Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Books I'm Squeeing About in May

Spring is sprunging, and there are new books on the horizon! Which is excellent news for my brain, and  terrible news for my bank balance and book shelves. I need to build new bookshelves...
Here are the excitingly beautiful bookish delights hitting our shelves this month that I can't wait to get my hands on!

Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan
May 1st 2019
When Nadya prays to the gods, they listen, and magic flows through her veins. For nearly a century the Kalyazi have been locked in a deadly holy war with Tranavian heretics, and her power is the only thing that is a match for the enemy's blood magic. But when the Travanian High Prince, and his army invade the monastery she is hiding in, instead of saving her people, Nadya is forced to flee the only home she's ever known, leaving it in flames behind her, and vengeance in her heart. As night falls, she chooses to defy her gods and forge a dangerous alliance with a pair of refugees and their Tranavian blood mage leader, a beautiful, broken boy who deserted his homeland after witnessing his blood cult commit unthinkable monstrosities. The plan? Assassinate the king and stop the war. But when they discover a nefarious conspiracy that goes beyond their two countries, everything Nadya believes is thrown into question, including her budding feelings for her new partner. Someone has been harvesting blood mages for a dark purpose, experimenting with combining Tranavian blood magic with the Kalyazi's divine one. In order to save her people, Nadya must now decide whether to trust the High Prince - her country's enemy - or the beautiful boy with powers that may ignite something far worse than the war they're trying to end.

Everything about this screams excitement to me. Magic! Fantasy land! War! Politics! Basically I need more things to filled "The Priory of the Orange Tree" shaped hole in my heart. Gimme!

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
May 2nd 2019
After escaping from imprisonment under the brutal Kaiser, Theodosia is on the run, plotting to take revenge and reclaim her rightful place as queen of the enslaved Astreans.Thousands of miles away from her people and her throne, Theo and her friends must work to gather an army. And the only way is to auction herself as a bride – to the kingdom who will pay the most. Freedom always comes at a price and with the Kaiser closing in, she must rely on her wits to identify who she can really trust.
I know, I know, I still need to read the first book. But I know I'm going to love it, and I can still desperately want the sequel even not really knowing what's happening... I don't have a book problem. Really, I don't...

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
May 7th 2019
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, not big, important emotions - like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better - that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly refuses to consider a relationship, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. So when the opportunity arises to go to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down. This could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go quite as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working... but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection.As Esme's time in the United States dwindles, will Khai let his head catch up with his heart? Will he find the strength to let go, and let love in?

I've seen so much buzz about this one already, and it just sounds amazing! I really need to read "The Kiss Quotient" too, but I cannot wait to get my hands on this!

Romanov by Nadine Brandes
May 30th 2019
The history books say I died. They don't know the half of it. Anastasia "Nastya" Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family's only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them... and he's hunted Romanov before. Nastya's only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn't act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya's only dabbled in magic, but it doesn't frighten her half as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her... That is, until she's on one side of a firing squad... and he's on the other.

I adore stories about the Romanovs so this just sounds amazing and exciting and I really hope it lives up to the hype, because I want to love it so bad!

There you have the books I can't wait for this month, now tell me some of yours in the comments below!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: The first ten books I reviewed on The Review Diaries

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the fabulous Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl. You can join in with future topics here!

Ah those were the days! The ones when I first started blogging and frankly was not the best, but I was young and bright eyed and eager to share my love of the books with the world!
It's been nine years, and looking back I fear that I somewhat questionable taste in some of my first reads and reviews for the blog. But it's always fun to dig them out and see how far I've come. So without further ado, here are the first ten book reviews I wrote for this site!

Matched by Ally Condie
A weirdly strange dystopian that never managed to capture my heart enough for me to finish reading the trilogy. It was still enjoyable, and I can recall a few of the details of the story, but not enough to make me want to revisit it.
You can read my full review here.

From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara
Gosh I still love this book. A pitch perfect romance that takes some of the best parts of my very favourite rom coms and weaves them into a truly stunning debut. It's been years since I last read this one, but I'm feeling super nostalgic now and want to go back for a re-read!
You can read my full review here.

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn
Deanna Raybourn still holds my heart for the best historical murder mystery novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. This book marked a shift in the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, stepping away from the will they/won't they of the first three novels, and showcasing what life together looks like for Julia and Brisbane. I still love this book and I revisit it frequently.
You can read my full review here.

Entice by Carrie Jones
I have vague memories of a super cold setting, faeries, and some norse mythology thrown in, but I couldn't tell you anything more about this book. Oh, the covers are quite cool. Yeah, that's it.
You can read my full review here.

Strictly Shimmer by Amanda Roberts
This was a terrible decision. No matter how much I enjoyed Strictly Come Dancing, this book was a poor life choice. I hadn't quite worked out how to review a book that I didn't like by this point, so I mostly just got frustrated. Spoiler alert, despite my intentions, I did not go back and subject myself to the second book - in fact I've no idea if it was even published.
You can read my full review here.

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Despite my better judgement and general vampire fatigue of the time, I actually enjoyed this vampire filled story. What I most remember about reading this one, was the feeling of sinking into a good story and becoming utterly lost inside it. It's not one I've revisited since, but I have fond recollections of reading it.
You can read my full review here.

New Cardiff by Charles Webb
I found the film (Hope Springs, starring Colin Firth) first and thoroughly love it, so I was intrigued to find out what the book was like. In answer, not at all like the film. A curious, fascinatingly written story, I found myself appreciating the book as its own entity and finished loving both.
You can read my full review here.

When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James
My love affair with Eloisa James was only really beginning way back when nine years ago. Thankfully it's still going strong, and her Desperate Duchesses series remains my favourite of all her works. Plus I love the UK covers.
You can read my full review here.

Entangled by Cat Clarke
A gorgeous debut novel I loved Clarke's writing, and have come back to her and her startlingly real stories many times over the years.
You can read my full review here.

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
This novel still makes me cry. All of Ali's do. It's beautiful, captivating, heart breaking, dark and twisty and filled with unexpected magic. It's a quiet novel that utterly ruined me, but I still think of it often.
You can read my full review here.

So there you have the first ten book reviews I posted on this site! I have to admit, it's been a blast going back and digging through my first few posts - working out which books I started with and what I remember of them. 

Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 15 April 2019

TV review: Game of Thrones S08E01 - Winterfell

After a nearly interminable wait between seven and eight, a mammoth re-watch of the preceding seasons, and far too many theories to count -  season eight finally aired its premier episode last night and hit all of the right notes.

Moving multiple people around on the ever moving chessboard as we set up for the big battle to come, this was a relatively understated affair that still packed a hell of a punch as we're thrust back into the world of Thrones.

Given that most people in the UK will have been sensible and not gotten up to watch the premier at 2am, my thoughts on the episode are below the cut.