Fiction Friday: Book Review- Now I Rise by Kiersten White (The Conqueror’s Saga, #2)

Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)Now I Rise by Kiersten White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had major doubts going into this book. It had been about a year or so since I read “As I Darken” and while I did enjoy it, I wasn’t sure that “Now I Rise” would be as good (second books rarely are).  I was wrong. “Now I Rise” was infinitely better and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Since I read “As I Darken” so long ago, I was sure that I wouldn’t remember much of the plot or the characters. In fact, I read about two pages before I realised I didn’t remember the events of the last novel (of course the only thing I remembered was the love triangle between Radu, Lada and Mehmed). Thankfully the novel recounted characters and events from the first book so I was able to read this without having to reread “As I Darken.”
“Now I Rise” follows Lada, Radu and Mehmed as they each go after the thing they want most. Lada wants to be prince of Wallachia, Radu wants to be respected by Mehmed (but any sort of positive attention from Mehmed makes Radu happy because he has an unhealthy obsession with Mehmed) and Mehmed just wants Constantinople. However for each of the characters to get what they want, they have to make difficult decisions- decisions that involve lies, betrayal or brutal deaths.
This book is nothing like what I would usually read. However there is just something about this series that drew me in and refuses to let go. I NEED to know more about these characters. Will Lada get her throne? Who will Mehmed choose? Will Radu ever grow a pair? (Can you tell he’s my least favourite Dracul sibling?) I need answers to these questions ASAP.
There was amazing character development in this novel. Both Dracul siblings see that their way is not always the best and they may need the other. Lada is as bloodthirsty in this novel as she was in “As I Darken”- but this time instead of just threatening people she is a girl of action and I loved seeing that side of her. She is fierce, she is vicious and it is incredible.
“Now I Rise” has a compelling plot and flawless writing which makes the book impossible to put down. Definitely get yourself a copy. NOW!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

I thought that this seemed like an interesting read and I eagerly added it to my TBR…and then I looked at the author’s name- Olivia Drake is the author of the “Cinderella Sisterhood”. More importantly, this book is the latest in that series so I now absolutely have to read ASAP!!! I love the “Cinderella Sisterhood” novels. They’re historical fiction loosely based on fairytales. And somehow, they have something to do with magical red shoes. I’m sharing the full synopsis below:

 

Synopsis from Netgalley.com:

Scandal begins with just one kiss. . .

Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season—until a scandalous mistake ruined her.Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years—a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her—and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

Release Date: October 31st 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

 

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Blogging

I’ve been blogging for about four years now and it never fails to amaze me how many things I don’t know. Despite this it also never fails to amaze me how much I have learnt so far. Here are 10 lessons I wish I knew when I first started blogging:

things-i-wish-i-knew-blogging

 

  1. The importance of social media- I cannot stress this enough. When I first started blogging (a very casual Tumblr that was filled with posts about my day at school and shirtless pictures of Ian Somerhalder), I saw no need to promote posts on social media. Unfortunately this habit carried over when I started blogging seriously as well. I had social media accounts but they were for me and my friends and not my blog.
  2. How to make friends- Okay, this is still something I feel awkward about and don’t really know how to do but I have made far more friends through my blog over the past year than I did when I first started blogging. The great things about having blogger friends is that they get the pits and peaks of having a blog. They get why certain blog-ish things make you excited or disappointed.
  3. The Value of Pinterest- Pinterest is a HUGE source of traffic and I will forever regret not using it in my earlier blogging days. Pinterest is a constant source of my traffic and it isn’t even for recent posts. Once you Pin a post and it’s repin, you can get tons of new views.
  4. Blogging is not always free- When I first started blogging, I didn’t want to pay any money for anything. I was a high school senior with little to no steady income (my allowance was solely reserved for data). So I didn’t have my own hosting and domain. Now that I do, it is a move that I definitely do not regret. Blogging is not always free especially if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger.
  5. SEO- Another great way to get traffic is through SEO. Unfortunately I didn’t know much about SEO so this was not something I used to bring traffic to my blog.
  6. Blogging is not easy- Blogging is time-consuming and tiring. Ever since starting my job it’s been more difficult to get time to blog especially if I happen to be working on a Saturday. As a newbie I assumed I could post whenever I wanted to and no one would care. However if you want people to keep coming back to your blog, you need to have a consistent schedule.
  7. Not all bloggers get free stuff- While I didn’t start my blog in order to get freebies, I was very confused when I saw other bloggers getting free food and clothing vouchers. Why did they get those things? Why didn’t I? (Hint-they’re a) overseas and b) have a larger following than I do so they have a lot more perks.
  8. Free stuff is not actually free- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When bloggers get “free stuff” they usually have to promote it with a blog/social media post. Which, as you can see in point 6, is not always easy.
  9. You don’t have to be online 24/7- When I first started blogging, I was glued to my phone (granted I’m still pretty glued to my phone but that’s usually because I’m chatting to my friends). I didn’t want to miss any social media notification or review request. I do have moments when I’m waking up at 2AM to see if I have review requests for Historical Romance (I get such amazing historical fiction reads, you guys. St. Martin’s Press really knows what they’re doing in that genre) but besides that I leave all blogging stuff for days/times when I’m blogging.
  10. How to Use a Social Media Tool- Like I mentioned in the point above, you don’t have to be online all the time. Using a social media tool such as Buffer, you can give the appearance of being online and you can promote your blog without needing to log into Facebook/Twitter ten times a day.

