Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cover reveal: Spark by Holly Schindler

Today, thanks to HarperTeen and YA author Holly Schindler, I’m excited to be part of the cover reveal for Holly’s forthcoming book, Spark.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a fan of books about star-crossed lovers and Spark is a book that, well, has that in spades. Or so it certainly seems to me.  Also, the theatre (we use UK spelling here in SA by the way) as a setting? Oh yes please.

Without further ado, behold the gorgeous cover! Be sure to scroll down for more info about the book and more about Holly.

About the book:
When the right hearts come to the Avery Theater—at the right time—the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.

Or so Quin’s great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri’s most tragic night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage.

It was the night that the Avery’s marquee lights went out forever.

It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe, especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly.

It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theater and a happier ending can still be had—one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theater, but also the decaying town.

However, it hinges on one thing—that Quin gets the story right this time around.

Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theater to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile.

How the idea for Spark was “sparked.”


“In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theater on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains—let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theater, where literally anything goes…”  

About Holly:

Holly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal).

A writer of books for all ages, Schindler’s MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children’s book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama.

She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women’s fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT.

She can be reached through her author site:, and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter:

Spark “Premieres” May 17, 2016, but you can buy your “tickets” now.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This beautifully rendered fantasy novel features a daring heroine, tortured hero and a world cloaked in beauty and deadly secrets.

A copy of the book can be purchased via

Disclaimer: Review first appeared on

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (first published in 2015 by Bloomsbury UK)
As an avid lover of all things fairy tales, myth and folklore, A Court of Thorns and Roses proved to be a book that was just up my alley and one that I’d certainly say ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the more traditional books about the fey (ya know, the bloodthirsty, not-so-fluttery kind).

Darkly enchanting, sensuous and lush in its settings and descriptions, this book combines elements from two fairy tales as well as a traditional piece of folklore based on an old Scottish ballad, to tell the story of Feyre, a young huntress who finds herself in the fairy borderlands after inadvertently getting herself into trouble.

Punished for taking the life of a fairy, Feyre, in exchange for not losing her life, is forced to live out the rest of her days in a world that is as beguiling as it is deadly.

Though she is treated well by her captors, it soon becomes clear that the new world she inhabits not only poses a potential threat to the human realm, but perhaps to the very existence of the fey themselves.

With no choice but to rely on Tamlin , whom the fiercely independent Feyre eventually develops all sorts of unsettling feelings for, she soon finds herself navigating through treacherous territory - thrown headlong into ruthless fairy politics, old curses, bloodshed and violence.

With her home, heart, family and the lives of those who she’s come to love all at stake, Feyre soon learns that some sacrifices require the ultimate price.

Ok, so just in case I didn’t make it clear... I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!

From its plot and beautiful writing, to the characterisation and storytelling, A Court of Thorns and Roses has proven to be the kind of fantasy novel that I’m always on the hunt for, but never seem to find. 

With a fiercely courageous and gutsy heroine, Sarah J Maas has brought to life the kind of heroine we’re all eager to see more of in fiction.

Relentless in her duty to protect her family, and brave-to-the-point-of-stupidity in the face of mortal peril, Feyre is the kind of protagonist that does everything in her power to help those she loves, even if she doesn’t always get along with them.

With no choice but to go along with the consequences of her actions, she’s quick to make the best of the circumstances, while being smart enough to be on the lookout for the first opportunity to escape.

The most interesting thing about her is the fact that, while she’s a gifted huntress, she’s also illiterate, an important fact which comes into play during the course of the novel.

A huge round of applause goes to Sarah J Maas for weaving this in so effortlessly without making Feyre any lesser of a character for it.

Being part her struggle to find her way around her inability is a huge part of what makes this book such a joy to read. Yes, she has her pride, but oh is she a fighter. She’s fierce, determined and is a badass warrior queen in my eyes.  

Then, of course there are the fae.

And oh my soul, are you going to swoon!

This book has heaps of devastatingly beautiful fairy men - our protagonist’s love interest - Tamlin, shape-shifting high lord of the Spring Court, upping the swoon factor even more with his gentlemanly ways, wicked roguishness and kind heart.    

There’s Lucien, Tamlin’s emissary, who with his devastating wit, scarred-but-handsome visage and cheek, will quickly find a place amongst the favourite secondary-characters-who-should-get-their-own-story category.

