Monday, 26 June 2017

Cover Spotlight Monday: The Sin Eater's Daughter Trilogy by Melinda Salisbury

It's once again Monday which means its time for another cover spotlight to brighten up those Monday blues. Today I'm featuring The Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy by Melinda Salisbury which has not one but three stunning covers!

If you're not aware of this series it's a powerful tale of war, revolution and magic; of long lost princes and fairytales. It is in my opinion one of the best fantasy series' out there, and it has three gorgeous matching covers I'm going to explore. Very minor spoilers ahead, though very general.

Book one is the story of Twylla Morvern, daughter of Loremere's Sin Eater, and Daunen Embodied. She carries poison on her skin through a ritual where she must drink poison. She is both feared and revered. Book two meanwhile introduces Errin Vastel, an apothecary and sibling to one of Twylla's guard in book one. What I love first and foremost is that the long running theme through the books - alchemy, its siblings and the natural ingredients it uses - is represented quite clearly on each cover. Book one for Twylla's poison, two for Errin's apothecary career, and three for the most important item that I won't spoil. The very essence of the books is so clearly shown, almost telling the reader that these are not lighthearted fantasy books (They really aren't), and that a dark tale (Very dark) lies beneath each albeit beautiful cover. With these covers, the reader can be under no false pretence of what the books entail.

I also love the detail of the lead characters trapped in the bottles, emphasising how they are almost bound, in one way or another, to these mystical properties around them, and also the fight they must endure to break free and win the war they are inherently part of. On further inspection I also realised the covers 'reveal' the main protagonist of each story.

Book two is Errin's story, shown by the girl being dark haired and surrounded by plant life, while 1 and 3 (though Errin does feature heavily in 3) are Twylla's, shown by her red hair and the streaks (1) and drops (3) of blood surrounding her. I thought that was a pretty cool way of keying the audience into each book's main POV.

I also love the colours used, both in the choice of colour but also their vibrancy. To me, the green of book 1 signifies poison, which the book utilises quite heavily, while the blue of 2 signifies blue sky - the parting of clouds - and therefore perhaps hope? Finally the gold-yellow of three signifies not just loyalty (As in Queen) but also victory. The vibrancy also highlights the rich story, world and prose beneath.

Lastly I love the font used for the titles, a rich cursive that I think represents the fantasy genre and 'royalty' aspects of the series, but also in the masterful stroke of each letter represents the equally masterful storytelling each book contains.

If you haven't read The Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy, I really do urge you to do so.

As always, thanks for reading. I do hope you enjoyed my thoughts on these covers. Do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter with any thoughts.

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Saturday Series: YALC - My Reading List

Today for Saturday Series I'm still writing about YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention held in London at the end of July, and in this post I'm bringing you my reading list. These are the books by authors attending that I'm hoping to read in the next five weeks. Fingers crossed I get through them.

Genuine Fraud (E Lockhart)
Beautiful Broken Things (Barnard)
Riverkeep (Stewart)
Archived/Unbound (Schwab)
Rebel of the Sands (Hamilton)
Lorali (Dockrill)
The Graces (Eve)
The Rest of Us (Ness)
The Bone Season (Shannon)
Gilded Cage (Vic James)
7 Days of You (Vinesse)
Becoming Betty (Wood)
The Falconer (May)
Witches Kiss (Corr)
Truth or Dare (Pratt)
The Battlemage (Matharu)
Ariadnis (Martin)
Lobsters/Freshers (Ivision/Ellen)

It's maybe a little long... Maybe? Tee hee.

If you've got a YALC reading list do let us know in the comments below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Saturday Series: YALC - Why Go?

In the first of a new series of posts, I'm writing about the UK's only YA convention. I'm of course talking about YALC - the Young Adult Literature Convention. I am in no way affiliated with the event, I'm just an avid YA reader and lover who adores attending this event and wants to spread some knowledge for those who may be unsure about going or are nervous about attending for the first time. This will be the third time I've attended but the first time I'll be attending for the whole weekend, so these posts are just as much for me as they are for you! I do hope you enjoy them!

First up, why is it worth going?

With over 100 authors attending you'd be mad to miss out on all the inclusive signings, panels and group sessions running over the three days. This year they have former attendees and YA faves such as Melinda Salisbury, Taran Matharu and Victoria Schwab, plus debut authors like Chris Russell (Songs About a Girl) and Anna Day (The Fandom), as well as the incomparable Laini Taylor!

If you're still unsure, there's also the wonderful publishers attending; selling a wide range of books from their backlists, and maybe a few sneaky early copies too! They also run competitions throughout the weekend, give away fab swag, and have snazzy tote bags to boot. You might even spot an odd ARC competition or two.