What things do you wish you knew before you started blogging?

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Spellbound and Ever After by Nora Roberts

Spellbound & Ever AfterSpellbound & Ever After by Nora Roberts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this book was a good read but just not a very realistic one. Both stories deal with the supernatural and of course love is the answer for these two couples. However while Nora Roberts normally uses these elements flawlessly, I found this novel difficult to follow.
The first story, “Spellbound” tells of a couple who have been separated through death and are now brought together. But while Bryna accepts their destiny together (since she has always known Calin is the one for her), Calin is far more disbelieving (which is ridiculous considering he had a childhood of the supernatural). However the story betwen Bryna and Calin is sweet and well-developed despite it’s relatively short length. I really enjoyed this story.
The second story, “Ever After” was just a really painful read. There was too much of insta-love and I did not find any of it believable. The characters seemed weak and I found the entire story to be over-done.
I warn anyone considering this book to proceed with caution.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass #6)

I didn’t really enjoy the first two books in the “Throne of Glass” series and I’m not really following it. But like “Game of Thrones” it is impossible to miss any news about this series. And with my order of Crown of Midnight (which I already read and cannot forgive Aelin for- SHE KNEW WHO SHE WAS! HOW DARE SHE NOT SHARE THAT WITH THE READER? I KNEW WHO SHE WAS AND I FELT SMUG THAT SHE DIDN’T KNOW BUT SHE BLOODY WELL KNEW!!! DAMMIT ALL) and Heir of Fire coming in a few days, I’ve begun to feel pretty excited for the release of “Tower of Dawn”. I really liked Chaol and I can’t wait to see his story.

 

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined

August Bookhaul (I Have No Self-Control)

The day that my mum and I went to the SPCA, we didn’t really get to go to any stores. My dad was off and he needed the car so we just bought books and that was it. So when it was Woman’s Day (August 9) we decided to go back to the Crescent. I accidentally ended up buying some stuff:

Treat Yo Self (and Yo Shelf too). I bought three books and a gorgeous planner for my blog (IT WAS ON SALE!!!)

“Maybe Someday” and “Unforgiven” were both on sale. However “Maybe Someday” was R70 (part of a buy 3 for R150 deal but I owned all of the other books on sale so I either had to miss out on the bundle price or leave the book behind- obviously I would never do that). “Unforgiven” is part of the “Fallen” series. I thought it was the last book I was missing in the series but I was mistaken. I didn’t own a copy of “Unforgiven” but I also didn’t want it. The book I was missing in the series was “Torment” (which was probably somewhere in the store since several of the “Fallen” books was on sale). Sigh. Oh well. Maybe I’ll get it next month.

I was sure that I was done with books for the month. Until Reader’s Warehouse decided to sell the first three Throne of Glass books for R255. That’s R85 each and a damn good deal. So yeah, I ordered that. And I was so surprised last Friday when I came home and saw this:

A package! For me! So it’s probably books

My first reaction was glee. New books. And then I felt hurt. Why wasn’t I informed that Reader’s Warehouse was dispatching my books? I have a really unhealthy attachment to that store and I felt like they had dumped me. Until I realised it was way too soon for my books to have arrived. So I inspected the box and realized it was from Penguin Random House South Africa. I had seen Penguin’s releases for August/September and they look amazing! And so were the books inside the package- two books I was sure I would be purchasing soon.

