Thursday, May 26, 2016

TBR spotlight: 5 books I’ve recently added to my Goodreads

So I've decided to start a new feature in which I spotlight a list of books I've discovered and added to my TBR pile. This list will be feature a series of books that will be both old and new, and will sometimes even be themed.

Let's face it - much as we try to keep up with all the publisher catalogues, social media updates and publishers' newsletters, there will always be books that we haven't yet discovered.

What’s more is that for me this will also be a great way to remind me of the books I have for review, that which I’ve added to my TBR pile a while back and is a great way of highlighting books I haven’t gotten around to reading just yet.

I'm sure many of you can relate to the feeling of not being in control of your to-be-read piles, so feel free to join in and compile your own lists.

This week’s focus is on books I’ve added to my to-be-read pile over the last two weeks or so.  In no particular order, here are the top 5 books I’m really excited about. 

Nightfall by Jake Halper and Peter Kujawinski

Genre: YA dystopian, horror, suspense

How I discovered this title: I stumbled upon this title on Netgalley actually. Nightfall was published last year, but the paperback edition is out this year and Bonnier publishing (the UK publishers of this book) have listed this as a title that's available to be requested. I’ve always been a fan of survivalist stories and this one looks like it has that it spades!

About the book:

After fourteen years of Day comes fourteen years of Night. Be sure not to get left in the dark.

On Marin's island, sunrise doesn't come every twenty-four hours - it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold. The shadows are growing long. The dark is rising. And soon it will be Night.

The eerie Evening sunset is causing the tide to begin its slow roll out hundreds of miles, and so Marin, along with her twin brother Kana and the rest of the islanders, must frantically begin preparations to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night. But first the house must be made ready for their departure. Locks must be taken off doors.

Furniture must be arranged just so. Tables must be set as if for dinner. The rituals are bizzare - unnerving, even - but none of the adults will discuss why things must be this way. And then just as the ships are about to sail, the twins' friend Line goes missing. Marin and Kana know where he has gone, and that the only way to rescue him is to do it themselves. And surely the ships will wait?

Because Night is falling. Their island is changing. And something is stirring in the dark.

You can add it to your TBR pile here.

Wintersong by S Jae Jones

Genre: YA, fantasy, romance, retellings, modern adaptations

How I discovered this title: Firstly, how gorgeous is this book cover?

I totally swooned when I saw this on a fellow book blogger’s Instagram feed. Naturally I had to go and do a little research and lo and behold, it’s inspired by two of my favourite works of film and literature respectively; those being Labyrinth and The Goblin Market.  That is pretty much what sealed the deal for me. Just a pity we have to wait until 2017 until it’s published. Never have I sulked so hard when I saw book publication date. *sobs*


About the book:
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says.

Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

You can add it to your TBR pile here.

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Genre: NA, YA, crossover appeal, fantasy, fairy tales, retellings

How I discovered this title: I’ve actually seen this book pop up on my timeline a couple of times but have somehow always ignored it. I’m now currently reading an anthology of short stories in which one of Kat’s stories – Painted Birds and Shivered Bones – features. It’s this short story that has made me fall in love with her writing and world-building, and has finally lead me to adding her first fully published novel to my list of books I need to read asap. Check out the synopsis below.

About the book:
Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now.

As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

You can add it to your TBR pile here.

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Genre: YA, mystery

How I discovered this title: Having read and loved Kim Savage’s After the Woods, a book about two broken girls who deal with the aftermath of a kidnapping in two very different ways
(I’m currently working on some questions for her, so look out for a Q & A and giveaway of this title in the near future), Kim became an author to keep an eye on. And boy, am I glad I’m following her because 2017 will see her releasing a new psychological thriller featuring suicide, dangerous lies, infatuation, messed up characters and a cover that is super, super creepy.  I can’t wait.

About the book:
In Beautiful Broken Girls, Mira sends Ben on a post-mortem quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched — notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry lake. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched, once, by a bad coach years ago.

But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, and has to do with a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie. Beth Clark’s cover is delicately spooky, but the teens in the novel are not delicate. Rather, they love fiercely, protect one another unwaveringly, and risk everything to speak the truth. In the way that the hand on the cover hovers near the heart, there is a mystical secret at the heart of Beautiful Broken Girls that I cannot wait to share with readers."

You can add it to your TBR pile here.

As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

Genre:
YA, crime thriller

How I discovered this title:
This one I’ve seen on both Netgalley and Twitter. From the Scandinavian crime thrillers that I’ve read before (with their no holds barred approach to descriptive scenes), I’d be really keen to see how this one plays out. Also, Bookseller has recently announced that this is being adapted for big screen, so we’ve got another YA series to look forward to.

