Trapped in Silver – Emily Snowden

I received this book from OfTomes Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, only that it was a fantasy adventure in a wonderful mystical world and that is exactly what I got and more!

To seventeen-year-old Ava, wild woodcats, hungry stragglers, and simple-minded townsfolk are the evils she’s grown accustomed to. But when Ethan, an unusual man with eyes of smoke and fire opal, enters her world she quickly understands that there are worse things out there. She’s a specialised liar and a hell of a fighter, but against a group of animalistic men called Berserkers she struggles to survive the encounter as the desperate swing of a dagger is all it takes to change her life for good. Half-dead and hunted by the Berserker’s leader, Ava escapes his pursuit in an unfamiliar land full of impossible creatures, unlikely allies, and the man she doesn’t know whether to kiss or kill. But after dreadful news of her missing brother surfaces, Ava becomes more involved in the centuries-long war and begins to unravel the reasons behind her relentless nightmares, discovering truths long-buried in a violent history of love, loss and betrayal.

Snowden’s writing and world building transported me into a detailed reality full of different creatures and landscapes that jump off the page. So much thought has gone into creating such a unique and beautiful world and it’s equally fantastic storyline which is filled with unexpected plot twists and mysteries. There were times where I got confused with everything going on, especially with Ava’s dreams in the first part of the novel however as the story went on things got a lot clearer and I began to enjoy the book so much more!

The characters Snowden has created is another element that I’ve fallen in love with, especially Ethan and Ric who are both swoon-worthy! We are given so much depth and rich detail about every character’s past which is slowly revealed in layers as the story continues. Ava as a protagonist is perfect. She’s strong, determined and smart, all of which are qualities of a classic heroine, however, she’s also relatable and not afraid to show fear or emotion. She’s just so real because she’s a survivor and who has been forced to adapt to her given situation and I really loved that. I’m a sucker for a bit of a romance, and the relationship between Ava and Ethan worked really well as it was well paced and the witty banter between the two of them had my heart fluttering.

If you’re looking for a magical fantasy read set in a unique and wonderful world then I recommend you give Trapped in Silver a go. Like me, it may take a while to really get into the story but please do persevere as the last 2/3 are brilliant and I found it difficult to put down! Emily Snowden is certainly one to watch and I can’t wait for the sequel! Thank you again to OfTomes Publishing for sending me this book and for helping me discover a new author and story that I’m in love with!

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My Recent Net Galley ARC Approvals – September 2017

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I’ve been very lucky recently as I’ve been approved on Net Galley for some seriously exciting reads all of which I freaked out about when I got the confirmation email! For those who don’t know Net Galley is a service that enables publishers and authors to upload books to its website prior to publication and allows “professional readers,” such as reviewers, to request copies.

I’ve been a member since 2015 but I’ve never used it as much as I should, however now that I’m a student it’s perfect as it allows me to request and read books in exchange for an honest review. I’ll be posting my ‘Tips for New Net Galley Users’ post soon so come back and check that out to see how you can make the most out of Net Galley. I only requested four books this month as I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and I wanted to make sure I read and posted all my reviews on time. Anyway, these are the books that I was recently approved and expect honest reviews for all of them soon!

Invictus by Ryan Graudin – For those who read my ‘Most Anticipated Autumn Releases’ post you’ll know how excited I am for this book and how much I love Ryan Graudins series ‘Wolf by Wolf’. I’m so grateful that I don’t now have to wait to the end of September to read this book, however, my TBR and review pile is massive so knowing my luck it’ll be October by the time I get round to reading it!

‘Farway Gaius McCarthy is the son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD but after failing his final time-traveling exam Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. During a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with the knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.’ 

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody – I’ve heard really good things about this book and after reading ‘Caraval’ by Stephanie Garber at the start of the year, I’ve been obsessed with books about festivals, circuses, and carnivals. I’ve also just ordered ‘The Night Circus’ because I need more!

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Sorina’s rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show. But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee – I read the first book in this series at the end of last year and fell in love with all the drama and mystery. I enjoyed all the different perspectives and can’t wait to see where the story continues as we were left on some serious cliff hangers at the end of the first book!

Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return. Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance and then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – I’ve been seeing this book around but I had absolutely no idea of the plot when I requested it but I’m so glad that I did because it sounds really intriguing and creative! If you’ve read this book then I’d love to hear your opinions on it so feel free to leave a comment below!

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dream walker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. However Paige gets kidnapped and transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

I remember when I was in primary school I did a school play about Shahrazad and 1000 Arabian Nights, so when I read the blurb in Waterstones it brought back so many memories that I had to pick it up. Plus I wanted something different and unique to read on holiday and this book fitted the bill.