And last, but not least, Rhysand (one of my favourites), whose morally ambivalent ways will keep you on the edge of your seat and will have you begging for more by the end of the story.

This is the kind of book that will satisfy lovers of romance and fantasy alike,  bringing to life the deadly and enchanting allure that many fantasy tales steeped in folklore, are often known for. 

Beautifully written, action-packed and filled to the brim with plenty of heroes, heroines and villains to keep you utterly enthralled, Sarah J Maas’s fairy tale retelling is an exquisite read worth spending money on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book review: Wicked as They Come by Delilah Dawson

In today’s mini reviews feature, I share my brief thoughts on Deliliah S. Dawson’s  Wicked as They Come.

Source: Purchased a copy of the book through 

Summary: Goodreads
Publication date: 27 Mar 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

When nurse Tish Everett forced open the pesky but lovely locket she found at an estate sale, she had no idea she was answering the call of Criminy Stain, from the far off land of Sang.

He’d cast a spell for her, but when she’s transported right to him, she’s not so sure she’s ready to be under the spell of another man. 

(It didn’t go so well last time with controlling, abusive, domineering Jeff.)
If only Criminy wasn’t so deliciously rakish….

Half the inhabitants of Sang are Pinkies—human—and the other half are Bludmen, who in Tish’s world would be called vampires. But they don’t mess with any of the bat/coffin/no sunlight nonsense.

They’re rather like you and me, just more fabulous, long living, and mostly indestructible. (They're also very good kissers.)

 But when the evil Mayor of Manchester (formerly Bludchester) redoubles his efforts to rid Sang of the Bludmen once and for all, stealing Tish’s locket in hopes of traveling back to her world himself for reinforcements, Criminy and Tish must battle ghosts, sea monsters, wayward submarines, a secret cabal, and thundering Bludmares to get the locket back and allow Tish to return home…but has she found love with Criminy?

Could she stay in Sang forever?

What I thought of the book:

Look, I’m not going to lie. While I certainly fell in love with the synopsis of the book, a huge part of me bought this book because of the cover.

I mean, just look at that beautiful man, right? In fact, I’ll give you a moment…


Of course, I just had to pay for my momentary weakness because I read up until page 94 and just couldn’t finish the rest.

There is no doubt in my mind that Delililah Lawson is an incredibly awesome writer. In fact, despite me not finishing this book, I’m definitely planning to read more of her work. I mean with the concept that she’s come up with, how could I not want to?

Think gypsy vampire, add a travelling circus that employs both  human and mechanical clockwork creatures, and shake things up by including a young nurse who gets to time travel and experience this and so much more.

There was no way that this book couldn’t be anything but a winner in my eyes. Except, somehow it just failed to live up to my expectations.

You see, the problem for me though is that with some steampunk fantasy novels, I often find that so much time and dedication is spent on creating a believable, eccentric and off-the-beaten-path kind of  setting, that character development tends to suffer for it.

Unfortunately, this has been my experience with Wicked as they Come. Bohemian settings, intricately detailed descriptions of clockwork creatures there were aplenty, but the characters and character chemistry? Felt rather flat to me.

And because I got bored with the characters and their story as a result of this flatness, I also lost interest in the setting and eventually the story itself. A pity because I think this would have been an otherwise awesome book.

But, don’t let me dissuade you – there are plenty of people I’ve seen who love this book.

I guess it just wasn’t meant to be loved by me.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Book talk: Your favourite underrated fantasy novels + ACOTAR & Queen of Shadows Winners

So I’ve been meaning to do this post for some time now, but life, as you know, has a way of interrupting and as a result, this post had to take a bit of a backseat.

But without further ado, it’s time to announce the winners of the A Court of Thorns or Queen of Shadows (depending on the reader’s choice).

In the last post, I asked you to recommend a fantasy novel that you think more people should know about.  I’ve gotten some great responses in return and thought I’d share them in this post, along with the winner details.

In no particular order, here are the novels that, based on your recs, I’ll definitely be checking out:

Tracy: Man of his word by Dave Duncan. Not given good press but it is a good read.

Yun-A:  This is hard but I would have to say Elizabeth C. Bunce's Star Crossed series. It's a set in a fantasy world, much like Throne of Glass and the world is amazing.

Nicc209: This is hard... I'd say the Healer series by Maria V. Snyder, the first book being Touch Of Power. I never see them in store, only online! But they're very good books!

