Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo [Non-Spoiler Review]

Author(s): Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Indigo (Orion Children’s)

ISBN:  1780621132

Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

Oh hi! There has never been a better time to read The Grisha Trilogy or anything in the Grishaverse for that matter. Netflix recently announced that they are turning this trilogy and the Six of Crows duology into an eight-episode series! I really hope they don’t just condense everything into a single season; I want enough episodes to binge watch for at least three days non-stop, thank you.

I read this in December and, oh boy, was it a perfect winter read! If you have not read this book and it sparks your interest, check my review of Shadow and Bone that I posted a while ago!

Siege and Storm is an excellent second instalment to the trilogy. Bardugo expands the Grisha world in such a subtle but brilliant way. There is a point in the book where you realize you’ve learnt so many new things about the world, but you didn’t even realize you were being fed this information.

I’m lowkey mad at Leigh Bardugo though. The one and only reason this book is missing that one star is because there was a lack of The Darkling. As I mentioned in my Shadow and Bone review one of my favourite characters is The Darkling and, honestly, it felt like he was not a big part of this book.

On the other hand, there is Nikolai. GODDAMN NIKOLAI. I can’t even process my thoughts on Nikolai. There is something about this character that I absolutely LOVE! Maybe is his wit, how loyal he is, his dark sense of humour, or maybe it’s just that he is perfect. Who knows? All I know is I need him to be bisexual. At least.

One of my favourite things about this story is how Alina is turned into a saint. Bardugo plays with religion in the story and I appreciate that. She uses religion as a way to control the population, giving them a reason to bow down and follow orders. I feel like it definitely is a new take on religion in YA books and I’m definitely here for that! Also, I love Saints and myths and all that stuff!

This time around the romance entertained me a little bit more. I was able to mostly enjoy everything but Mal having a jealous breakdown every 2 pages. While I usually like what Mal brings to the story, I felt he was both at his best and at his worst in this book. I loved his character development and how he dealt with some unfinished business. On the contrary, I think his jealous tantrums were excessive and he was annoying at times.

While it lacked the shock of this big plot twist of the first book, it did a good job at keeping me at the edge of my seat. I literally read it in two days which is REAL fast for me. Ruin and Rising is already coming my way and waiting to be devoured!

Follow me on Twitter and GoodReads!

Advertisements

New Releases I want to read in 2019

Oh, hi!

This year was full of twists and turns, but most importantly it was full of great releases. We all love when series get new installments; that one stand-alone stuck with us and leave us praying for a sequel to be released.

Usually, the number of releases is insurmountable and I tend to get lost in the ocean of New Releases. It’s difficult to keep up and remember the books that have a future release date; let’s not talk about debuts. This year I wanted to create a list of books that I want to read during the upcoming year to remind myself of every single one of them. It’s not the full list, because that would be impossible to post, but these are the ones that I really want to get to FOR NOW!!

1. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, we don’t know a lot about this book but it is definitely sitting at the top of my list. I read Carry On this year and it was one of my faves. I am so ready for Simon and Baz to take me on a new adventure. I also need to find out what’s with the title and the cover and everything in between. I need it all from this book and we don’t even have a blurb yet. SEND HELP.

2. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

I cannot begin to express how excited I am for this book. I just finished binge-watching Pretty Little Liars and I miss it so much. This book looks like it’s gonna give me my fix. It also helps that the title is literally a sentence from the intro song from the show! I read One Of Us is Lying a couple of years ago and I liked it a lot so I have some expectations for this one.

Amazon | GoodReads | BookDepository

3. Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

I’ve followed Christine for the longest time and her videos are the reason why I am obsessed with buying books now. I never expected her to publish her own books and here we are now! I’m a proud little subscriber! We got to see the whole writing process as she documented everything with a series of videos on her YouTube channel; which by the way, are hilarious.

Amazon | GoodReads | BookDepository

4. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

There is something about this cover that screams “READ ME”! The title is haunting and when I got to read the synopsis I knew I had to have it in my hands ASAP. I mean, a girl who can speak to gods allies with two others to end a war? Give me all of that! I’m just hoping there are some LGBT characters because why not.