In a land ruled by the murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family as each night he takes a new bride only for her to be murdered come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be and she may be falling in love with a murderer.

This was another book I read after ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ so I think I kept comparing it to that, which is unfair as that book is incredible and nothing can compare to that series. But as I got further into it I began to love this book and its characters more and more especially Shahrzard who is such a fierce, determined and stubborn heroine. All the characters worked together really well with our usual banter and plenty of swoon worthy moments between Shahrzard and Khalid. The romance between the two of them was perfect and their dialogue was beautiful, filled with metaphors formed from pure love. The only downside was that I needed more, I just wish this book was longer!

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

The story itself is rich, detailed and magical especially the world building which is just stunning, from the places and architecture to the exotic and mouth-watering food descriptions. Ahdieh transports you to a fairytale world and invites us to discover more of the rich eastern culture and takes us along on her action packed adventure.

Overall, the second part of the book is what really made it for me so I’ve got high expectations for the sequel which I’ll be picking up very soon as I need more of this story! This wonderfully written and beautifully crafted story is perfect for those looking for an exotic and romantic fantasy adventure.

Modules I’m Taking in My Second Year at University

I can’t believe how quickly a year has gone and how I’m already about to start my second year at University. For those who don’t know, I’m currently studying English Literature at the University of Chester and for my second year, I was able to choose all of my modules! There were so many to choose from and I was only able to choose five, however, I’m really happy and excited with all of my choices. If you’re also studying English Literature then I’d love to know what modules you’re taking this year, so please leave a comment below!

  1. Romantic Literature – I’m a sucker for Romantic Literature so there was no way I wasn’t taking this module. I love all the novels and poetry as they are all just so beautiful and a treat to study! I’ll be studying works of Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats and one of my favorites Austen.
  2. The Gothic – After reading Northanger Abbey in my first year, I began to fall in love with Gothic Literature and I can’t wait to read and study more short stories, poetry, and film from the late-eighteenth century to the present day.
  3. American Literature – I’ve always loved American Literature especially anything to do with the roaring 20’s *cough* The Great Gatsby *cough*! The module will concentrate on a variety of important American writing, considering both the context of its production and the influence it has had on American life and thought.  As well as this the module will offer me the opportunity to explore the themes and preoccupations of American literature, and will also place them in specifically American historical, social, and ideological contexts.
  4. Alternative Worlds –  This is the module that I’m most excited for as it’s everything I love and the books I get to read are some that I’ve been dying to read for ages or are among some of my favorites! The module is designed to develop my understanding of fictions that explore alternative universes and to provoke a response to the challenges such fiction pose and I’m hoping that it’s also going to help me develop the skills to creating a successful fictional world. Some of the texts and film/tv adaptations I will be studying include Game of Thrones, Cloud Atlas and The Man in the High Castle, are you jealous yet?
  5. Varieties of Writing – Sadly I won’t be studying this module till April next year but I am so excited for it as I really want to develop my skills by writing and experimenting in different forms. Typically, students will study and try their hands at writing: magazine adverts; newspaper reviews of books, plays, TV, films, and albums; book blurbs; autobiographical and travel pieces; plays for the stage; poetry; and short-short stories. Hopefully, by the end of this module, I will be more confident with my writing and that I’ll also have a successful portfolio which will aid my efforts into finding work experience.

University Room Essentials​ – How To Make Your Room Feel Like Home

Moving away from home and into university accommodation is a daunting process as it’s the first time you’ve properly left home to go and live somewhere else and its the start of a new chapter in your life. For me having a cosy and personal room made it easier to settle in and it was nice to have a little space to call my own. When I arrived, my room was completely bare and it was nice to have this blank canvas which I later turned into my own little space with the help of photographs, fairy lights and many other little bits, so I thought I’d share a list of ‘essentials’ on how to make your room feel like home! Enjoy!

Photos – I loved putting all my photos up in my room as it helped make my room so much more personal and cosy. I put them up all around my mirror and over my notice board so whenever I was doing my hair or work I was greeted by a particular memory or familiar face which was really cute! I love the polaroid look for my photos and I used the LaLaLab app to print mine off which was super easy as I had all my photos on my phone and all I had to do was select which ones I wanted! I think I went a bit overboard and ordered over 70 photos but they weren’t crazy expensive either. If you would like to give Lalalab a try for yourself then I have a fab £5 discount code for you to use. Simply use code PGTJ9BAD at the checkout to receive £5 credit to your account (this is a referral program so I will also receive £5 credit every time somebody uses my code).

