Winged Reviews A UK young adult book blog for those a little bit older.

Author Spotlight: Victoria Scott + giveaway!

Author Spotlight: Victoria Scott + giveaway!

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I have had the esteem pleasure of meeting Victoria Scott at several signings throughout 2015 and I must say she gets better and better every time I see her. I first met her at Montgomery County Book Festival in Conroe, TX and the last time I hung out with her smiling self was at RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas, TX. She is so much fun to hang around that I almost considered skipping the convention just so I could play her assistant for the day. Alas, the day did not go that way. That did not stop hundreds and hundreds of eager readers from flocking to her table for a signature and/or a photo with this charming lass. Not to mention, that most of the authors wanted to sit next to her just to chat. That should tell you something!

About Victoria Scott

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her first stand-alone young adult title, TITANS, will be published by Scholastic in spring 2016.

Victoria’s books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. She currently lives in Dallas, and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

About Fire & Flood

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Time is slipping away….

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Salt & Stone

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

What would you do to save someone you love?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t quit–she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left–and only one can win.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Giveaway

Now it is time for a giveaway! Enter your information in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a Salt & Stone advanced galley! (This is open to US only, sorry!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cover Reveal: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Cover Reveal: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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GUYS. I’m not even going to lie, I haven’t been more excited to reveal a cover, well… ever. The first two books in The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime were my favourite reads of 2014. I admit, I was first attracted to the stunning covers, but when I actually started reading these books, filled with intrigue, politics, deceit all written with stunning prose. These books are simply gorgeous, inside and out, which is why it’s such an honour to share with you all the third and final cover in this series for The Winner’s Kiss!

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

It’s a much bolder colour than the US edition I think – it really is the most beautiful shade of green! And that sword! That hair! Those little flourishes on the font! Marie Rutkoski is one of the authors that have been announced for YALC this year, and fingers crossed, I finally get to meet her. It’s going to be an awfully long wait until 10 March 2016…

What do you think of the UK cover? Are you as excited about this as I am!?

About The Winner’s Kiss

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

About Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Shakespeare, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. Marie can tie a good double figure-eight knot and is very fond of perfume, tea and excellent bread and butter.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: May 2015
432 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the BookGoodreads

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

This book was everything I’ve been waiting for from Sarah J. Maas. I’m a fan of the Throne of Glass series, but this made me light-headed, blurt ‘you have to read this’ to everyone I know, and deliciously excited for the sequel. And that’s only a small glimpse of what A Court of Thorns and Roses has done to me. I loved it. Hands down, the BEST new adult book I’ve ever read and my favourite of Maas’ work (to date—I fully expect to be blown away by the next two books in this trilogy).

It’s pitched true as Beauty and the Beast meets East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The first part of the book is beautiful and dreamlike – the next half is gritty and soul-wrenching. Both are equally great. On top of it, the world Maas has created is rich and seeped in history – an island with 7 fae kingdoms, separated from human lands in the south—all part of a wider world I imagine will come into play in the sequels.

As much as I like to go on about world-building and plot, what really makes me fall in love with a book is its characters. I love when an author crafts a character so great that I yearn for them to be real.

Feyre was incredible right from the start. When her family lost its fortune, she promised on her mother’s deathbed to take care of her limping father and older sisters. One day, she kills a wolf who was threatening her hunt, not realising (or caring) that it was a shape-shifted faerie and she inadvertently breaks the Treaty between the human and faerie realms. As payment (or punishment), a faerie beast offers her a choice: she can either die on the spot, or live out the rest of her life in the faerie realm. She’s brave, stubborn, dutiful, with a strong survival instinct. She will beat you up in a fight, make no bones about it. What she goes through in this book is truly remarkable.

It also promised to light my loins aflame, and it indeed it did with not one, not two, but three steaming hot faerie men (yes, three is the new minimum for male leads, ladies and gentlemen. See also: the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo).

Tamlin, the ‘beast’, is initially icy and gruff mannered, but he ended up melting my heart. He’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders and rarely opens up, so it was such a delight to see him try to awkwardly date an unimpressed Feyre. He’s also pretty vicious in that beast form and I love his sense of protection and sacrifice. His court and his people always come first, no matter the cost to him personally.

His friend and close confidant Lucien is sharp and witty; a courtier at heart. I would’ve been happy with a whole book of him and Tamlin exchanging witty banter for the rest of their very long lives. However, once you get past the prickly jests, he’s beautifully broken. He’s been deformed, outcast from his court and hated by all his brothers. His loyalty to Tamlin, and later Feyre, is unwavering and I love him for it.

Then, step aside Darkling—if you’re looking for someone with ambiguous morals and a magnetic pull, you’re going to love Rhys. I loved never being sure whose side he was on – the only thing I knew for certain was that he acts out of his own best interest. He’s seductive, cruel to be kind and so, so interesting. The deal he makes with Feyre should be quite the story in the sequels.

I’ve rambled enough, but basically, this is my favourite read of the year so far. Nothing left to say except for, well done Sarah. Just when I thought I couldn’t be surprised or impressed, you’ve managed both. I’m stunned and grateful for it.

Why you should read this book:

  • Feyre. I admire so much her strength of character.
  • Have I mentioned the three hot faerie men?
  • Loins. Flaming. So. Hot.

Other things:

  • I can’t seem to pick a favourite fae. Just when I think I have, I remember how awesome another one is.
  • Feyre can’t read, which was really interesting and refreshing.
  • I want to go to a masquerade ball please!

5 Stars

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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeDorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: April 2014
480 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the BookGoodreads

The New York Times bestselling first book in a dark new series that reimagines the Oz saga, from debut author Danielle Paige.

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a road of yellow brick—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And—Dorothy must die.

When I first heard about the sick and twisted retelling of the famous Wizard of Oz story, I have to admit I was very interested. A friend read the book, devoured it really, only to tell me to skip the story. She didn’t recommend it at all. She didn’t care for any part of it. That certainly didn’t stop me! It actually pushed me even more to read the book. My friend and I will always be friends and I will do anything for her, but our taste in books differs (I usually really like to read what she can’t stand and vice versa).

I picked up a copy of the first book in a magical series where Dorothy is not the innocent young lass we have all come to known and adore, and Oz is a terrible place. Our hero is Amy Gumm, a sort of average girl from Kansas (shock) who has a life that is not without its problems. Her Dad has died, her Mom is not fit to be a parent, and Amy is being picked on at school. One day a tornado hits her trailer park and takes her and the trailer to Oz (another shock). Amy is immediately pulled into the strange and disturbing Oz where nothing is like what she remembers reading. Witches are evil, everyone is forced to smile, and everything you do is a crime. Amy learns quickly to trust no one. Everyone has their own agenda, even the animals.

The author did a really good job with the character development throughout this story. Amy learns that the only way to restore Oz to the way it used to be is to kill Dorothy. Dorothy must die if Oz is to survive. Amy started out as a shy, timid girl who didn’t think she could make it in this bizarre Oz, then becomes a bad-ass soldier that is willing to try whatever it takes to defeat Dorothy. Even if that means putting her own life on the line.

What I didn’t like about the story is how quickly the ending happened. It felt like everything was rushed and thrown at you. I put the book down feeling puzzled and confused, wondering what just happened. The ending didn’t really answer anything at all but it did make you want to pick up the second book in the hopes of answers being given.

Overall I enjoyed this story. I felt it was a fast paced tale that held my attention and kept me wanting to know what happened. Like I said, the ending threw me but did hook me in to wanting to read the second book in the series. For that I say well done, Ms. Paige. I cannot wait to see how you follow up this story in the next book.

3 Stars

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Countdown to 7th May: Bookish Firsts: Frances Hardinge

Countdown to 7th May: Bookish Firsts: Frances Hardinge

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Please welcome amazing author and fabulous hat-wearer Frances Hardinge to the blog for the Countdown to 7th May tour, where she’s kindly sharing with us her Bookish Firsts! Don’t forget to check out the #CountdownYA hastag for more on this amazing tour to celebrate upcoming books!

 
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Bookish Firsts

With author Frances Hardinge

What is the first book you ever read/remember reading?
frances-caterpillarI know that when I was a baby I was given cloth books to chew. Unsurprisingly, I don’t remember those very well!

I do have a faint recollection of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, though I’m not sure whether this is a ‘created memory’ based on what I was told later.

What is the first book your wrote (can be published or unpublished)?
My first full length novel was a spy thriller I completed at the age of thirteen. It was handwritten in pencil, and very carefully hidden because I was terribly shy about it. The main character was a thirteen-year-old orphan who is recruited by spies, and the plotline was strongly influenced by the murder mysteries I’d read and the Hitchcock films I loved – lots of twists, turns, betrayals, shocks and perils.

It’s still hidden, and rightly so. It’s really not very good!

Cheshire Cat SmilingWhat is the first book character you loved?
One of the first book characters I loved was the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. He was a law unto himself, even by the anarchic standards of Wonderland. I admired the way he went where he pleased, disappeared at will, feared nothing and met all disapproval with a grin. He was aware of the madness of the world and his share in it, but it didn’t upset him.

Vignette catEven the domineering, execution-obsessed Queen of Hearts was helpless in the face of the Cat. How do you decapitate a floating head?

“A cat may look at a king.” The Cheshire Cat taught me that we can peer at the powerful, make up their minds about them, criticise their faults and mock their follies. And sometimes the kings, queens and rulers of the world are more frightened of a mocking grin than anything else…
 
 

About The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

From the award-winning author of FLY BY NIGHT, and its Carnegie-Medal-2012-nominated, Guardian-Prize-shortlisted sequel, TWILIGHT ROBBERY, comes a beguiling tale of mystery and intrigue. . .

Plagued by an unspoken scandal, fourteen-year-old Faith Sunderly and her family are forced to flee their home in Kent to start a new life. But news travels fast, and the gossip they’re running from soon reaches the small island community of Vane, to devastating effect. When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Patriarchal Victorian society may not listen to a girl’s questions, but Faith has other plans. Following the trail left behind in her father’s books, and their secret father-daughter night-time boat ride, Faith discovers her father’s biggest secret . . .

A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets. The bigger the lie, and the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered. But as Faith’s untruths spread like wildfire across the island, she discovers that sometimes a single lie is more potent than any truth.
 

About Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge spent a large part of her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. However, a few years later a persistent friend finally managed to bully Frances into sending a few chapters of FLY BY NIGHT, her first children’s novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to publish to huge critical acclaim and win the Branford Boase First Novel Award. THE LIE TREE is Frances’ seventh novel.

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