Amazon | GoodReads | BookDepository

5. The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

UGH. THIS. COVER. IS. EVERYTHING. When I first saw it I thought it was a graphic novel because the artwork is just that good. Turns out it’s a YA novel and a pretty long one! The synopsis sounds magical and it seems like it is going to be a ride of an adventure. I am excited to read this author and see where this story takes us!

Amazon | GoodReads | BookDepository

6. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas’ first book, The Hate You Give, was one of my favorite books of 2017. Thomas’ has the gift of bringing important issues to light and creating needed conversations in today’s society. I have high expectations for this book and I’m thrilled to see what conversations this book sparks BECAUSE IT LOOKS LOADED. I’m just really sad about the cover. It’s one of those REALLY ugly covers. Sorry.

Amazon | GoodReads | BookDepository

7. The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

This book is a recent find. Thanks, Twitter! I mean, the cover is TO DIE FOR. The synopsis makes it seem that this book is going to be magical and something that we haven’t read before. There are witches, elusive forests, brave children and everyone knows those are the ingredients to a great novel. I think this is one of the books I’m most excited for!

Amazon | GoodReads | BookDepository

Tell me what books you are excited for in 2019 in the comments! Thanks for reading!

FOLLOW ME ON: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Why I quit blogging + I’M BACK!

Oh, hi. Look at me posting on this blog again!

I know it’s been a WHILE since I don’t post on this blog and you might be wondering why. These past couple of years have been crazy and my life was so busy I had literally no time to manage a blog. I decided to step out of blogging and, even though I have been somewhat active on Twitter, I focused on getting my life together which has kind of worked.

giphy

One of the many reasons why I quit blogging is because it started to feel like an obligation and, with everything that was going on in my life, I started to develop anxiety when I thought about posting or even reading. I felt like I had to read X number of books per month and having that pressure was really weighing on my mental health at the moment. I wasn’t enjoying posting, or writing reviews, as much as I should have. Consequently, I wasn’t creating quality content.

Mid-2016 my life took a turn and it became really unstable. Lots of moving apartments, job skipping, a complicated family situation, and a head full of anxiety were compromising my well-being. I thought that moving to a different country to get a fresh start was going to help, so I decided to pick up my bags and leave. Believe me when I say it helped in the long run (I’m still here!) but it ended up adding a thousand more worries to my already stressed self.

Fast forward to 2018 though, because we are not here to bask in tragedy (only sometimes). I have a lifetime job contract, I live in a beautiful house and I got my family out of that horrible situation we were in. Also, I went back to school! (online, because I work full time and life’s hard lol). I feel like my life is finally coming together and I am SO READY to  dedicate time to this blog and reading and talking to you guys. I am so excited to be back in this beautiful, welcoming community!

giphy-1

Thanks for reading my rant. K’ BYE!

Twitter |GoodReads Facebook

Spotlight: All in Fear | Out 12/1/16 [LGBT]

banner2

 

allinfear-finalWant something a bit different for the holidays? Horror has never looked this enticing! New release, All in Fear, is a gorgeous collection of horror tales from some of the hottest names in queer fiction. Be prepared to be titillated…and terrified.

All in Fear

By KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, J.A. Rock,

Steve Berman, Avon Gale, and Kris Ripper

Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.

Company by Roan Parrish

Nick Levy’s family is falling apart and he has no friends, but at least he can escape into the world of his favorite comic book series, The Face of the Vampire. Naturally, when the vampire in question shows up one day, Nick is enthralled. After all, what could be better than his own personal fantasy made real? Except that Nick isn’t exactly sure whether Michel is real or not. And when the arrival of a new boy in school promises romance, Nick sees a side of Michel he never could have imagined. This Michel is cruel, jealous . . . and he’ll do anything to keep Nick for himself.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper

Palmer’s life is as good as it gets. Well, okay, so he hates his mind-numbing office job. But he’s found a hot, smart, incredibly kinky guy. The sex is explosive. The power play is off the hook. And if he gets his way, Jon will soon be his husband.

When Palmer asks, Jon says yes. For the first time ever, Palmer thinks things might be really good. Sure, bad things happen in the world—to other people. But this is all he needs: Jon at the end of the day, in their bed, arms around him.

How could he have possibly been so stupid?