You guys have absolutely no idea how excited I am. “Now I Rise” was one of my most anticipated reads and I’ve been stalking “Final Girls” online because it looks so intriguing. I cannot wait to dive into these books.

What’s on your TBR? Did you cave in and buy books when you weren’t supposed to? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

FirstsFirsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mercedes has an unusual after-school activity. She helps virgins learn how to have sex. Mercedes believes other girls should have the special first-time experience she never did and so she coaches their boyfriends. But Mercedes’ life is about to get more complicated. As she tries to stop her unique service, things don’t work out as planned and everything starts to spiral out of control.

I absolutely loved loved loved this book. It was so well-written and the characters are so well-developed. Mercedes seems like a foolish girl but it’s hard to not feel sympathy for her. I especially liked how sweet Zach was no matter how often she pushed him away. This book was a great coming-of-age novel and I will definitely be reading it again. I recommend this to all fans of YA and contemporary fiction.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

I love Lisa Kleypas’ historicals and I especially love how dysfunctional the families are. The Ravenels series follows a family of misfits (similar to her “Hathaways” series). However the fourth book in this series, “Hello Stranger” doesn’t really follow a Ravenel- or atleast not one that I’ve seen in previous books. There isn’t a cover yet since the book only releases next year but here’s the synopsis:

 

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.Com:

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of an unconventional beauty who finds passion with the spy who can’t resist her

A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man – why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Release Date:  February 27th 2018 by Avon

My 7 Favourite Fantasy Authors

I love fantasy novels. They allow me to escape the real world for an hour or two without having to leave the comfort of my bed (which IMO is the best kind of travelling). Here are seven of my top fantasy authors:

My 7 Favourite Fantasy Authors

  1. Sarah J Maas- Sarah J Maas is my QUEEN! I don’t even care about her “Throne of Glass” series but I am so very obsessed with the “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series that I believe she should be mentioned first on this list. If you haven’t read ACOTAR yet go and get it. I promise it will be worth your while.
  2. Rachel Morgan- Rachel Morgan’s “Creepy Hollow” series has the same incredible world-building and crazy plot twists that you can find in a Sarah J Maas novel. Also, she’s South African so if you order her books directly from her you can get them SIGNED!
  3. Renee Ahdieh- I’ve only read “The Wrath and the Dawn” duology but I loved it so very much. I think Renee Ahdieh has beautiful writing and incredible world-building. Also the guy is TWATD is super-hot.
  4. Marissa Meyer- Marissa Meyer writes compelling adaptations for the stories that we know and love. Two of my favourites are The Lunar Chronicles series (a steampunk-ish kind of fantasy) and Heartless (a story about the terrifying Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland).
  5. Melissa Delport- Melissa Delport is another local author. I am utterly in love with the vampire, Drake from her Guardians of Summerfield series (I fall in love with alot of fictional characters if you didn’t already know that).
  6. Richelle Mead- Vampire Academy was one of my all-time favourite vampire series and that makes Richelle Mead one of my all-time favourite authors
  7. J.K Rowling- Because I will love Harry Potter. Always

Who are some of your favourite fantasy authors? Let me know in a comment.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Shooting for the Stars (Gravity #3) by Sarina Bowen

Shooting for the Stars (Gravity #3)Shooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Stella has had a crush on Bear for most of their childhood. However after he turned her down in high school, Stella has to content herself with just being his friend. Until one night when he has a crappy day and Stella is the one who comforts him (and somehow they end up in bed together). But any chance of a happy ever after is ruined when Stella finds out that her brother- and Bear’s best friend- has been badly injured in an accident.
I’ve read most of the Ivy Years series and I really enjoyed it. I love Sarina Bowen’s writing style and her characters. However this book seemed really filled with angst which kinda spoiled it for me. I did still enjoy it but I miss the lightness of the Ivy Years (maybe I should just go and finish the last few books in the series).
I loved the romance between Bear and Stella. I also loved the characters of Hank and Callie and will definitely be tracking down their story. This is a great read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys romance novels.

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