Maria: I vote for The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness! ♥ Deborah is a history professor and the history parts are so good!

Monique: I vote for Chime by Franny Billingsley. It's gorgeously written and has a wonderful romance.

 I think more people should know about this book because it is far better than a lot mainstream Fantasy and is also a great read for those who feel intimidated by thicker fantasy novels. It would make a great movie too. Read Chime!

Naafia: Well, this is a hard choice, isn't it? After staring at my bookshelf and scratching my head for a good long while, I have finally come to a decision.

The most severely underrated fantasy novel there is out there is ...Enna Burning by Shannon Hale! I think that more people deserve to know about this lovely book for the simple reason that everyone deserves a great read.

It's such an excellent book because of Hale's effortless way of weaving a wonderful world with her words; and because it's different in a good way—none of your usual boring or expected fantasy themes here!

Oh, and one more reason: there are at least, like, FIVE potential book boyfriends in it. Need I say any more?

Munira: The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill! The main character is a warrior-princess of note, the romance is sweet and believable and it involves talking snow-leopards, vampires and werewolves who are actually scary and a warlock.

It's undeniably the most underrated YA fantasy series of all time. The second and third books (it's a trilogy) feature diverse characters and it's full of humour.

The first book is called The Cry of the Icemark and you should definitely check it out! It's pretty easy to find at any library since it was published in the early 2000s. :)

Definitely some titles I’ve never heard of and ones I’m keen on trying. Feel free to keep recommending your favourite underrated fantasy novels in the comments section below.

Which leaves me with one more thing to do. Congratulations to the following 3 winners:

The winners of the signed copies of A Court of Thorns and Roses are:

Munira &  Tracy

The winner of a copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses or Queen of Shadows (depending on the choice) is:


Congratulations everyone! Please contact me at tammybell78(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize. To the international winner please include your choice of book that you’d like me to order for you. 

You’ll have 72 hours in which to contact me, thereafter which I’ll select new winners if you haven’t claimed your prize.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book spotlight: Walk on Earth a Stranger + win a set of The Girl of Fire and Thorns series

In today’s book spotlight - with thanks to Rock star book tours - it’s an absolute delight to feature Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger!

Happy book birthday Rae! I don’t know about you, but when I first came across this book, I immediately fell in love with the title.

Never mind that I had no clue what it was about, as someone who’s always been a sucker for flowy, pretty and intriguing titles, this one hit the “you need to find out what I’m all about and read me” button instantaneously.

While I haven’t had the chance to read the book as of yet (purchasing my copy this Friday because: PAY DAY!), I’ve heard nothing but positive things about it thus far.

Today’s spotlight features a US only giveaway, but fear not international friends – I’m planning on doing a giveaway for this in the forthcoming weeks.

In the meantime, here’s all the info you need about Walk on Earth a Stranger. Once again, happy book birthday Rae! Hope you’re celebrating with gold-dusted cupcakes!

About The Book:

Author: Rae Carson
Pub. Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 448

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson.

A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. 

The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. 

Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research. 

Read chapter 1 of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER annotated by Rae Carson HERE!

About Rae:
Rae Carson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy.Her next book, Walk On Earth A Stranger, will be available September 22, 2015. She lives in Arizona with her husband.

Connect with Rae Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a set of the 3 GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback format). US Only.

Ends on September 30th at Midnight EST!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book review: What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

In today’s mini reviews feature, I share my brief thoughts Kieran Scott’s What Waits in the Woods, which was published earlier this year.

Source: Copy of the book purchased via 

Book synopsis from: Goodreads
Publication date: 31 Mar 2015
Publisher: Point
It's a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie's new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail.

The four friends are embarking on a camping trip -- a trip that immediately goes awry.

They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives.

 And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined.
Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances.

What I thought of the book:

So, What Waits in the Woods is my first Kieran Scott book and one that I, overall, found to be a compulsive read. 

In fact, despite finding the main character rather annoying (as in feel-sorry-for-myself, pampered-princess annoying), I soon warmed up to her when it became clear that, in order to survive, she would need to find her inner strength, courage, resilience and most importantly, the willpower to survive.

The friendship dynamic explored in this book, added with the fact that Jeremy, Callie’s boyfriend was not supposed to be part of the girls-only camping trip added an intense, uneasy and interesting aspect to the story. 