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles

Johanna Oakley will do anything to save her beloved Arabella from the cruelty of Mr Fogg’s madhouse—but ‘anything’ turns out to be more than she bargained for when she finds herself working for a man suspected of worse than murder. As Johanna is plunged from the horror of Sawney Reynard’s barber shop into the foul, lawless labyrinth at the heart of London, can she or anyone get out alive?

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman

Joining Zeta Psi isn’t Steve’s dream, it’s his dad’s. Nevertheless his dad’s gift of the mysterious Bailey flask gets Steve an in to the frat house, and maybe his best shot at being accepted on campus. But the flask’s silver sheen may only be lighting his way into the darkness at the heart of the frat—and the darkness he’s learning is within himself. Steve wants to choose who he is, but choices are dropping like flies as he learns the true mystery of the Bailey flask. How does he give back a gift that’s also a curse?

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale

STAFF SERGEANT JASON ESSEX, YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING ORDERS FROM THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS:

 

REPORT TO: CAIN INSTITUTE [ADDRESS REDACTED]

ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT: GUARD AN ENTITY CURRENTLY HELD IN AN ENCLOSURE AT THE CAIN INSTITUTE. RECORD DAILY MEASUREMENTS. KEEP ANY AND ALL PERSONS FROM ENTERING OR LEAVING THE FACILITY. ENSURE THE ENTITY REMAINS COMPLETELY INCARCERATED. OBSERVE THE ENTITY WITHOUT ENGAGING.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS: THIS ASSIGNMENT WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN FULL ISOLATION. PLEASE BE ADVISED.

Beauties by J.A. Rock

When Dr. Lester Usole attends an event at AI developer Carnificiality, he’s introduced to Beauties: artificial beings designed to provide tailored sexual experiences for their human owners. Lester isn’t interested in sex—but he is fascinated by Ira, a Beauty too violent to be sold.

Lester convinces Carnificiality to give Ira to him. Lester has always wanted the chance to work with an adult AI, and around Lester, Ira isn’t violent. He’s strangely innocent, uncannily perceptive, and his company does much to ease Lester’s loneliness. Except something’s not quite right: Ira roams at night, even when Lester’s sure he’s locked Ira’s door.

Soon Lester is certain of only one thing: Ira has a secret. Something that will link their pasts and change the course of their future—if Lester is willing to face what’s on the inside.

Learn more on Goodreads.

Order it now: Publisher’s Site  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  ARe  |   Apple  |  Kobo

“An engaging anthology of queer fiction filled with monsters, mysteries, and menace.”  — Kirkus Reviews

About the Authors:

Steve Berman

Steve Berman loves to tell stories that are both queer and weird. He was a Zeta Psi back in his college days at and remembers being hazed. He survived and graduated and even earned a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies. He has written and sold over a hundred articles, essays, and short stories. His YA novel, Vintage, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award.

Website: www.steveberman.com

KJ Charles

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, and a cat with murder management issues. KJ writes mostly historical romance, mostly queer, often with fantasy or horror in there.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles, pick up book info and free reads on her website at kjcharleswriter.com, get the infrequent newsletter at kjcharleswriter.com/newsletter, or join her Facebook group, KJ Charles Chat, for sneak peeks and exclusives.

Avon Gale

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Connect with Avon:

Website: www.avongalewrites.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/avongalewrites

Twitter: @avongalewrites

Sign up for Avon’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bOXXp9

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/14237686.Avon_Gale

Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

Sign up for her Newsletter to receive updates about new releases, works-in-progress, and bonus materials like sneak peeks and extra scenes! eepurl.com/bmJUbr

Website: www.roanparrish.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/roanparrish

Twitter: @RoanParrish

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ARoanParrish

Instagram: www.instagram.com/roanparrish

Kris Ripper

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a little kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Links:
The site: krisripper.com

The Facebook group: Ripper’s Irregulars: https://www.facebook.com/groups/405062456366636/
The Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SmutTasticKris

J.A. Rock

J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Website: www.jarockauthor.com

Blog: http://jarockauthor.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jarockauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ja.rock.39

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes [Spoiler-free Review]

17185496

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author(s): Stephanie Oakes

Publisher: Dial/Penguin

ISBN: 0803740700

Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

Since I was a little kid I’ve been drawn to cults. There’s something so exotic and mysterious about people believing so blindly in someone else. No matter how crazy what they’re told is, they’ll still follow their leader to the end of the world if necessary. It’s so magical and disturbing how these leaders are able to rob individuals from their free-will without them noticing. Dreams and aspirations lost to a real-life siren. That’s what this book is about.