Fairy Lights – I am a huge lover of fairy lights as not only do they help your room look like something off Pinterest but they also help it look nice and cosy especially on those dark winter evenings! You can get loads of different styles and types of fairy lights but I recommend you get the ones with the battery packs rather than plug socket as it gives you more options of where to hang them! I got mine from the wonderful Ikea but I know there are loads of other places you can get them from!

Bedding – Your bed is probably the main thing in your room so it’s got to look good and be super comfy. I brought loads of pillows with me which was really handy as my room became a social space and everyone was able to cuddle up with a pillow when we watched a film together. You can pretty much get bedding and pillows from anywhere but recently Primark has had some really nice homeware bits.

Fake Plants – Keep in mind the word ‘fake’. I love fake plants because not only does it save me from watering them but they help make me look like a fully functioning adult to visitors as it looks like I can care for another living thing! They are green and succulent all year round and can help add a little of bit of colour to your room.

Fragrance – What you do not want at university is the ‘I live with 8 other people smell’ so make sure you have an air freshener or a diffuser to keep your room nice and fresh but don’t make it too strong! I know many landlords and university rooms don’t allow you to burn candles but I still bought mine and left the lid off it as it still produced a homely and sweet scent.

I hope this list gives you some ideas when decorating and personalising your room and good luck to everyone starting their studies at university/collage!

Becoming An Oftomes Publishing Reviewer!

We’ve got exciting news! We have been chosen as a reviewer for Oftomes Publishing, which is a micro-publishing house run by U.K. book blogger Benjaminoftomes! Both of us can’t wait to be working with them and to start things off they will be hosting a read a long throughout the month of September. The book they’ve chosen for this month is Trapped in Silver by Emily Sowden and I’m so excited about it! Here’s the synopsis:

Here’s the synopsis:

Courage comes from a shadowed place in our hearts; a blurred line that straddles love and sheer stupidity.

To seventeen-year-old Ava, wild woodcats, hungry stragglers, and simple-minded townsfolk are the evils she’s grown accustomed to. But when Ethan, an unusual man with eyes of smoke and fire opal, enters her world she quickly understands that there are worse things out there than drunken men and carnivorous forest creatures. She’s a specialized liar and a hell of a fighter, but against a group of animalistic men called Berserkers, she struggles to survive the encounter as the desperate swing of a dagger is all it takes to change her life for good.

Half-dead and hunted by the Berserker’s leader when he forms a monstrous obsession with her, Ava escapes his pursuit in an unfamiliar land full of impossible creatures, unlikely allies, and the man she doesn’t know whether to kiss or kill.

But after dreadful news of her missing brother surfaces, Ava becomes more involved in the centuries-long war and begins to unravel the reasons behind her relentless nightmares, discovering truths long-buried in a violent history of love, loss, and betrayal.

How amazing does that story line sound and how can you not be excited about this book?! If this does sound like your cup of tea, then feel free to join us for the read-a-thon and follow us on Twitter (@afangirlopinion) to keep up with all the news and updates!

Happy Reading Everyone!

Most Anticipated Autumn Releases 2017

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Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas (Released 5th September) – Mate! I am super excited for this release as many of you will already know Chaol is my fictional one true love and to be able to finally discover what happens to him as well as having a whole book all about him is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! However, I don’t like the idea that I’ve got to wait another year to find out what happens to Alein and the rest of the crew. Isn’t this cover just beautiful, I’m just a little gutted that it’s not going to match the rest of the series!

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (Released 7th September) – I’ve never read an Adam Silvera novel but I always hear good things about them. I read the blurb for this book and I nearly cried, it sounds so heart wrenching and the concept of being told when your last day is so you can say your goodbyes, tie up loose ends and live in the moment is so unique and clever and I wish I’d thought of it! I need this book now as well as a jumbo pack of tissue as I’m positive that I will end up crying bucket loads.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (Released 26th September) – Can we all just appreciate how stunning this cover is, it absolutely beautiful! Leigh Bardugo is one of my all-time favorite authors and the Grishaverse is one of my favorite fictional worlds.   Not only is the cover stunning but the collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love will include illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves! Someone take my money now!

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (Released 21st September) – The first book in this series was a little slow but now the fight for the crown really starts and I’m preparing myself for an action-packed roller coaster.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin (Released 21st September) – I fell in love with Ryan Graudin with her Wolf by Wolf series which you haven’t yet read I highly recommend you do as it’s action-packed adventure set in a universe where Hitler won the war! I have three words for you in regards to her new book ‘Invictus’: Time. Traveling. Thieves. How amazing does that sound! Can it be the end of September already, please?