A Throne of Swans by Katharine Corr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a free review. While this was not a title I requested, I was instantly intrigued by the synopsis and started reading (and then purchased the Kindle copy so I could read on the go).
‘A Throne of Swans” begins with Aderyn whose dad passes away, leaving her as the Protector of Atratys. In this world, nobles are able to transform into a bird that represents their family house. Aderyn’s bird is supposed to be a white swan. But she has been unable to transform since the night of her mother’s death where she was ripped apart by hawks. Aderyn survived the attack but has been hunting for answers ever since. Hawks were supposed to be extinct. So who would have attacked her and her mother?
Aderyn’s quest for answers leads her to the heart of the Citadel where her cruel uncle reigns as King. Despite her father’s warnings that she remain in their land, Aderyn knows that she cannot rest or rule without learning the truth about her mother’s death.
Accompanied with a surly advisor (who for some reason I happened to fall in love with at the very first moment he appeared), Aderyn has to navigate court politics and drama all the while hiding that she is flightless- something that could cost her her position as Protector.
From the very first moment I was hooked by this novel. The world-building is incredible, the plot is filled with suspense and the writing is captivating.
If you haven’t already picked this up, do it now. This is a beautiful novel for fans of high fantasy.
View all my reviews
In 2010, I started writing Twilight fanfiction. I was obsessed with the books and movies and desperately needed an outlet for my feelings. So I chose fanfiction. I created an account on Fanfiction.net and made friends with someone to asked me if I had read The Vampire Diaries. I admitted that I hadn’t though I always wanted to. The books were expensive so I never got the opportunity. She offered to send me PDF copies of the books and I agreed.
I loved the idea of pdf books. Ebooks! That you could read on your phone. What I didn’t know at the time was that an eBook was not a PDF file. No, PDF files were illegal and we were committing book piracy. I sent the files to all of my friends.
Once I was done with all the books, I started looking for others. House of Night. Vampire Academy. Blood Bloods. This continued for years. I would read the books and if I liked them, I would save up money for a print copy.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the library as a kid as my dad was always busy. So these “ebooks” were great for me.
Sometime in 2012 I stopped reading as I wanted to focus on school. I started college in 2014 and discovered Netgalley. I had a lifestyle blog at the time so I requested books on Netgalley and reviewed them on my blog. It was the same thing as high school. Or so I thought.
I had been reviewing books for a few months when I came across a warning on one of my review copies. “This book is for your eyes and your eyes only. Sharing a copy with anyone else constitutes as ebook piracy.” My first reaction was to laugh. Piracy was for music and movies. Not eBooks. Or was it?
I started Googling and was appalled. I had been committing ebook piracy and I had no clue. I especially had no idea how it affected authors or the book community as a whole. I felt awful.
Fast forward a few years later and I still haven’t purchased print copies of all the books I pirated. Though not for lack of trying. It’s not the same and the damage has already been done but I thought purchasing the books would be some sort of atonement.
I know what I did was wrong and I feel really bad (especially considering how often I review books) but at the same time I feel like there should have been more education on the subject.
Nowadays you cannot mention “free pdf copy” without having someone jump down your throat for it but at the same time there are more avenues to get a book than just the library or the bookstore. Amazon, Scribd and Bookbub to name a few.
For me, there are days where I wonder if I would still be pirating if I hadn’t stopped to read that warning on that one book. I am truly grateful that I did.
Alright, so I’m kicking off this new series with my all-time favorite YA series. I don’t know if you can tell but I am SO VERY EXCITED to share this with you!
Feyre and her family were once wealthy but have now fallen on difficult times. But while Feyre’s father has laments his lack of fortune, Feyre goes out hunting to provide food for him and her two sisters, Nesta and Elain.
Elain is a sweet, gentle soul with Nesta is always angry and argumentative. Nonetheless Feyre goes out of her way to provide for her sisters as her family is unable to do so. During one of her hunting trips, Feyre comes across a wolf and kills it.