This story made me think of so many things. It made me think of how vulnerable we are when we’re emotionally worn. It made me reflect on our own society; is western culture the biggest cult ever created? Are we being deceived into believing we’re free?

A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Minnow is head-strong and that’s precisely what saved her. The character development in this book is outstanding and one of my favorite things about it. When we meet Minnow she’s some sort of “blank slate”. Yes, she’s been taught all kinds of crazy shit in the cult but she’s also starting to question them. Her mind can be molded into a thousand different things and Jude is going to play a big role in her “awakening”. Later on, Angel will also influence her views on the world big time.

Angel is a clear example of characters that make you fall in love with a book. She’s just the kind of person I would want as a friend; honest, smart, opinionated (a little too much sometimes) and a true daydreamer.

This book was so much more that a detective novel and that’s what I loved about it. One of the aspects I enjoyed the most was prison life. It reminded me of a teenage Orange Is The New Black and that sounds amazing to be honest!

giphy

The love story between Minnow and Jude wasn’t too great and I found myself a lot more invested in Jude’s personal story than their romance. Actually I think their relationship would have had a better dynamic within the book if it was a true friendship. Thinking of it, it was a friendship on steroids sold as a romance.

One of the strongest characteristics of this book would be how cinematic it is. The author achieved to write such powerful scenes full of meaning and beauty. There’s a scene in particular that stuck with me and it’s when Minnow is hanging from a tree in the middle of the cold night and sets herself free. Or when her hands are cut off. Or the forest scenes. Or almost the whole book tbh.

giphy1

The Sacred Lies is definitely a one-sitting read and the quality of the story-telling will leave you speechless. It’s not every day that you get to read about topics like rape, religion, death, murder, delusion, mental illness, treason and revenge in a YA novel. I give all my respect to the author and I will be eagerly awaiting her next release.

Seriously, go pick this gem up if you’re brain-hungry.

giphy2

Room by Emma Donoghue [Non-Spoilers Review]

7937843

Title: Room

Author(s): Emma Donoghue

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 0316098337

Rating: 3.5 stars

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

Room was a surprise for me. I usually don’t like overhyped or overexposed books because I already expect so much, they end up falling short. However, Room did the job… Just barely but it still did it for me. I decided to rate it 3.5 stars because while it perfectly depicted the struggle of Jack adjusting to the world around him, the pace was slow and I felt like absolutely nothing was going on sometimes.

giphy

The first half of the book was the most interesting part. It kept me intrigued and at the edge of my seat. One of the things that captured me was Jack’s thought process and understanding of the world; it fascinated me how different he saw the world from inside Room. It made me think about how much the environment we’re raised in can shape our views and our way of thinking.

My heart did break a few times over the +400 pages, especially with Ma. Everything that happens between Jack and Ma means the world to her and even though Jack doesn’t understand a lot of the struggles they go through you see her trying to stay strong for both of them. Her suffering is not written in the pages but you can feel it in every single paragraph. The emotional baggage she was responsible for truly gave me all the feelings because I was able to empathize with my own mother or mothers in general.

tumblr_inline_n32et80z8t1qgpvtz

Ma’s struggles with Jack made me reflect on my own experiences with my mom. It made me think of how my mom must’ve felt when I was growing up and seeing how your child, how is your whole world, is slowly drifting apart from you. I really appreciated that for a moment it made me see the world from a mother’s perspective.

I feel like the second half of it could’ve been told in half the pages. There were times were I felt like I could not keep reading and just wanted to skip to the last chapter and be done with it. It became tedious at times because, like I said, there were points where nothing was really happening. However, I do recommend you stick to reading every bit of it because it is completely worth it.

giphy1

One of the main issues I had with the second half of the book is how Ma’s family coped with having to take care of Jack. I do understand that it must be hard keeping up with a child that knows nothing about the world and asks a million questions per minute, but I felt like Grandma got annoyed way too fast and wouldn’t treat Jack with delicacy sometimes. It is one of the struggles the family had to figure out as the situation evolved but I couldn’t help hating Grandma a little.