I won’t go into too much detail here, but suffice to say that What Waits in the Woods proved to be a novel punctuated with plenty of strained, overwrought moments made even more unbearable by the arrival of a stranger.

 The inclusion of using an urban legend as part of the story’s device added an extra level of creepiness to the book. In fact, I can totally see another story on its own based on this as a plotline (Oh please say you will, Kieran? That would be so awesome).

Regarding the culprit, it actually didn’t take me long to figure out whom the perpetrator in the story was, but that didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of this read.

In fact, if you read closely, it’s not hard to suss out the whodunit in this story, but the beauty of this is that Kieran writes the characters and story in such a way that you can’t help but second guess yourself until at least three quarters of the way in.

I thought this was very well done.

What I’m a bit on the fence with though, is the issue of how the mental health condition mentioned and brought up, was dealt with. The way it is portrayed, kind of left me feeling like people with this specific condition were being demonised. 

The reasoning behind the character in question’s motives left me struggling to suspend my disbelief and had me feeling cheated. 

And even if it wasn’t the author’s intention to portray it in the way that it comes across, I felt as if there could have been more empathy applied to the situation, and not for the mental health condition to be used as an excuse to commit a crime.

There is enough of a stigma surrounding people who are suffering from various conditions who are made to feel ashamed of it and the portrayal in this book isn’t something I’d label as being helpful.

But, that said, the book certainly isn’t an altogether bad read.

Perhaps it may be that I’m reading too much into this since I do have family members with the same condition who have shown no violent tendencies in all of the time we’ve been around this person. 

It is hard not to show a little defensiveness when it comes to seeing how certain characters with illnesses are portrayed, so I’d be willing to grant that my experience and opinion of the book could also have been influenced by that.

What I can say for certain, is that, in spite of my issues with this book, I will definitely be looking out for more books from Kieran - that’s for sure.

Give it a read – who knows, you may end up enjoying this far more than I did.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book spotlight and giveaway: Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

I’m ridiculously about the book that I, thanks to Rockstar Book tours, am featuring in today’s spotlight post.

 I’ve been a fan of Wendy Higgins since I’ve first read Sweet Evil, and in today’s post, I’ve not only been given the opportunity to be part of the book blast, but also to share a link to a recap of the entire series (Sweet Temptation is the fourth book in the Sweet Evil series and it tells the story of the series from Kai’s point of view), a giveaway (US only – sorry international and fellow SA lovelies) and more info about Wendy.

So, without further ado, behold the fabulousness of Sweet Temptation.

About The Book:

Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 485
Format: Paperback, eBook, audiobook

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes.

As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Author Note:
Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai's life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story.

It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

Can't remember what happened in the previous books? Epic reads have compiled an epic (sorry, couldn't resist that one) recap for you. Head on over here, but be warned - there are spoilers!

Go HERE to read an excerpt from SWEET TEMPTATION!

Also check out Wendy's PINTEREST board for KAI!

About Wendy Higgins:

Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me.

She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue.

Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford.

Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood.

Connect with the author:

Giveaway Details:

1 Paperback of SWEET TEMPTATION and a signed bookplate and bookmarks. US Only.

Ends on September 18th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Giveaway: Win 1 of 3 copies of A Court of Thorns and Roses or win a copy of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas (Open internationally)

Hi fellow book lovelies

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog.

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks (I’ve had a very good reason – which I’ll elaborate more on sometime in the future), but know that I haven’t forgotten about the ACOTAR giveaway.

If you have yet to get yourself a copy of this amazing read (my review will be up in the next week or so), you’re in luck because today I’m going to give you the opportunity to win a copy of the book.

Two of the three copies will go to a South African reader and the third one will go to a reader based in any country the Book Depository ships to.

International lovelies – to sweeten the deal, I’m actually going to give you the option to choose between ACOTAR and Queen of Shadows.


Here’s what you need to do:

Simply leave a comment below or tweet me (@Tammy24_7)  with a response to the following question:

Which fantasy novel do you think is severely underrated and why do you think more people should know about it?

Competition closes 17 September and you get two bonus entries if you tweet  or share the competition anywhere.

Monday, August 17, 2015

SA blog tour: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas - Q & A with Sarah

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Sarah J Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses SA book blog tour. 