A wolf fae barges into Feyre’s house and demands payment for the life she has taken. According to some ancient treaty, Feyre owes a life for a life and has to leave the human world to go to the Fae world of Prythian. Always the protector, Feyre goes with the wolf who she discovers is Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court.
Feyre gets to live with Tamlin and his friend, Lucien in the Spring Court. While the house is grand and luxurious, everyone in the court suffers from a curse that has them wearing masks that are magically attached to their faces. Tamlin and Lucien are trying to find a way to fix the curse to ensure that it doesn’t spread to the human world.
Feyre eventually realises that something about Tamlin’s story is not adding up so she decides to capture a Suriel, a type of fae that cannot lie. Suriel gives Feyre a quick history lesson explaining that the king of the fae kingdom is against the treaty with the humans and sent his soldiers to spy on the other courts. This history class is cut short when Feyre is almost attacked and Tamlin comes to her rescue (Flashbacks to the wolf scene from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, anyone? I loved that scene). Tamlin and Feyre begin a sort of friendship after this. Much like Belle and the Beast. Now where’s that huge ass library? Oh wait, Feyre still can’t read.
Feyre starts to overhear conversations about a “her” but no one wants to tell her who this person is. It is the evil Amarantha who has declared herself queen of Prythian.
There is a solstice celebration and Feyre is warned not to leave her room. She does anyway and runs into two fae who are very excited to see her for some reason. What do fae do with humans? Eat them? Torture them? I don’t know. Feyre is saved from the two fae by a gorgeous male with dark hair and blue eyes who pretends he knows her and has been looking for her.
Feyre sneaks back to the house and she and Tamlin shares a passionate kiss. The next day, Feyre’s breakfast with Tamlin and Lucien is interrupted when the male fae from the night before barges in. He is Rhysand and he works for Amarantha. This scene broke my heart because how can you be bad when the book makes you look so good? Also, this question can be applied to many YA villians.
Rhysand demands to know who Feyre is and she gives him the name Clare Beddor, the name of her neighbour back home in the human realm. Tamlin decides to send Feyre back home after they spend one last night together.
When Feyre returns home she sees that her family have a better life. They have a huge house, servants and money. Her father and younger sister, Elain think Feyre has been with a rich aunt while Nesta is the only one who remembers Tamlin in wolf form, breaking into the house.
After a while, Feyre learns that Clare’s home has been burned down and Clare is missing. Feyre decides to go back to the Spring Court, worried that something might be wrong.
Sure enough when she gets to the Spring Court, everything is in shambles and there is only a single servant, Alis remaining. Alis explains to Feyre that Amarantha was an emissary that came from Hybern with her sister, Clythia. Clythia and Amarantha fought in the mortal war together until Clythia fell in love with a human warrior named Jurian. Jurian eventually betrayed Clythia causing Amarantha to hate all humans ever since. Amarantha has been keeping the fae as her slaves. Alis also tells Feyre that she could have ended it all. After Tamlin refused to become Amarantha’s lover, she put a curse on him. He needed to find a human girl who killed a fae and make her fall in love with him (oddly specific but okay then). As part of the curse, no one in the Spring Court could tell Feyre this.
Alis leads Feyre to Amarantha’s mountains where she is found by the Queen’s lackeys and taken to see the Queen. Tamlin pretends not to know Feyre (because he is now a spineless ass) but Feyre sees the burned body of Clare Beddor. Amarantha and Feyre make a deal. Feyre has to complete a task a month for three months and if she does, the fae are all free. Alternatively Amarantha provides Feyre with a riddle which, if she solves at any time, they will all be free immediately.
Feyre’s first task is to defeat a giant worm monster. She manages to complete it but injures her arm in the process. Rhysand visits her with his own bargain. He can heal her but she needs to spend a week with him every month for the rest of her life. Left with no other solution, Feyre accepts his offer. Rhysand marks Feyre with a tattoo as proof of their deal. He also decides to take her out to parties as his date, flaunting her in front of Tamlin who isn’t even allowed to visit her.