I would recommend reading this book if you feel intrigued by psychology and child development and enjoy emotional reads. I would totally be on board for a prequel about Ma’s life in Room before being Ma since I enjoyed so much the first half of the book!

Follow me on Twitter @thebookishgod and let me know what you think!

Coffee Book Tag [YAS COFFEE]

coffee-time

Hey you guys! I’ve been reading these Coffee Book Tags around for a while now and I decided that it would be fun to do it… Especially since it’s coffee because if there isn’t coffee, life is just a mess.

I used the post over at Paper Fury as reference because I thought it was cute and was just convenient because it was the one I was reading when doing it crossed my mind! Let’s get to it, my fellow book bloggers!

**Disclaimer: None of the pictures used in this particular post belong to me.

Black: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

asoiaf-set-810x455

I literally tried to read Game of Thrones a thousand times but it’s overwhelming and confusing; you gotta be mentally prepared and completely determined to finish it. I’ve been wanting to give it another shot lately so I might put on my armor and go to war!

Peppermint Mocca: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of the year.

tumblr_inline_nj54fuo9az1r3o4qf

I love Christmas and a good Christmas book! This one is just gorgeous and I’m definitely reading it this year! Even just looking at the cover it makes you want to put up the Christmas lights and tree!

Hot Chocolate: What is your favourite Children’s Book?

matilda

giphy2I would honestly choose Harry Potter because DUH but I had a feeling that a lot of people would choose HP and I decided to go with Matilda by Roald Dahl. I absolutely adore this book. I grew up watching the movie and when I got the book for one of my birthdays I almost passed out! It’s one of the books that got me reading in the first place.

Double Shot Espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

riders

Riders by Veronica Rossi has it all. From the characters to the plot this book will keep you hungry for more. The world, the concept, the way they have to die before being Riders… JUST EVERYTHING IS FLAWLESS. I literally can’t wait fro the second installment of this series.

Starbucks: Name a book you see everywhere.

15708025-_sx540_

 

Man. MAN. This book has been following me everywhere since before it was released, even after all the hype died down. I literally see it at every single webpage or blog I visit and Amazon keeps pushing it on me to buy it. I’m gonna have to give in and read it relatively soon. Did I say I can’t stand reading overhyped books?

That Hipster Coffee Shop: Give a book by an indie author a shout-out.

jenny-perinovic

A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Perinovic because I read it twice and I can’t get enough of it. Plus, the author is such a cool and inspiring little human! I’ll stop breathing until the sequel is out though…

giphy3

Oops! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

thepilgrimagebypaulocoelho

While it was truly food for thought I couldn’t help but notice a lack of plot. I thoroughly enjoyed the book as an spiritual teaching but as a novel it left me hungry for more… and not necessarily in a good way.

The Perfect Blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

1008362-divergent

I mean… We all know the reasons… We all know the damn reasons.

giphy4

Green Tea: Name a book or series that is quite beautiful.

tumblr_lxwgf8akkj1qzy3cwo1_r2_540

Even though I had my fare share of issues with it, I still thought it held a beauty I don’t see that often. It’s the beauty of the unknown, of lost childhood, and the beauty of tragedy.

Chai Tea: Name a book or series that makes you dream of far off places.

grisha-trilogy-covers

I have a feeling that if this book was a movie, it would be filled with beautiful scenery and just stunning visuals.

Earl Grey: Name your favourite classic.

eb267217977905-562c1bbcce7ee

Dorian Gray (Earl Grey, got it? lol okay) is the first LGBTQ romance to be on my radar, because it is let’s not lie to ourselves. I read it twice and I just love the characters and how Dorian is hiding his ugly soul from the world just like us nowadays in social medias trying to hide our flaws.

AND THAT’S A WRAP!! Comment your thoughts and let me know your fave books or link me to your tag; and if you haven’t done it yet I tag you to do so!

Follow me on Twitter @thebookishgod!

 

 

 

Interview with Lauren James

23266378The Next Together, written by Lauren James, made my Favorite Books of 2015 list (coming soon) and I became completely obsessed with it! I contacted Lauren on Twitter and arranged an interview which she happily accepted. Honestly, she’s one of the nicest authors out there! If you want to check out my review of The Next Together click here. Enjoy!