Thanks to the publishers, I, along with a few other South African bloggers will be spotlighting A Court of Thorns and Roses throughout the week.

With Queen of Shadows just a few weeks away from being released, we thought that there’s no better time to remind you about her latest book, which is a departure from the Throne of Glass series, and ventures into the age old world of fairy tales and folklore. 

And trust me, it’s all as wonderful as it sounds.

There’ll be giveaways (yay!), reviews and top 10 lists, to mention but a few.   

In today’s first two stops though, I get a chance to chat to Sarah, and the awesome Nerine reviews the book on her blog.  Nerine has also kindly agreed to donate her signed copy for the purpose of one of our giveaways, so look out for more details on that to come.

In the meantime, here’s my interview with the lovely Sarah, followed by information about the book, and the rest of the tour schedule.

Thanks for joining me on the blog today Sarah!

A Court of Thorns and Roses has been described as a combination of Tam Lin (which just so happens to be one of my favourites), Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun, West of the Moon.  How did your story evolve into one that draws inspiration from these specific tales?

To start off, I feel like I should confess that I’ve been a fan of fairytales for as long as I can remember.

My parents read me fairytales and folklore from around the world when I was young, and when I got older, I read any/all fairytale retellings I could get my hands on.

I’d always wanted to write a retelling of my own (The Throne of Glass series actually started off as a Cinderella retelling, and grew into something original instead), but when I got the initial kernel of inspiration for ACOTAR, there were no fairytales involved whatsoever.

I merely saw this snowy, bleak wood, heard the voice of this young huntress as she stalks through it for game, desperate to feed her near-starving family.

But when I asked myself who she was, who her family was, why they were near-starving, how they’d become poor…I recalled the original Beauty and the Beast legend, in which Beauty’s family was actually a merchant-class family, who had fallen into poverty after the father’s investments had gone poorly.

As soon as I made that link, I realized I had the perfect set-up for the retelling I’d always wanted to write! But rather than do just one retelling, I decided I wanted to blend some of my other favorite folktales—East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Tam Lin.

All three have similar elements, actually—though the latter two also have go-getter heroines who ultimately save their love interests from the clutches of powerful, wicked queens.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon probably provided more structure to the book than the other two—the first half is a love story/mystery, the second half pure adventure and action.

It’s from that folktale that I drew the most heavily, but in all honesty, despite this book starting off as a retelling, I still think of it as more of an original fantasy novel with nods to all three of those fairytales if you know where to look.

How different did you find the writing process with this novel in comparison to the books in your Throne of Glass series? What changed for you?

Honestly? Not much. Writing every book is a different journey and requires a slightly different process, no matter what series I’m writing in, but the core elements of how I write remain the same.

The only big difference for me was writing in first person—having to limit myself to only Feyre’s point of view and knowledge of things.

It required me to get creative about how she learned secrets/information that other characters knew and she didn’t (in third person, I can just switch perspectives to convey information the reader needs to know but some characters might not).

But in some ways, having two series with different styles of narration actually keeps things fresh/exciting. When I get sick of one, I can go work on the other. I never get bored. :)

What can readers who’ve read your previous books expect to encounter in A Court of Thorns and Roses? What do you think will surprise them most?

Oh, definitely expect another fierce, interesting, kick-ass heroine—and some pretty hot dudes! And there’s magic, and violence, and cool/creepy creatures.

But one thing readers might find surprising is that even though Feyre is physically capable (though definitely not as strong as Celaena), she is a quieter sort of heroine—she thinks before she speaks, is more emotionally-closed off, has massive trust issues, and still has yet to learn who she is and what she wants.

Another thing that might surprise them is that the book is a bit more steamy than my TOG series (i.e. no fade-to-black!). ;)

Can you give us a quick introduction to some of the characters we’ll get to meet in A Court of Thorns And Roses?

Well, Feyre I’ve spoken about already. But I feel like the three hot Fae men deserve *some* mention, so…

There’s Tamlin, the shape-shifting Faerie lord, who is very broody and snarly and has lots of secrets.

There’s Lucien, Tamlin’s second-in-command, who likes nothing more than to piss off Feyre and be endessly snarky.

And then there’s Rhysand, who….I won’t spoil who/what he is. ;)

I’ve read that you absolutely adore fairy tales. Does this mean that we’ll get to see more books inspired by fairy tales written by you? If so, which underrated fairy tale would you love to give your own spin on and why?

I certainly hope so! I have a feel other retellings floating around in the back of my mind (some already written, some just ideas), and I’d love to get the chance to tell them one day! As for which one… my lips are sealed. ;)

Thank you so much for your time! We hope you’ll come visit us in South Africa some day!

Thanks SO MUCH for having me!! I’d be honored to visit!

About the book (you can purchase a copy from

When 19-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it.

Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae.

But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile.

About Sarah:

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music.

She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV.

When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

Tour schedule:

Monday – 17th Aug

Tammy @ The Book Fairy’s Haven: Q & A with Sarah

Nerine @ This is my world: Review

Tuesday – 18 August

Hannah  @ Fully booked reviews: Top 10 list

Wednesday: 19 August

Monique @ Paranormalsphere:  Review of ACOTAR

Thursday: 20th August

Kyra  @ Blog of a Bookaholic  - Review

Tammy  @ The Book Fairy’s Haven – Review

Friday: 21 August

Hannah @ Fully Booked reviews – Review

Giveaway post:  Win 3 copies of SJM - TBA

UPDATE: Due to some eye health issues, I've been unable to get around to posting my review and giveaway post. All will be resumed this week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The final and mind-bendingly twisty conclusion to a series that proved to be unpredictable right from the start.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (first published in 2014 by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Disclaimer:  A Shortened version of this review first appeared on 

Please note: As this is the conclusion to a trilogy, this review may contain spoilers for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (book one) and The Evolution of Mara Dyer (book two).

Let me start off by saying that I really loved this trilogy. It’s not every day that you find a trilogy where you barely find any fault with all the books in the series, and for me, The Mara Dyer collection is pretty close to perfection.

When I first started reading the series, I was initially under the impression that I was simply reading a suspense novel with a paranormal focus of the vampire/werewolf affliction kind.

What I encountered instead was a book series that really didn’t want to fit into any genre per se, but one which, if I was hard-pressed to describe, could probably be categorised as a contemporary suspense novel, with medical and paranormal overtones.

If you’re interested in books that explore genetics and ethics in the medical research industry, paired with an added dose of horror for good measure, then this trilogy will be right up your alley. 

Throw in an unreliable narrator, a dual-narrative structure weaving between past and present AND a mastermind manipulator and you have the recipe for a book that makes for the stuff of urban legends.

With this book being the conclusion to the trilogy, we find that things take a darker turn.  Mara and her friends are trapped in the medical centre which was meant to help her and others like her. Instead, what was supposed to be a rehabilitation centre quickly becomes a place in which she and her friends have to fight their way out of in order to escape.

As they run for their lives, it quickly becomes apparent that the madness they’ve just escaped is only the beginning of the hell they’re about to face. And with Mara already struggling with her inner demons, it’s not long before the group start wondering if the real danger isn’t Mara herself.

Fast-paced, gritty and gory, The Retribution of Mara Dyer had me enthralled from the get-go.

It’s a book that plays with voice and messes with your emotions. It’s a read that will having you playing conspiracy  theorist and one that will make you question everything you know about the human mind, genetic anomalies and that fine line between genius and insanity.

Mara has proven that she’s a character whose story, thoughts and reactions, constantly lead you down paths less travelled. Here you have a girl who has been through so much and gone beyond the realms of what any sane human should have to endure.

She’s come undone, but it’s the fact that she’s in the state that she’s left in that galvanises her into action. And it’s this that makes for such compelling storytelling. 

Michelle isn’t afraid of pushing her characters to the edge of the abyss in order to see just what they’re made of. With Mara, she takes things to a deep and dark level that I’m only just beginning to see more of in YA.

I knew things would even more twisted than before, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to go into such detail.  Not that I’m complaining or anything.

I loved seeing how her relationships with her close friends and loved ones remained so strong throughout the book. 

We unfortunately don’t get to see much of Noah in the first half of the book, but when he enters the scene, boy, does he make an entrance. I certainly adored the relationship between the two of them and couldn’t help but feel for them given all of the opposition these two had to endure.

However, ultimately, this book isn’t about romantic relationships (yay for the very smexy moments between Noah and Mara), although it does include it.

No, The Retribution of Mara Dyer is a book that explores human nature in all of its complexities. It’s a battle of wits, control and a desire to play puppet master in the game of survival of the fittest, or in this case, the genetically enhanced.