Feyre’s second task is to solve a riddle but she struggles with this as she still cannot read (this would have been resolved had Tamlin given her the library like the Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. Honestly at this point, I find Tamlin a waste of a creature). Rhysand helps Feyre to find the correct answer through the tattoo on her hand linking the two of them. He admits that he does want Feyre to win.
Feyre’s third task is to kill three innocent fae. She decides to do it as it is three fae vs the entire world. But when she takes the covering off the third fae, she sees that it is Tamlin. Feyre cannot think of a way out until she remembers overhearing people constantly referring to Tamlin’s heart as being made of stone. Feyre shoves the dagger into his chest. As Tamlin is recovering from the wound, Amarantha flies into a rage and tells Feyre that she never specified when she would free everyone. She starts to break Feyre’s bones. In the middle of her pain, Feyre solves the riddle and instantly everyone is freed. Tamlin attacks and kills Amarantha but she has already broken Feyre’s neck. Feyre is dying but feels herself watching everyone from above.
The High Fae offer up a piece of their magic and Feyre eventually becomes an immortal High Fae. Feyre and Tamlin can finally be together but Feyre feels like a part of her is lost after killing the Fae. Feyre and Rhysand have one last conversation where he confirms their deal before bowing to her and vanishing.
He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“He’s Just Not That Into You” should be required reading for every female.
We all grow up having friends and family assuring us that we are amazing and of course that guy likes us. He just doesn’t know how to show it/just got out of a relationship/is intimidated by you.
Female society is conditioned by these excuses.
This book helps to break that cycle.
I read it once at seventeen (wish it was sooner coz I NEEDED it a year before that) and every so often I like to revisit it.
“He’s Just Not That Into You” paints the revolutionary idea that maybe he isn’t that into you. Maybe he just isn’t the one. A shocking idea at first but once you get used to it, it’s pretty liberating.
No more wasting time and effort on the wrong guy. No more hanging around and waiting for him to call.
If he is into you, he will show you. You will have no doubts. Period.
If you haven’t already read this book and you’re a female. Do it. NOW!
View all my reviews
I discovered “The Bold Type” during a tough time in my life. I had just screwed up an interview for a job that I knew would have been perfect for me and I was in desperate need of a pity party. Now, a year and three seasons later, “The Bold Type” is still a source of constant comfort for me. Whether it is personal or professional, there are tons of great life lessons I picked up from the show.
- Stand up for what you believe in– Kat is one of the most outspoken females I have ever seen and does not shy away from confrontation. She is always comfortable expressing herself and her beliefs no matter what.
2. Failure is a thing. It happens. Move on– As a perfectionist, this really hit home. In life, people fail. It is just a part of life. Onwards and upwards. Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you can’t try again or there’s something else out there for you.
3. Find Yourself a Mentor– Watching the amazing Jacqueline Carlyle motivate and support the girls of “The Bold Type” has really made me appreciate the great female leaders in my life. I specify “great” and “female” because I have only just realized both how rare and amazing they are. Find yourself a kickass mentor who will help you to be your best self.
4. The Importance of a Support Group– Kat, Sutton and Jane support each other through everything (the girls even accompany Jane to a mammogram which is both over the top and against the rules). Get yourself friends that are there for you no matter what. Everything is a million times better with a great support group. Take it from me. 2019 would have been hell if it wasn’t for my girls.
5. Do it if it scares you– My former manager is always saying that “nothing grows in comfort zones” and this is something I believe in 110%. If something scares you, you should seize the opportunity and do it. There is so much that you could learn and so much growth that you can experience.
6. It’s Okay to Be Undecided About Your Career– Over the course of 4 seasons, Sutton has gone from personal assistant to fashion assistant to aspiring designer to stylist. She admits that she is undecided but is also willing to try out new opportunities to see what suits her. As the girl who decided on her career path at 12 years old, I love this!
7. You have to start at the bottom– From season 1, I loved that the girls knew where they wanted to be and they were on the way there. However the flashback episode in season 3 showed us that Jane started as an intern, Sutton was a temp and Kat worked for someone who had no clue how to make hits on social media. I loved taking this look back and seeing where the girls started. This was a great reminder that everyone- even in glamorous TV shows- starts at the bottom.
Do you watch “The Bold Type?” What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt? Let me know below.
Audiobooks are rising in popularity. If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, here are a few reasons why you should give them a go.
- You can read on the go– My favorite time to listen to audiobooks is on the commute to work but several people prefer to listen in the middle of tasks such as housework or cooking. Audiobooks let you listen to a book in situations when reading would be difficult or impossible.
- Less eye strain– If you have trouble with your eyesight or small print, this is a lifesaver. Listening means you can read with your eyes closed. However there is also a higher risk of falling asleep.
- Audiobooks bring the characters to life– Hearing a character speak in your head and hearing a character through a narrator are two very different experiences and I strongly recommend the latter. It’s highly entertaining.
- You can choose how fast or how slow you want your narration– Ever have that moment where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get into your book? You read the same page over and over again but it just doesn’t make sense? With audiobooks you can choose how fast or how slow you want the book to go so there’s no issue with your brain letting you and refusing to make sense of the words.
- You don’t have to physically carry a book with you– With digital media on the rise, this is my favorite both for audiobooks and ebooks. You can have your entire library on your cellphone without having a paperback getting dog-eared in your backpack.
Interested in Trying an Audiobook Service? Here are some of my picks:
- Scribd– I posted an article a while back about how Scribd helped me with my insane book buying habit so this is my favorite audiobook subscription site. It is also one of the cheapest I know. For $8.99 a month (about R135) you can access unlimited ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. It’s like the Netflix of books. When signing up, you get a month free so you can choose if it’s working for you or not. With the referral link I’ve included above, this gives you TWO months free. Give it a go. I promise you won’t regret it.
- Audible– Audible is one of the more popular audiobook sites. For $14.95 (about R225) a month, you can access one audiobook and two Audible originals. Audible is more pricey than Scribd but they also have several new releases and lots of great sales. You also get to keep the audiobooks even once your subscription is over.
- Audiobooks.com– Audiobooks.com lets you download one regular audiobook and two picks from their VIP selection a month for $14.95 (about R225). Like Audible, they also have lots of great sales on their audiobooks.
Have you tried listening to a book instead of reading? What are your favorite audiobooks? Let me know below.
In December 2016, I found a job teaching English online to Chinese students. I applied and waited impatiently for a response. I was convinced that this was it for me. The perfect job. I had the degree. I was a writer. There was no better job.
I made it through two series of interviews without any problem. The interviewer was impressed at my background with Media and writing as well as the fact that I had driven to the office the day before to ensure I didn’t have any issues finding the place.
Unfortunately when it came time for training, the interviewer (aka the manager of the teaching center) was NOT who I needed to impress.
The day after my interview was over, I received an email with a list of items I needed to purchase because the business had a dress code. So I headed to the nearest mall and purchased formal-wear in blue, black and white (colours that the business required).
Excited about my new job, I chatted to the sales lady who seemed to share my enthusiasm especially about the fact that this was not a call center job. I confided in her that I had been so worried that I would end up in a call center because it was so tough to find jobs.
Now remember, at this stage I had only been out of college for one month but sure, I was young and naive. I didn’t know much.
I turned up to training, uncomfortable in my formal clothing and slightly nauseous. I hadn’t slept the night before and was exhausted.
And that was when I met her. The head trainer was a no-nonsense (and possibly no patience) woman. She was tough and demanding and assured us that not all of us would make it through training let alone the second day.
I was scared but I still felt pretty confident. Hello, girl with years of writing experience? English was practically the only talent I had.
