Thursday, 30 July 2015

WIN SIGNED COPIES OF THE WINNERS CURSE AND THE WINNERS CRIME BY MARIE RUTKOSKI - INTERNATIONAL - OPEN



If you are a fan of The Winners trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, I think you will love this competition. Up for grabs I have signed copies of The Winners Curse and The Winners Crime, which she signed when I met her at the Young Adult Literature Convention in July. One winner will receive both books, and yes - this competition IS open internationally. All you have to do to enter is follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The first and only rule is that you must subscribe to my YouTube channel The Book Life.  But there's lots of ways to snag additional entries as well, so good luck and I hope you win! 

The Prize:

If you haven't read The Winners Curse yet, check out my video review on YouTube, or my written review here. You can follow Marie on Twitter @MarieRutkoski 



Good luck in the giveaway, and in the meantime please check out my video interview with Marie Rutkoski at YALC, The Young Adult Literature Convention. We discuss favourite books, why Kestrel and Arin are a perfect match, and what to expect from The Winners Kiss.

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The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski - Book Review

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK Childrens Books
Page Count: 359
Buy It: Book Depository
My Rating: 5 Stars


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
 

The Winners Curse is a beautiful book, the story of the Valorians and the Herrani had me hooked from the first page. The world building in this book is richly imagined, the politics, culture and history of this cleverly layered world is so vidid and well described.  Marie manages to paint us her setting in just a handful of words, making the story so vivid and beautiful it was like watching a play unfold in my mind - and an intense one at that. Her writing style is beautiful, so immersive and poetic, making the story not only brilliant overall but also sentence by sentence. 

Kestrel is a unique protagonist because her strength is internal and she relies on her intelligence and quick thinking over physical strength. She's sly, strategic and her love for music is heartwarming. She's a very likeable character, and when she buys Arin from the slave auction the story goes from strength to strength.




We are presented with two equally strong characters who have a deep connection, an undeniable chemistry, but cannot be together for reasons out of their control. The Winners Curse is the perfect blend of both character and plot driven story, making it very difficult to put down. But I wasn't just interested in the romance between Kestrel and Arin, I was invested in this battle between the Herrani and the Valorians, completely pulled into the politics and history of the world.  

This book was a rollercoaster of romance, betrayal, shifting alliances and power struggles. So, basically I loved it.



Okay, so I think I've gushed enough now, and if you are considering picking up this book I urge you to do so. It's one of those stories that gives you all the feels, and now is the perfect time to read them because you can go straight onto The Winners Crime. 

I gave The Winners Curse 5/5 stars, and I also filmed a video review on YouTube. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is top ten books you have acquired recently. To find out more about any of the books listed, just click the cover to be taken to the books Goodreads page. 

First of all, apologies for missing last weeks topic. I was poorly, and haven't had a chance to write these posts ahead of time. 

This week I have only included nine characters, because I didn't want to throw in a character I didn't love just for the sake of having ten, so-enjoy!




1. MacKayla, Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Adult Urban Fantasy
“I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself.” 





2. Cath, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 
YA Contemporary
“To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.” 





3. Katy Swartz, Lux series by Jennifer L Armentrout
YA Paranormal Romance
“Dogeared pages were Antichrist of book lovers everywhere.” 






4. Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 
YA Contemporary
“It is now my favourite book of all time, but then again, I always think that until I read another book.” 




5. Alaska Young, Looking for Alaska by John Green
YA Contemporary
“When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.” 




6. Celaena Sardothien, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
YA Fantasy
“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” 




7. Tessa Gray - The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” 



8. Will Herondale, The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

“It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.”



9. Juliette, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters."

Sarah Jane

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Monday, 27 July 2015

TEA AND TALK - PACKING UP THE BOOKS





This week has been all about packing up the books, every last one of them. I'm getting ready to move house, which means my mind has been busy with so many ideas for my 'creative room' as I'm calling it - a place to write, film, and create. I'm really excited about it, and I can't wait to show you guys. 

I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Maas, and I'm feeling pretty conflicted. I enjoyed the last 30% or so, but overall it was pretty difficult to get into, because I felt like it lacked much of the 'hate turned to love' that you expect from a Beauty and the Beast retelling. However I loved the Faerie lore, it was really well done and I will definitely keep reading the series. But is Tamlin finding his way into my long list of bookish boyfriends? Nah. He just didn't do it for me, sorry guys. Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!




What I love to do with Tea and Talk is shine a light on YouTube videos that I've loved in the last week, and this week it absolutely has to go to the wonderful Emily Jean who is part of the Booktube community.






 She's awesome, I love her personality, her sass and her attitude. This week I watched her amazing video 'Tale of the TBR', and it had me in stitches. It's actually from December of last year, but when I was watching my lovely friend Sam from Thoughts On Tome's 'Booktuber Shoutouts Tag' she mentioned this video and since I'm a subscriber of Emily's anyway, I had to go check it out. Seriously, go watch. It's fantastic. Although, now I feel like all my books are talking to me, so I guess it's pretty good I've packed them all away.

I've just picked up The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, it's not my usual read but I've definitely got sucked into the plot and I'm really invested in the story already even though I'm only fifty pages in. PanMacmillan sent me this book for review, and I'm so excited to get further into the story.




What have you read this week? Any recommendations for me?

Sarah-Jane 

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

TEA AND TALK - YALC. YALC. AND MORE YALC.



I fully intended to cosy up in my hotel room on Sunday night and compose a Tea and Talk dedicated to the wonderful weekend that was the Young Adult Literature Convention. I did. But sometimes you just need a bit of time to soak up all the awesome, and that's basically what I needed to do. Well, that and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

I had an amazing time, the convention was a mixture of panels, signings, workshops and talks and of course there was a lot of book shopping involved. A lot. I met up with friends, made new ones and got to meet some amazing authors. 

(L-R) Dawn Kurtagich, Sarah Churchill,
Lisa from City of YA Books and Sanne 
from booksandquills
One of the best things about YALC was meeting other Booktubers. On the Friday I saw Sanne from booksandquills over at Hot Key Books, and on Saturday I made sure to visit Sarah Churchill who was at the Penguin stand filming videos. I also met up with Lisa from City of YA Books and filmed a couple of collab videos for our channels, which I am really looking forward to editing! I also met the lovely Dawn Kurtagich, who is both Booktuber and author - and we also filmed a collab video in the midst of all the bustle of YALC! And of course I made sure to grab a copy of her debut novel The Dead House before it sold out.



Selfie time with Marie Rutkoski

In my last Tea and Talk I mentioned how much I was loving The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski, and since then I have also devoured The Winners Crime, and consequently fallen head over heels with Kestrel and Arin and their story. I'm new to Marie's books, but they have already found a way into my most favourite YA books of all time. I wish I'd read them sooner. During YALC I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Marie and she is just wonderful. The interview will be up very soon, but in the meantime here's a couple of photos.






Meeting Cassandra Clare was one of the highlights, she admired my steampunk Shadowhunter necklace, and asked me about my blog. She was so friendly and I am so pleased I now have a signed Clockwork Princess and City of Bones - I'm smiling just thinking about it. I also had a copy of Clockwork Angel signed for a giveaway, so keep an eye out for that if you are a fan of The Infernal Devices.




I will of course write up a blog post with more in depth thoughts on YALC, but for now - I'll just say it was amazing and I am absolutely going back in 2016. Did you attend YALC? Let me know your highlights below! 

Sarah-Jane




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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Recently Acquired Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is top ten books you have acquired recently. To find out more about any of the books listed, just click the cover to be taken to the books Goodreads page. 

1. The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Last week I featured The Winners Curse on Top Ten Tuesday as I hadn't read it yet. Now I have, and it's beautiful, exciting, and I am completely in love with the world and characters. I've wanted to pick it up for a long time, but I took the plunge a few days ago because Marie Rutkoski is going to be at YALC, and I'm so excited!

2. The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski
This is the book currently on my nightstand, I'm around a hundred pages in and it's amazing. I bought this book at the same time as the first, and I am so glad I did!

3. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
I've wanted this for a while, but since my other books are in paperback I had to wait for The Bane Chronicles to be released in paperback also. I can't wait to read it!

4. The Bones of You by Debbie Howells
This book was sent to me for review from Panmacmillan, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like a really exciting read, and I'm very, very excited to pick this book up.

5. Lover Eternal by J.R Ward
I picked this book up at my local charity shop for 50p along with some others in the series. I read the first book and really enjoyed it, so when I spotted these at a bargain price I picked them up in a flash. 

6. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
I'm a huge fan of Carrie's youtube channel, I think she has such a lovely personality and she's a fantastic role model for young girls. I know a girl who absolutely adores Carrie, and she's approaching her teen years so I picked this up to get it signed for her next week at YALC. 

7. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
I know what you're thinking - I've read every TMI book in existence, and you're right. But my cousin has recently got into The Mortal Instruments and he's loving City of Bones so I picked this one up when I saw it in a charity shop for 50p. Anything to get more Shadowhunters in the fandom!

8. Tithe by Holly Black
This book was given to me by a friend who knows how much I adore anything related to Fae or Fairy Tales. She didn't enjoy it personally, but we have different book tastes so it will be interesting to see what I think about it.

9. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
This book was sent to me for review from Penguin Random House/Transworld Publishers and it arrived wrapped up in ribbon with the prettiest tag, it was lovely. I've read it now, and those who are fans of the first book, The Queen of the Tearling will love this instalment.

10. A Night In With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday
I won this book in a giveaway courtest of W6 Book Cafe, along with two tickets to a screening of Breakfast at Tiffanys with a live orchestra. I'm such a huge Audrey Hepburn fan, so I was delighted to win this prize. 

That's my top ten books I've acquired, tell me about your most recent additions in the comments down below! 


Sarah-Jane 




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Monday, 13 July 2015

TEA AND TALK - YALC, AND THE WINNERS CURSE




It's been so hot this week I've favoured a cold Sprite over a cuppa, I know some people still love a good cup of tea when it's hot but I'm not that person - I needed a nice cold drink. So, we'll call this...Sprite and Talk?

This week I managed to pick up some bookish bargains in the local charity shop. If you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of charity shops - and this lovely lot cost me around £4 total. Squee for book bargains! The Cassandra Clare books are for my cousin, he's currently reading City of Bones.



I also finished listening to the audiobook of To All The Boy's I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, and I fell in love with it. It's the perfect summer beach kind of audiobook, and it's so much fun to listen to. Check out my review if you're interested in finding out more about it. 


For those of you who don't know, next weekend is YALC - the Young Adult Literature Convention and I am SO excited. I'm planning on being there for all three days so if you see me, please come and say hi because nothing would make me happier than meeting some of you guys who watch my channel or read my blog. Plus, I got bookmarks to give away, so - there's also that. Check out my YALC video here.


In preparation for YALC, I started reading The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski and oh my gosh is it amazing. It's seriously, seriously wonderful and it's full of beautiful writing, angst and a kick ass female heroine named Kestrel. It's divine, and I am currently reading The Winners Crime. I can't wait to meet Marie Rutkoski and get my copies signed. And...I'm also getting an additional copy signed to give away! 

Hope you guys had a great week, and I hope to see some of you at YALC!

Sarah-Jane

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Friday, 10 July 2015

Shadowhunters. It's time to get excited.


When I discovered that Shadowhunters had been picked up by ABC, I literally did excited fangirl sea lion claps around my bedroom. I'm a massive fan of the Shadowhunter world created by Cassandra Clare, and when City of Bones didn't become a box office success, the scriptwriting student in me knew we wouldn't be getting City of Ashes as a movie. But thanks to the dedication of the Shadowhunter fandom, it's coming back as a TV show and I couldn't be any more excited! The TV show is a reboot, meaning everyone has been recast and I am dying to see the pilot. Can it be 2016 now? Please.

So far we've had this little teaser which you can watch on YouTube. In the short teaser we see flashes of New York reflected in the mirrored Angelic Rune, and while it isn't much we're lucky to have anything at such an early stage. 

It's clear the marketing team behind Shadowhunters knows how obsessive this fandom is, and they are giving us so many sneak peeks it's impossible not to get excited. Which of course is the point, after all. So here's a rundown of some of my favourite snippets from the show so far.




We've seen our Clary embrace her carrot top locks. For me, the precise shade of red was never an issue, I think many things are open to interpretation and the things I'm fussed about go much deeper than hair - but let's face it, she's perfect.

I'm sure Katherine McNamara is going to make a wonderful Clary, she's been sharing so many cute selfies and snaps from her time on set and I'm loving it.







Clace. We've actually gotten quite a few snaps of Clary and Jace together, and it's enough to make my fangirl heart flutter. I was a huge, huge fan of Lily and Jamie (especially Jamie, he was perfect to me) so naturally I was pretty concerned about the Jace casting. I was worried we'd end up with a pretty poster boy version of the layered, witty bad boy but from what I've seen, Dom seems to be embracing the role and I am really excited to welcome our new Clary and Jace.







Another thing is that Hodge is, well...HOT. Hodge actually isn't that old in the books, he was aged up for the movie. Beth Crowley nailed it perfectly in her 90 second song back in May. It does feel kinda weird saying it out loud though doesn't it? He's going to be played by Jon Cor, which is arguably both the perfect surname and pun in one. Hodge is hot. Cor, Hodge - is hot. Sorry. I'm so sorry. I couldn't resist.





And finally, the Silent Brothers are perfect. Horrifying, and utterly perfect. 
Improving on what was already pretty impressive for the movie, the Silent Brothers for Shadowhunters are eerie, disturbing, and exactly how I imagined them. It gives me chills. 




To keep up to date with all the official Shadowhunter news, clips and sneak peeks, make sure to head over to http://www.shadowhunterstv.com. 

Sarah-Jane 




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Thursday, 9 July 2015

To All The Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count: 355 
Buy It: Book Depository
My Rating: 4 Stars



Goodreads Summary

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.



Sometimes you just need a cutesy, fun contemporary novel - and that's what this is. I listened to To All The Boys I've Loved Before on audiobook, narrated by Laura Knight Keating, and it was wonderful. She had a brilliant way of bringing all the characters to life, and towards the end of the story I felt as though I was listening to a movie, she nailed the characters emotions perfectly. 

Lara Jean was a character I had trouble connecting with in the beginning because while the book is YA, she came across much younger than actually is. I found her frustrating, and I honestly didn't think I was going to like this book at all. But the more I listened to it, the more I fell in love with it. The romance element was not what I expected, and I found that the story surprised me in more ways than one. 

This book has a strong theme of family throughout the book, the relationship between the Song sisters is genuinely lovely, and I couldn't help but feel envious of their closeness.  Lara Jean is a very naive, innocent kind of teenager, and this book is all about her pushing past her comfort zone and discovering who she is as an individual, not as a little sister of Margot, or a big sister to Kitty. Honestly, this book isn't really my usual cup of tea, but I gave it four stars because ultimately - it's everything it should be. Sweet, funny, and it gives you the warm fuzzies.

This book is suited to those who are fans of Stephanie Perkins, they are both fun, sweet contemporary books, perfect for summer reading. If I'd have had this book in my hands when I was a young teenager - it would have become one of my favourite books in an instant.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is the first book in a two part duology, and the second book 'P.S I Still Love You', was released in May 2015 so this summer is the perfect time to read these two books back to back - and trust me, you'll want to start the second book immediately. I know I do!



Sarah Jane
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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Every Last Breath by Jennifer L Armentrout


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights anticipated upcoming releases. This week I'm talking about Every Last Breath by Jennifer L Armentrout.


Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…
 
Every Last Breath is released July 28th 2015

I'm a huge fan of JLA, she's one of my favourite authors and she is my ultimate paranormal romance author. She knows how to write swoon worthy bad boys who have just the right amount of snark, and it goes without saying that I totally ship Layla and Roth, so I know who I'm placing my bets on.

Haven't read the first two books in The Dark Elements series? Check out my spoiler free video review of White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch.


Sarah-Jane


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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Hyped Books I've Never Read



Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic (and my first!) is 'Top Ten Hyped Book's I've Never Read'. This list is a mixture of books I am desperate to pick up, books I probably won't read, and books I never will pick up, ever.





1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling.

I know guys, I know. As a child I read the first couple of books in the series, and for the life of me I can't figure out why I stopped, because I loved them. I will pick them up again, because I love the films and I'm planning on going to the Studio Tour in September. 



2. A Game of Thones by George R.R. Martin
Game of Thrones is one of my most favourite television shows, I love it. But let's face it, reading the books is a commitment. And I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.







3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Maas.
Everyone has read this book. EVERYONE. At least, everyone on Booktube has. Luckily, it's the Random Readalongs book for July, so I will be picking it up this month.





4.The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I picked this up purely because of the hype. Have I read it yet? Nope. Will I? Probably, just before the movie comes out.






5. Paper Towns by John Green
I didn't like The Fault In Our Stars, but I loved Looking for Alaska. So I don't know how I feel about picking up Paper Towns. 






6.The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I picked this book up a year ago, fully intending to read it before the movie came out. That didn't happen, and I ended up giving it to my cousin. I know we should make our own judgements on books and ignore what other readers think, but there are so many people who didn't like this book it really put me off. I just don't think it's for me.



7.Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James
Does this even need a reason? I love a bad boy, I do. What I do not love, is a story of abuse dressed up as a dark romance. What I love even less, is when people think you just couldn't handle the sexy time. Bitch please, I've watched Game of Thrones and True Blood, and my favourite contemporary read is Ugly Love. 




8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This book I am DYING to read, and it's sat on my shelf just waiting for me to pick it up. My bookshelf is full of books I am so excited to get to, but just haven't yet and this is one of them. I've heard amazing things about this book, and I am definitely going to get to it in the next few months. 



9. The Winners Curse by Marie Rutoski
This book has been doing the rounds on Booktube in the last few months and I bought it this week. It's got some serious hype and I hope I love it as much as everyone else does, especially considering Marie Rutoski is attending YALC in July. 




10. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
There was a lot of hype surrounding this book prior to it's release, and it has an absolutely gorgeous cover. But since it's release there's been a divide in the Booktube community, people have either loved it or hated it, so I'm not sure how desperate I am to read it now. I will, but I'm not rushing to pick it up.


What overhyped books haven't you read?

Sarah-Jane 

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