1. Hey Lauren! First things first, I’d to congratulate you on this book. It is the best YA book I’ve read this year so far along with Sally Green’s Half Wild. To start off simple, how would you describe The Next Together and what does it mean to you?
The Next Together is what I like to call a “reincarnation romance”. It follows the various lives of Katherine and Matthew as they meet and fall in love throughout history. There are timelines in the recent future and distant past, and each time a mysterious being is tracking Kate and Matt’s relationship, and making sure they fall in love and save the world in every life….
I’ve been thinking about a couple who are reincarnated throughout history since I was about sixteen. I always wrote about them during Creative Writing assignments at school! It stuck with me long enough for me to actually start writing the full novel when I was eighteen.

2. One of the things I loved most about The Next Together is how historically rich it is and how accurate it is with all the jumps through time periods and all the different story lines. How were the researching and planning processes for you? They must’ve been a lot of work!

In hindsight, choosing a storyline with multiple historical time periods might have been a bad idea for my first ever novel, which was hard enough to write without the research!

The various plot threads and time periods were also a little complicated to keep track of, I admit! Especially during editing, when I struggled to remember which plotlines I had written, which I had removed from an earlier draft, or had yet to write. As the plot involves time travel elements, this made is especially confusing, both for myself and my editor. I had to make a lot of posters keeping track of plots.

3. Which time period was your favorite to write about? What were some time periods you would’ve loved to write about but couldn’t? For example, I would’ve loved a medieval/Celtic version of Katherine and Matthew!

The 1745 timeline is my favourite because it includes a very flirty carriage ride scene near the start of the book, which I adored writing. It’s full of unresolved sexual tension and intrigue, and it was the very first thing I wrote which clicked for me. At that point it really felt like writing was something that I could do properly instead of just as a hobby.
I’d love to write a novella about the murders at Bletchley Park – I have so many ideas about that! And there is a little medieval short story here.

4. Now since you’ve achieved to write such complex novel, could you give us some advice on planning and organization when writing a novel for the aspiring authors reading this?

I started out writing the most modern timeline, and when I hit a plothole I moved onto another timeline. When I hit a wall, I went back to the other one. Having so many storylines helped keep me writing even when I wasn’t sure what happened next in a particular plot strand. So maybe that will help people getting stuck!

5. Please enlighten us! Who would be your “chosen ones” to play Katherine and Matthew in a The Next Together movie?

Here are my fancasts for the characters – Matt is Ben Whishaw and Kate is Rose Leslie!

tumblr_muctlvhopo1sntj4zo1_r3_1280jcdyvi8

6. We know that The Last Beginning (The Next Together’s sequel coming 2016) will feature a lesbian couple as the main characters (which makes me oh so excited!). What made you want to write about a LGBT couple? Is Clove one of the participants in this relationship? Will we get to know what has been of Katherine and Matthew in the future? Alright I’m just fangirling and asking too many questions BUT TELL US SOMETHING!! Haha

The Last Beginning continues the story of Kate and Matt, as well as introducing new characters Clove and Ella (who are lesbians, yes!). I’m not sure what I can share about it yet, except to say that it’s just as timey wimey and romantic as the first book. I like to think of the series as Jane Austen meets Doctor Who, and that is even more appropriate for the sequel than for The Next Together. I wrote a long looong post about why I wanted to write about LGBT characters here, but the short answer is: Dumbledore!
7. And last but not least, how many books are you planning on writing on The Next Together’s world?
It’s currently a duology, but who knows what will happen in the future! I’d love to write more books set in this world.

 

sam_2429

 

Lauren James is 23, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.
Her first novel The Next Together, a YA reincarnation romance, is out now with Walker Books in the UK and Australia, and will also be published in the USA, Germany, Turkey, Russia and Brazil. The Last Beginning will be published in Autumn 2016. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or Tumblr at http://lauren-e-james.tumblr.com.

The Next Together by Lauren James [Non-Spoilers Review]

23266378

Title: The Next Together

Author(s): Lauren E. James

Publisher: Walker Books

ISBN: 1406358053

Rating: 5 stars

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

Put on your running shoes, get your damn wallet out and get ready to sprint to your closest bookstore! The Next Together is in my Top 3 Favorite Books of the Year for SO many reasons. Hilarious, complex, and eloquently written The Next Together is a gem you don’t want to miss out on. Lauren James has made me rediscover my love for historical fiction and made me fall in love with a book all over again. Honestly, it is one of me most powerful love stories I’ve ever read; you not only get to read one side of the story but it gives you a thousand perspectives that make you get to know the characters in such a deep way.

Katherine and Matthew’s story happens in four different time landscapes, not necessarily in order. In 1745 the story revolves around the Siege of Carlisle during the revolution of the Jacobite against England; Katherine is part of a rich family living in Carlisle while Matthew is one of her servants. During the Crimea war in 1854 Matthew is the first ever journalist who goes to war to report and write articles about the condition of the settlements while Katherine is living her life as a boy spying on what Matthew filters to the media. Both Katherine and Matthew are university students in 2039 and the plot follows them uncovering secrets form their past reincarnation; 2019 which becomes the main and most hilarious time periods of the book.

My favorite reincarnation would be the Siege of Carlisle during 1745 just because the atmosphere of the scenes is wonderful. They pull you in and you won’t even notice you finished the whole damn chapter! While my favorite Katherine would be 2019’s Kate. She is THE MOST hilarious person to ever exist on the earth. I need more of her or else I won’t be able to deal with life for much longer. The only downside I would bring up is that Matthew sometimes felt like a sidekick next to Katherine instead of being the main character he actually is. His personality wasn’t as strong so a lot of the time he felt a little alienated in the whole story.

Their relationship goes through a lot of hardship and misfortunes but they persevere no matter how little opportunity of success there is; and that’s inspiring to read about! Let me just say that Matthew is definitely hubby material; especially 1975 Matthew (Yes. I’m a little obsessed with the 1975 story line).
tumblr_nufq5d8biv1tcp66ro4_500

Lauren’s writing. Oh boy. Her writing is just flawless. She is able to captures what her characters are feeling and make you feel it as well; her atmosphere-setting is beyond words as well! One of the things I enjoyed the most about it is how easy the plotlines are to follow; but at the same time the story line is SO complex and rich in detail. The historical research and all the scientific facts she throws at you can get very accurate and I think that just adds a lot of value to a book because you’re not only reading a story you thoroughly enjoy but you’re also learning history and cool facts.

I just need the next book because the book hangover for this is REAL.
fpjc4uo

When I finished the book I was left craving answers so I contacted Lauren on Twitter and asked to do an interview. Guess what? SHE SAID YES. Her interview will be up on Friday December 18th for y’all to gag on.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo [Non-Spoilers Review]

Title: Shadow and Bone

Author(s): Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Indigo (Orion Children’s)

ISBN: 1780622260

Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

Shadow and Bone is thrilling and amazingly well-crafted but also heart-wrenching and emotional at times. It’s definitely a book worth reading! I started this book a long time ago; it took me a couple of months to finish it and another couple of months to write this review. I read the first half of it very slowly, almost without making any progress at all. These last few months have not been easy and I wasn’t in a good state of mind to read or do anything other than nothing at all. I decided to put it down for a while and pick it up when I was better right where I stopped reading to fall in love with it right away.

At the beginning it can be a little confusing since there’s a lot of world building and a lot of new exclusive vocabulary to learn. You do get used to it and once you get the grip of it you’ll be sucked into a world that will surprise you with every turn. In fact, the world building was one of the things that capture my interest; it was excellently executed! There is a point when all the info the author’s thrown at you comes together to create a well-elaborated world that will keep you intrigued until the very end.

I gave Shadow and Bone 4 stars not because it doesn’t deserve the 5 stars but because the story has so much to potential I feel like I should save the 5 stars for later on in the series.

The characters were very likable, especially The Darkling. He is a character that intrigues me so much and I can’t wait to know more about him and his story. What about a book all about him?! I think I need it in my life!

The love story between Alina and Mal was entertaining. It didn’t fully satisfy me but there’s a lot more of the series to go so perhaps it will evolve into what I want it to evolve!

If I had to choose a term to describe the book I’d definitely choose PLOT TWIST because OH MAN. OH MAN. I feel like the whole book is just one huge plot twist. It had me screaming half the time and rolling around in my room… Literally.

If you’re questioning whether you should read S&B or not, I will decide for you. DO IT. GO AND GET IT RIGHT NOW.

Liked this review? Follow me on Twitter @thebookishgod