About the book:
Seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson is hardly your average teenager. She lives by herself in the city of Tampere, Finland, and has a firm rule to mind nobody's business but her own.

But that rule is put to the test when she happens upon five hundred washed euro notes hanging up to dry in her school's darkroom, and it is shattered once Lumikki realises who owns them.

Caught in an increasingly tangled web of deception, corruption and danger, Lumikki finds herself navigating the Tampere's dark underbelly in the search to expose its shocking connection to the international drugs trade. Lumikki is smart, but is she smarter than a master criminal? Can she bring down the infamous 'Polar Bear' - or will she become another one of his victims?

The first part of a thrilling new Nordic crime series, AS RED AS BLOOD will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned... and then some.

You can add it to your TBR pile here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Book review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

A feisty and adventurous young heroine’s very existence is threatened by her father’s growing obsession with the past.

Disclaimer: This review originally appeared on Women24.com. A copy of the book can be bought from Raru.co.za.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (published in 2016 by Hot Key Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishers)

Nix Song is a member aboard The Temptation – a time travelling ship that is capable of travelling to various places in the world at any given time, provided that there is a map of their intended destination and a specific date attached to the aforementioned map.

Using magical means of navigating, Nix and the odd rag-tag crew (of which her father is captain) she’s part of, travel from continent to continent, gathering maps, information and mythological artefacts containing magical properties.

For Nix, time travelling is a way of life; it runs in her blood and flows through her veins.  The only thing that’s getting in her way of really embracing everything she loves about time travelling, is her father’s obsession with a specific date and place – those being 1868 and Honolulu, Hawaii respectively.

The reason for this?  It was the date and place where Nix’s mother died. When they get their hands on a map that might change everything, Nix’s entire existence hangs in the balance. And with no choice but to help, Nix not only risks disappearing entirely, but may just lose everyone – particularly everyone she’s come to love.

Blending a combination of fantasy, history, cartography and mythology, The Girl from Everywhere is a novel that brims with adventure, features a wonderfully diverse cast of characters and even includes a hint of romance.

Think piracy, epic heists and bouts of adventurous shenanigans that border on the south side of sanity, and you’ll pretty much have this book covered.

Frankly, I was utterly spellbound and enchanted by this book.

Heidi Heilig has not only created a cast of characters that will appeal to travel-mad souls, but she’s effortlessly woven meticulously researched detail into her writing, giving this novel an added dimension that will appeal to both fans of historical and fantasy fiction alike.

From the writing, to the characters and world building, this book is a novel that will captivate you right from the start. In fact, we’re barely halfway into the year and I’m already considering this one of my top favourites for 2016.

Full marks to Heilig for creating a cast of characters that are diversity-inclusive, compelling and above all, fiercely spirited.

Nix is the kind of protagonist I long to see in most novels – she’s a gutsy and adaptable risk-taker that takes charge in situations that most people would balk at. She’s the perfect combination of uncertain vulnerability (because of her fate) and voracious outspokenness – attributes that’s just so marvellous to see being so celebrated.

The lushly detailed mythological and historical aspects of this book are exquisite and meticulously crafted throughout the novel and will even enchant readers who aren’t normally fans of books with this kind of detail.

All in all, The Girl from Everywhere is the perfect armchair read for when you can’t afford to travel anywhere. Believe me, after this, you’ll feel as if you’ve been to a thousand places – and all in the space and time of reading one book.

Monday, May 2, 2016

International giveaway: Win a copy of the US edition of Cecilia Ahern’s Flawed + a temporary tattoo (now closed)

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Denisa who has won a copy of Flawed as well as a temporary tattoo. Stay tuned for more giveaways!
 
So recently, the lovely folk from HarperCollinsUK and JB publishers sent me a lovely prize pack of books consisting of Cecilia Ahern’s debut YA dystopian fiction novel, Flawed. 

Since I’ve read, loved and reviewed it - and since I’ve got spare copies - I’m offering readers a chance to win a copy of the US edition, along with a temporary tattoo. 


A photo posted by Tammy (@tammy_bookbell) on


I’ll also be doing a giveaway for a signed copy of the UK edition, but that will be as part of the Women24 book club newsletter and will be open to South African residents only. More details on that to follow (if you don’t want to miss out on the chance to win that signed copy, you can sign up for the newsletter here ).

In the meantime, international lovelies, if you’d like to win a copy of Flawed, along with a temporary tattoo, all you need to do is leave a comment and tell me which underrated dystopian series/standalone novels you’d recommend to lovers of the genre and why.

Giveaway closes 25th May.

Being a follower is not required, but it is always appreciated. You do score bonus entries if you tweet about the giveaway.

Good luck to all!