But as they laid down rules after rules, I started to have doubts. I was about an hour into training when I phoned my mother in tears. I wasn’t sure I could handle the pressure.
Let me go over some of the rules for you: 1) You must use make-up (understandable as you’re on camera), 2) you have to use the colours required by the business, 3) you absolutely cannot take toilet breaks until it’s your designated time and 4) you cannot tell the students “no” or that they’re incorrect.
This last thing drove me crazy. When we practiced our lessons, I was marked down for things I did wrong but never given any guidance on what I could have done right. It was just “don’t do this, don’t do that”.
Looking back it was clear from the get-go that the trainers didn’t like me. It sounds petty but I remember the trainer asking me what did it mean if a girl had her a good head on her shoulders and then shouting the question back at me when I was unable to articulate my answer properly to her.
At the end of the day, they called me into the office and told me that they didn’t think the job was for me. I was too quiet, too much of an introvert. They told me to go try something else and I could come back when I had more work experience.
I was emotional. I teared up. I asked them if they needed me to complete the rest of the training (there was an hour left) or if I should leave immediately.
They assured me I could leave immediately. I thanked them for their time, said goodbye to the other trainees (who didn’t believe that I was leaving and thought I was joking), cried a bit in my car and drove myself home.
I was sad that I didn’t fit in but I knew if I had, it would have been a disaster. From what little I did see from the work environment, it looked awful.
Blood Truth by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After the death of his (awful) father, Boone is assigned to investigate a series of murders with Butch, a former homicide cop. Their investigation leads them to Helaine, the female who called in the latest murder and who has lost her sister to the vicious killer.
Helaine is determined to catch her sister’s murderer however there are no leads.
It isn’t long before Helaine and Boone start a relationship amidst their shared grief over their lost family members.
This was the first time I could remember being more excited about a mystery than the romance in the book.
From the very first page, the murder mystery drew me in and I almost didn’t care about Helaine and Boone (luckily their relationship was cute so I was eventually invested in it).
This was a great read that I did not enjoy as much as I could have because about 100 pages in, I was exhausted (it was 11PM), I had work the next day and so decided to skip to the end. That spoiled the experience for me.
HUGE MISTAKE! DO NOT DO THIS!
But do read this book.
View all my reviews
“Once again, L.J. Shen has blown me away with a hauntingly beautiful, angst-driven, emotionally charged romance that will stay with me long after the last page. A must read for 2020.”
—Siobhan Davis, USA Today bestselling author
Angry God, an all-new beautiful and dark new adult romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is available now!
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.
A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.
Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/AGLJShen
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/38HbfWt
Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/37x5edq
Add ANGRY GOD to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/35oUOMC
“How good are you at keeping secrets, Lenora Astalis?” His voice wrapped around my neck like a noose.
I wanted to cough. I needed to cough. He terrified me. I hated him with the heat and passion of a thousand blazing suns. He made me feel like a scaredy cat and a snitch.
“Oh, yes. If you’re coward enough to pretend you’re asleep, you’re good enough to keep a secret. That’s the thing about you, Astalis. I can smash you into dust and watch your grains dance at my feet. My little circus monkey.”
I might’ve hated Vaughn, but I hated myself more for not standing up to him. For not opening my eyes and spitting in his face. Clawing his unnaturally blue eyes out. Taunting him back for all the times he’d taunted all of us at Carlisle Prep.
“By the way, your eyelids are moving,” he said drily, chuckling.
He straightened up, his finger making a brief stop at the base of my spine. He snapped his fingers, making a breaking sound, and I nearly jumped out of my skin, letting out a gasp. I squeezed my eyes tighter, still pretending to sleep.
The bastard laughed.
Was he sparing me for the time being? Was he going to check in on me from now on? Retaliate if I opened my mouth? He was so unpredictable. I wasn’t sure what my life would look like in the morning.
About LJ Shen
L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.
She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.
Connect with L.J. Shen
Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list: