Zoe Marriott

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #22 – Four YA Novels

Published July 15, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four YA books for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) The Swan Kingdom – Zoe Marriott

What’s it all about?:

Shadows have fallen across the beautiful and lush Kingdom. The queen was attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger – a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land unlike her own.

Alexandra has more gifts than even she realizes as she is confronted with magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces. She is unflinchly brave and clever as she struggles to reclaim what she knows is rightfully hers.

This new voice in fantasy weaves a tale rich in visual detail, peppered with a formidable destructive force, and sweetened with familial and romantic love.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

2.) The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children Of Ashton Place #1) – Maryrose Wood

What’s it all about?:

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place are no ordinary children, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess, and mysteries abound in this first volume in a new series for ages 9+.

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) The Drowning (The Drowning #1) – Rachel Ward

What’s it all about?:

What happens if you’ve done something terrible? But you can’t remember what. And you don’t know how to put it right …When Carl opens his eyes on the banks of a lake, his brother is being zipped into a body bag. What happened in the water? He can’t remember And when he glimpses a beautiful girl he thinks he recognizes, she runs away. Suddenly he knows he must find her – because together they must face the truth before it drowns them.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) Follow Me Down – Tanya Byrne

What’s it all about?:

The sensationally good Tanya Byrne returns with her new novel – a dark, compulsive tale of obsession and betrayal.

When sixteen-year-old Adamma Okomma, a Nigerian diplomat’s daughter, arrives at exclusive Crofton College in Wiltshire, she is immediately drawn to beautiful, tempestuous, unpredictable Scarlett Chiltern. Adamma and Scarlett become inseparable – until they fall for the same guy. Soon the battle lines are drawn and Adamma is shunned by Scarlett and her privileged peers. But then Scarlett goes missing and everything takes a darker turn. Adamma always knew that Scarlett had her secrets, but some secrets are too big to keep and this one will change all of their lives for ever.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI-PIN IT REVIEWS: Four Graphic Novels.

 

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Book Tag – Shelfie by Shelfie #8

Published July 10, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image edited from: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

Here are the other Shelfies I’ve done: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Anyway – on with the tag, here is the fifth shelf of my first bookshelf (I’ve chosen to split it up into two separate shelfies because of the sheer number of books, oops!). Here is the front shelf and we’re looking at the middle part of this image.

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

Finally we have a bit of organisation on my shelves! Just a little bit though, I didn’t want to go too mad…haha! This shelf has a couple of miscellaneous books at the far left and horizontally but generally we have a few books by Zoe Marriott (which I haven’t read yet, surprise surprise!). Then the rest of the shelf is all of my short stories collections which are either in use or lying in wait for my Short Stories Challenge.

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

I don’t have too many strong memories associated with books on this shelf but I’m going to mention 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while or knows me well is aware that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I’ve only started getting into his son, Joe Hill’s writing recently and this was one of the first books that I bought of his. It’s currently active in my Short Stories Challenge – I think I’ve read two of the stories so far?

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Sigh. I’m afraid I have a definite book in mind for this. It’s again another book active in my Short Stories Challenge, the collection by Helen Oyeyemi called What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. I’ve only read one of the stories in the collection so far – Books And Roses but unfortunately I really wasn’t impressed and I was so disappointed, I’ve heard such wonderful things about her writing! I am definitely going to carry on with the collection for now but if I had to, that’s the book I would ditch.

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Purely for the cover alone it would be Angela Carter’s Book Of Fairy Tales. Look at it – it’s just gorgeous!!

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

I think that would be The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw. I just haven’t managed to get round to it yet but it’s on the front shelf to remind me of its existence. Apparently!

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

The newest addition and one I hope to read VERY soon (who am I kidding?!) is When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait Of The Writer As A Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy. It was short-listed for The Women’s Prize For Fiction this year and I’ve heard such amazing things.

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. I’ve mentioned it before on the blog and I’ll probably mention it again before I blinking get round to reading it!! (*eye roll*).

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There’s no room for any object on this shelf unfortunately, it’s double stacked as a lot of my shelves are!

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Like other shelfies I’ve done, I think it demonstrates the variety of genres I enjoy although because I decided to be organised with this shelf, it says that I enjoy a short story or two!

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I won’t tag anyone but if anyone wants to do this tag, I’d be delighted and I’d love to see your shelfie.

For other Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere, please see:

Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads FAVOURITES shelfie HERE and her Shelfie by Shelfie 2 HERE.

Sarah @ The Aroma Of Books Shelfie 1A, 1B, 1C 1D

Dee @ Dees Rad Reads And Reviews Shelfie HERE

Jacquie @ Rattle The Stars Shelfie HERE

Stuart @ Always Trust In Books Shelfie #1 HERE.

Thank you so much to Chrissi, Sarah, Dee, Jacquie and Stuart for participating in Shelfie by Shelfie, it really means the world to me. Hugs!

If you’ve done this tag, please let me know and I’d be happy to add you to Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere!