Not to mention that any YALC entry ticket includes access to LFCC, the UK's largest comic convention. They've got so many media stars and artists attending its unbelievable. Personally I'll be there for Richard Dean Anderson and Christopher Judge, but there's sure to be someone for everyone.

Lastly and most importantly, you'll be surrounded by people with the same interests - people who understand. Who knows, you might even leave with a few new friends?

It's the book event of the year - a geeky spectacular - that should not be missed. I'll be there. Will you?

Thanks for reading! Be sure to pop back next week for my YALC TBR!

If you are attending do feel free to comment below and let us know who you're excited to meet. Or feel free to @ me on Twitter if you have any questions!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Monday, 8 May 2017

Review: Lois Lane - Double Down

Having absolutely loved the first book, I was absolutely ecstatic when it came to reading the second. Big thanks to Curious Fox Books for the review copy!

Lois Lane has settled in to her new school. She has friends, for maybe the first time in her life. She has a job that challenges her. And her friendship is growing with SmallvilleGuy, her online maybe-more-than-a-friend. But when her friend Maddy’s twin collapses in a part of town she never should’ve been in, Lois finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery that brings her closer to the dirty underbelly of Metropolis.

When the story begins Lois has found her flow in her new life in Metropolis. Fresh off her win and major article in book one, she's even more determined to make it as a reporter and to uncover the truth surrounding her own strange past. With help from her friends and online 'not-boyfriend' SmallvilleGuy, she moves even further in her journey to do so.

Once again I loved Lois and SmallvilleGuy's relationship. Bond expands on everything we saw in book one, pushing them that bit closer together. But this time there's danger looming when the site they hold so dear - the paranormal site that brought them together - becomes under threat. Together they must work together to save it, and to possibly uncover more about Lois' own experience, and I absolutely adored their scenes together.

In this book we learn a bit more about Maddy as Bond introduces her twin sister Melody, who has a problem only Lois and co can solve. Despite being twins they have nothing in common and argue more than they agree. But it's through the case, through trying to save Melody from the mess she's gotten involved in, that the two sisters bond. It was a wonderful storyline that I thoroughly enjoyed, especially as it pulled James into it also. This dual storyline expands more on James and his family life, which I was very happy about as it softens a lot of his sharp edges and gives us a way to understand and sympathise with him and his personality a lot more. The storyline was - as with the first case - highly intriguing and full of a lot of twists and turns that constantly pull the reader one way and then the other. It honestly kept me glued to the page.

I am a huge fan of DC Comics and specifically of Lois so I am ecstatic with Bond's series so far and cannot wait to read the third book in the series, out this month! I do highly recommend it to any fan of comics or mystery, or anyone who simply wants an enjoyable read. This series is not to be missed!

As always thanks for reading, and do feel free to leave me a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Review: Fix You by Carrie Elks

This is another 2016 review title that I failed to get to last year, and I do apologise for that. It's not my typical read - being an adult romance - but it's one I nonetheless enjoyed. Thanks to Corvus for my copy of the book. I do hope you all enjoy my review.

You've found the one, but what if life has other plans?
London, 31st December 1999
At a party to toast the new millennium, Hanna meets Richard. He is a gorgeous, wealthy New Yorker. She is a self-assured, beautiful Londoner with no interest in clean-cut American men. They are from different worlds and have nothing in common... except for their instant - and mutual - attraction to one another.
As the clocks chime midnight it is a new year and the beginning of a wonderful romance.
New York, 12th May 2012
Hanna, the girl who broke Richard's heart, walks into his Wall Street office - and back into his life - to reveal an explosive secret.
He was sure they were meant to be together forever, but she broke his heart so completely the last time, can he find a way to let her mend the pieces?

Fix You is a story of broken hearts and the journey to healing. It's a tale of love, loss and lies, and one of hidden truths. It's a romance, yes, but it's also a drama that unfolds over many years.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the non-linear narrative, by which I mean a lot of it is told in flashbacks and not always in chronological order. This technique not only played out the drama well but also created a lot of mystery and intrigue as to how the story would progress and its possible outcomes. It was highly enjoyable.

The story itself was packed full of tension and drama, and I'd certainly read Hanna and Richard's tale again. Their chemistry was wonderful and I was certainly rooting for them with every turn of the page. The ending was wholly satisfying and left me with a warm flutter in my stomach, whilst being glad the 'villain' got their comeuppance.

Hanna was a wonderful main character who, despite her faults, faced her misgivings and came out on top. I understood her, and her motivation, despite not always agreeing with her, which with the non-linear narrative really kept me hooked to every page. It was wonderful to follow through her story to the end.

Carrie Elks is clearly and author who knows romance, and has a great deal of talent for writing it. I'll certainly be checking out the rest of her work.

As always thanks for reading, and do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf