Sarah J. Maas reading; I've only read up to book 3 of Throne of Glass and the first A Court of Thorns and Roses book. I own them all; I now just need to find the time to read them!

- Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry
 Nineteen Letters was one of my favourite reads of 2017 so I'm thrilled I finally got around to getting a paperback copy for my collection. This is such a brilliant read. 5/5 stars!

- The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross 
I really love the sound of this novel--it was actually one of my WOW's last year  and when I say this hardback on sale, I had to have it. It's sooooo pretty.

What books have the owls brought you recently?


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Shelf: Olympian Challenger (Olympian Challenger #1) by Astrid Arditi

A hero’s tournament. A defiant contender. Does one girl have the courage to take on Mount Olympus? 

Hope’s world doesn’t have room for heroes. She barely has time for schoolwork, swim team, and taking care of her ailing mother. But when she’s invited to a mysterious tournament, the all-powerful hosts won’t take no for an answer.

Transported to Mount Olympus, Hope comes face to face with her new trainers—the pantheon of Greek gods. While other contenders train hard to gain a fighting edge, Hope searches for a way out. Instead, she finds a gorgeous shadow god who may just convince her to stay…
As each round unfolds, the ultimate prize draws closer—the granting of her heart’s deepest desire. If she survives the final challenge, her mother’s cure would be within reach…but only if Hope can ignore the tournament’s dark purpose.

Olympian Challenger is the first book in a bold YA urban fantasy trilogy. If you like Greek mythology, forbidden romance, and feats of courage, then you’ll love Astrid Arditi’s heroic coming-of-age tale.

More info on Goodreads......


Review:

Olympian Challenger by Astrid Arditi is an adventure filled novel featuring a well-paced and spirited story littered with Greek Mythology, forbidden romance and high stakes action.

Seventeen year old Hope Diaz is a model student and carer to her ailing mother whose dementia is growing worse with every passing day. All Hope wants is to do the best for her mother, and then she receives a baffling invite to participate in a mysterious competition. After an act of bravery sees her taken to Mount Olympus where Hope meets the Greek gods in the flesh, she finds herself participating in a tournament where contenders must complete a number of quests in order to be crowned the winner and be rewarded their hearts wish. Knowing it must be too good to be true, Hope desperately searches for a way back home, determined to find a way out of Mount Olympus. Instead she finds herself drawn to a fascinating shadow god who wants to convince her to stay. Winning the competition may be what Hope needs to save her mother, but with every challenge becoming more and more treacherous, the contenders aren’t guaranteed to make it out alive. Deciding what she’ll fight for is only the beginning as Hope begins to discover the tournament has a darker purpose than the participants were led to believe….

Olympian Challenger was a really impressive novel and I have to say I enjoyed it very, very much. As a fan of Greek mythology, I really appreciated what Astrid Arditi has done with this novel. Not only does she give the Greek gods we’re all familiar with—Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Ares, Athena etc---a modern twist, but she also explores some histories of the lessor known deities and the heroes that litter ancient Greek literature. It was refreshing to read about something I hadn’t heard a million times before, while also enjoying the tales I was familiar with and comfortable reading about.

Main character Hope was a real joy to follow. She was honorable and courageous and kind-hearted. Here was a girl taken from her life and facing tremendous challenges but each one she faced with poise and grace, loyalty and humility. Hope was quick to help people and not someone to put herself above others; I liked that. She was self-sacrificing and kind, while also being quick thinking and intelligent.

Olympian Challenger is a very emotionally packed and eventful novel. I liked many of the characters Hope met including Amy and Gabriel who became true friends to her and of course Kieron who is her love interest and a soulful god who made Hope weak at the knees. Kieron was certainly swoon worthy and I think he and Hope had a great chemistry—I’ll definitely be vying for their romance. I also liked the demi-god trainers who teach the contenders during the story—they were very unique and personable.

Ending well and definitely leaving me raring for more, Olympian Challenger had all the elements of a great book and I can’t wait until Astrid Arditi releases the next instalment in the series as I’m keen to read what happens to Hope next.

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by publisher via Netgalley (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Published by author
Format: Kindle ebook via Netgalley
Release Date: July 3rd 2018
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Final Thoughts: This novel will be perfect for fans of Percy Jackson and I can't wait to see what happens next!


Friday, May 18, 2018

Givewaway: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Having recently released on April 24th 2018, Laura Sebastian 's debut novel Ash Princess is a wonderfully written novel of romance, deception and desperate rebellion and is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Amy Tintera and Marie Rutkovski.

AND thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia I have a paperback copy of Ash Princess to give away to one lucky Australian readers to help celebrate its release!


Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


Add on Goodreads or check out my review!

Purchase:
Ash Princess is definitely perfect for those such of myself who can't get enough YA fantasy and will be a series to look out for!


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Book Shelf: Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


More info on Goodreads....


Review:  

Lauren Sebastian’s debut novel Ash Princess is Ruined by Amy Tintera meets The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkovski and is an intriguing story of romance, deception and desperate rebellion.

Theodosia was six years old when her country was invaded and her mother, the ruling Queen, murdered before her eyes. That day saw Theo loose more than just her mother; she lost her kingdom, her name and her freedom. Ten years have passed with Theo a captive of the Kaiser within the palace that was once her beloved home. Powerless, Theo has had no choice but to bury the girl she was and endure the endless abuse and ridicule at the hands of the Kalovaxian leader. Crowned the Ash Princess, Theo has survived a lot but when the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable, the blood left on her hands threatens to break her. As Theo struggles to reconcile her choices, from the ashes begins a spark that will see her take up a rebellion against those that have enslaved her people and made them suffer. Theodosia will learn that war isn’t always won on a battlefield. She’s going to reclaim her throne and save her people; even if it means taking drastic choices and breaking her own heart in the process….

Ash Princess is a dark and passionate story that weaves political intrigue, acts of rebellion and moments of violence together beautifully with lyrical writing and a lot of promise. In the vein of many successful YA fantasy novels, Ash Princess invites readers into a conquered land and into the heart of a princess determined to save her people. The writing drew me into the story and the setting was dangerous and violent enough to keep me on my toes.

The overall concept may be one we have seen before but Lauren Sebastian does fight to give her story an edge with different elements brought to the surface to make it unique. At this point in time, I feel that we may see a lot more in future novels that will make Ash Princess stand out above the rest. It’s just an inkling I have based on some of the hints Sebastian has expressed and am hoping this is the case.

Personally I’m of a mixed mind where our protagonist Theodosia is concerned. There were times when I really liked her and times when I struggled to connect. I feel like she has promise (much of the story does) but I want to see more before I’m comfortable passing judgement. I was disappointed to see my least favourite trope appear—the dreaded love triangle—and I wasn’t completely smitten with either love interest to be honest. So…..I’m hoping to see more of Theo that will win me over.

Darkly riveting, if somewhat slow in the beginning, Ash Princess begins Lauren Sebastian’s debut series well. There’s a lot to be enjoyed within its pages and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel in the future to see how Sebastian expands on her world. The ending was heading in the direction of a cliffhanger and I for one am looking forward to seeing what will happen next.

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Australian RRP: $16.99
Release Date: April 24th 2018
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: Ash Princess was beautifully written and I think the series shows a lot of promise; I'll definitely read the sequel when it comes out.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #222

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
 
The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck 
Releases on: September 11th 2018
Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.
 

Thoughts:
"Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme." OMG! Yes, please! Monsters? Check. Immortal hero? Check. Strong, stubborn heroine? Check. Possible romance? Check......gimme! This novel seems fabulous. I'm ready to discover the world of Lanterns and meet this stubborn witch. Bring on September!

Are you as excited to read The Lantern's Ember as me?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Book Shelf: Bittersweet by Carmen Jenner & Lauren K. McKellar

From two USA Today bestselling authors comes a tale of miscommunication and muffins.

Romy Love knows weddings. As the author of a hugely successful wedding blog, you’d think she’d have love covered. It is her last name, after all.
When it comes to her big day, Romy has the flowers picked out, a dress collecting dust in the back of her closet, and a preacher on standby. There’s just one problem: the groom doesn’t know it yet.

Romy has eyes for the Italian coffee god and single dad who owns the bakery in her building—she also has plans for his delicious buns—but in order to get her happily-ever-after, she has a few things to check off her list first:

Lose twenty pounds

Take over the blogging world one wedding at a time

Make Coffee Hottie fall in love with me

Yeah, this shouldn’t be difficult at all.


More info on Goodreads.....


Review: 

Bittersweet is a delightful collaboration by Best Selling Australian authors Carmen Jenner and Lauren K. McKellar and is a fun, flirty and endearingly enjoyable romance readers are sure to adore!

Romy Love is obsessed with weddings. As the author of a successful wedding blog, Romy is well versed everything that goes into making that special day perfect. From flower arrangements to guest lists to the photographer, cake, bridal party—you name it, Romy knows it. If only it was her wedding and not someone else’s. If only the hot Italian café owner she’s crazy about would see her as more than his slightly eccentric, albeit best customer. If only Romy had the guts to tell him of her feelings. As a single father and business owner, Elio is used to being guarded, yet there’s something about the vibrant and beautiful Romy he can’t keep his mind off. Seeing her at his bakery is a highlight of his day but Elio is worried starting a relationship more might end in heart ache. And he has his child to think of too. Yet when a series of miscommunications changes their relationship will Romy and Elio find the courage to explore what simmers between them? Or will they miss out on the chance at a forever kind of love?

Man, what a brilliant read! Carmen Jenner is someone who never fails to satisfy me time and time again, and although Lauren K. McKellar is a new to me author (a fact I plan to rectify as soon as possible) I was perfectly entranced by this oh so fun and sexy rom-com! Bittersweet had all the elements of a great rom-com read; likable characters, romance that sizzles, chemistry, humor and sass. It was a quick--well, quick for me seeing how fast I devoured it----and easily enjoyable story.

Following twenty-something wedding blogger and coffee lover extraordinaire Romy, Bittersweet unfolds through the eyes of this sweet and slightly a-dork-able heroine; with a few chapters thrown in through hunky Elio’s eyes for good measure. Both characters were very likable and a joy to follow. They had great chemistry and it was satisfying seeing them build their relationship; even if it wasn’t without its mishaps and moments of miscommunication.

Working effortlessly together, Carmen Jenner and Lauren K. McKellar have created a wonderful read full of personality and flair. With a great supporting cast of characters including your traditional Italian Nonna, adorable four-year-old and two characters who are perfect for one another but who don’t yet see it, Bittersweet has everything.

I'm hoping to see Jenner and McKellar collaborate again in the future, I’ll be keeping my eye out for a Nico and Bianca story and will definitely read whatever comes next!

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by Social Butterfly PR and the authors (Thank you ladies!)
Publisher: Published by authors
Format: Kindle ebook
Release Date: May 1st 2018
Purchase: Amazon
Final Thoughts: This was such a fun and fabulous read! Recommend.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

I'm Back!


I'm back! My goodness have I missed blogging while I've been internet-lacking! I also have SO MUCH to catch up on, but I'm looking forward to getting back to it :) Hope you'll forgive me while I find my bearings.

What have you all been up to? 
Ready any out-of-this-world fabulous books lately?