COMING SOON on bibliobeth : Shelfie by Shelfie #9

February 2017 – Real Book Month

Published February 1, 2017 by bibliobeth

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It’s time for one of my favourite months – real book month! This is where I try to bring down that pesky TBR as much as I can. I try to focus on books I’m really excited about and roll my eyes that I haven’t managed to get to them before now. I normally have a list of about ten I want to read, however, because I also participate in Banned Books and Kid-Lit with my sister as well as reading the Richard and Judy book club titles, I’ve felt under too much pressure lately so am just easing that slightly. Here’s what I plan to be reading this month:

Empire Of Storms (Throne Of Glass #5) – Sarah J. Maas

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2) – Stephen King

The Swan Kingdom – Zoe Marriott

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things – Jenny Lawson

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

What can I say about this list? Except they’re books I’ve been wanting to read for SO LONG. The fifth book in the Throne Of Glass series as I’m a unashamedly huge fan (as with Stephen King), the Zoe Marriott as I absolutely loved her book Shadows On the Moon and The Swan Kingdom was a gift from my sister. Chrissi also read Furiously Happy a while back and really enjoyed it and I must admit, I have been staring longingly at it on my shelves! Finally, Dark Places as I’ve recently read and enjoyed Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and really wanted to finish her back catalogue.

Shadows On The Moon – Zoe Marriott

Published August 18, 2014 by bibliobeth

9741685

What’s it all about?:

A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

What did I think?:

Describing this book as a cross between Cinderella and Memoirs of A Geisha is a perfect introduction to a magical and beautiful tale by an author I’m determined to know a lot more about. It was one of the books I picked as part of Chrissi Cupboard Month back in June and my sister recommended it to me as she knew I was a big lover of both fairy-tales and Japanese historical fiction, describing it as a nice blend of the two. It is important to remember however that this story is inspired by Japan only – the imaginative world Zoe Marriott has created is entirely her own. Our main character is a young girl called Suzume, who when we begin the story is enjoying her life as part of a relatively wealthy family with her beloved cousin Aimi who stays with them. Suzume is very close to her father who is presented as warm and caring in comparison to her mother who came across as slightly cold. This is all the more bitter-sweet when tragedy strikes in the form of soldiers storming their house, accusing her father of treason and killing him and her cousin. Suzume manages to escape by drawing upon powers which she didn’t know she had. For Suzume is a “shadow-weaver,” and is able to manipulate the light and shadows in ways where she can make people see things a little differently or hide herself when in danger.

Surviving the slaughter of her father and cousin might not have been the best thing for poor Suzume who is traumatised further when her mother weds the scheming Lord Terayama, a little bit too quickly for her liking. She finds herself often pushed into the background or held up as a trophy when required by Terayama. Her immense distrust of him is proved correct when she finds out something that leads to her fearing for her life. She is forced to leave the household but ends up disguised as a skivvy in Terayama’s kitchens, desperately hoping he will not discover her. This is also where her shadow weaving comes in very handy! An old servant who faithfully served her father and is now part of Terayama’s household looks after her in any way he can and is able to encourage and strengthen her “gift.” It is here that she also meets the love interest of the novel, Otieno who swoops in like a white knight and gives Suzume the first real possibility for happiness. When forced to flee again, Suzume meets an intriguing young woman called Kano Akira, famous for having been the Prince’s Shadow Bride, chosen at an exclusive ball with a very-difficult-to-get-on VIP list! She boosts Sazume’s confidence, starts to mend her emotional scars, and gives her the possibility of exacting revenge on the villain that needs it the most. But can Suzume even begin to consider the implications of becoming the next Shadow Bride? And what effect might that have on her own budding relationship? Is seeking revenge more important then love? Suzume certainly seems to think so.

So, this book had pretty much everything ticked for me. Japanese element (tick), Fairy-tale and a few nifty magic tricks (tick), and a plot that pulls you in from the moment you begin and doesn’t let up (TICK!). The world the author creates is a nod to feudal Japan and felt entirely authentic and gripping. Suzume herself is a fantastic heroine, with bags load of bravery in a life that seems to be against her. I loved the change of identities that she went through just to keep herself safe, and her tumble from nobility to poverty is told with a sympathetic and imaginative mind. I wasn’t too sure what to make of the love interest, Otieno, at first, but by the end I completely bought the relationship and enjoyed the interactions between two people that could definitely be described as “star-crossed.” The attention to detail within the novel and the unravelling of the plot are outstanding and true evidence of a huge talent. Basically, I can’t believe I had never heard of this author before and am so excited to read both her past and future works. I urge you to do the same.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

WWW Wednesday #46

Published June 25, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

9741685

This is another one of my June 2014 Chrissi Cupboard reads and I’m absolutely loving it. Kind of Cinderella meets Memoirs of A Geisha. Should be finished it by the end of today!

What did you recently finish reading?:

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Yes, I love my fairy tales! This one is another Chrissi Cupboard book and a bit of a darker look at the story of Alice in Wonderland for the modern age. And very good it was too.

What do you think you’ll read next?:

5659

Next up for me is my June Kid-Lit read with Chrissi Reads, The Wind In The Willows. I’m loving this cover art as well.

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy reading everyone!

 

June 2014 – Chrissi Cupboard Month

Published June 1, 2014 by bibliobeth

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It’s June. And that means…. (drumroll please) it’s Chrissi Cupboard Month!

My lovely sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads gives me books on a regular basis, and as she reads at the speed of light I have had to acquire a cupboard in my bedroom purely for her books. Unfortunately, with all my other books and huge TBR pile, I’m not getting through them as fast as I’d like so I would like to dedicate the month of June to reading books purely from the Chrissi Cupboard. I will obviously be reading my short story every week and our Kid-Lit book for the month of June, but I’m hoping the majority of books will be from this cupboard. Here are the first ten I am planning to read and review:

Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Undone by Cat Clarke

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Echo Boy by Matt Haig

Hollow Pike by James Dawson

The Madness by Alison Rattle

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Shadows On The Moon by Zoe Marriott

Siege And Storm – Leigh Bardugo

I’m really excited to get started on this little bunch, looks like many hours of happy reading ahead! For Chrissi Reads fabulous blog please click HERE.