"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

Monday, 30 March 2015

Top Ten Books Recently Added to my TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Now my TBR list is huge. Absolutely enormous. My amazon wishlist and goodreads to-be-read list is crazily long. There's just too many good books out there and sadly not enough time to read them. But I'm really excited for some of these and I really really really do hope to get to them sometime soon. Of course that means buying them which is a bit tricky when you're supposed to be cutting back on book buying but hey isn't that every book lovers dilemma?! 


After discovering the wonderful author that is Maria V Snyder a few years ago and devouring her books wholeheartedly, you can guess that I was super excited to hear that Shadow Study was an actual real thing. That excitement turned to pure joy when I read an ARC of it a few weeks back. Now I'm even more excited to say I'm participating in the UK blog tour of Shadow Study to celebrate it's release and have a wonderful guest post from Maria herself for you today. She explains what influenced and inspired her when she first created the magical worlds that feature in her books. World-building completely makes or breaks a book for me especially when it comes to fantasy books. So it's such fun to get an insight into the inspiration that the author drew upon to create her absolutely fantastic worlds. 

So without further ado, I give you Maria V Snyder!

I was reading Orson Scott Card’s book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. In chapter 3, Card tells the writer to consider some questions before choosing the main character. He wrote, “Too often—particularly in medieval fantasy—writers think their story must be about rulers. Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses—they can be extravagantly powerful, yes, but too often they aren’t free at all. If you understand the workings of power in human societies, you’ll know that the greatest freedom is to act in unpredictable ways is usually found away from the centres of power.” 

This comment led me to think about a person who was close enough to the centre of power to witness important events, yet not be the Prince or Princess. I thought about a food taster and a scene jumped into my mind. A woman tasted food that was most likely poisoned and the point of view character was the King. He watched her with heartbreaking horror because he had fallen in love with her, but protocol demanded that she taste his food. That led me to wonder about this woman. Who was she? Why was she there? Why would a King fall in love with her? And Poison Study was born. The fact I thought about a food taster wasn’t that random. My husband works for Mars Chocolate (they make Dove™, Snickers™, M&Ms™, etc…) and a part of his job is tasting chocolate. So I heard quite a bit about tasting methods, spices, flavors, mouth feel, etc… over the years. It must have all nested in my subconscious so when I needed an interesting character out popped a food taster! :)

I originally thought I’d have a monarch for my fantasy novel, but there are so many books with monarchs, that I wanted something different. I sparked on a military dictatorship. Where this military dictatorship came from is easy to trace. I can link Ixia back to my 12 years in Catholic school. I wore a uniform to school every day and loved it. It made my life so much easier in the mornings.

Many aspects of my life can be found in my books. My parents took me on a tour of a glass factory when I was 12 years-old and glass has become a huge part of the Glass books. I took gymnastic classes and loved to climb trees.
Since I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, all types of things will bubble up from my subconscious while I’m writing. It’s fun and I embrace what comes my way. However, I do plan a few things out and will do research for the things I haven’t experienced. For example, I learned how to ride a horse. Since I grew up in a city, I’d never been around horses and I needed first-hand information. If possible, I do as much hands-on research as I can.

Another factor while I was writing the Chronicles of Ixia, was being a member of a writing critique group. My fellow writers helped me improve the story and my writing. I also attended Seton Hill University’s Masters Program in writing at the time, and my experience there was fabulous. The teachers and students not only provided priceless feedback, but they inspired and motivated me.

I guess if I boil it down to one word, life influenced and inspired me while working on the books. And I hope it continues to do so! I’m certainly going to continue to keep an open mind and experience as much of life as possible! 


Big thanks goes to Maria for providing such an interesting post! I adore her Study and Healer series so getting that little bit of insight has been great. Also check out my review of Shadow Study. It was amazing!

Thanks Mira Ink for allowing my blog to feature in the Shadow Study blog tour!


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So I found this post a little tricky as I have so many books I want to read! Right now I'm actually just picking up any book that takes my fancy; I don't really do TBR lists so I might change my mind about what books I want to read. But these are the books I'm hoping to get to sometime soon. There's a few others too such as a ton of Bill Bryson books I want to read and a few Netgalley books. I'm trying to read a lot of my physical books because I'm (hopefully!) off traveling at the end of the summer and won't be able to take any with me! So I'm scouring my bookshelves to dust off all those books that have been waiting to be read for the last few years! Also some of the following books I actually don't own...so I might just have to buy some new books (cheer!) which is perfectly fine by me but I should be saving...  

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Amazing World-Building!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I made a long list of topics to discuss in today's post. I didn't really want to choose a genre or a certain book but an interesting topic. That finally lead me to books that have such amazingly well developed worlds and epic world-building. Worlds that are so highly imaginative, so vividly described, so intricately detailed, tactile and alive. Worlds that you are transported to in just a few words. Worlds that have a solid structure with their own complex society, politics, rules, conflicts. So this post is for all of you out there that love sinking your teeth into a book that has such fascinating worlds and those of you who adore exploring new, undiscovered places full of magic, intrigue, mystery and danger. 
Beautiful writing brings this luxurious and intoxicating world to life brilliantly. A world seeped in history and politics it's rich, ancient, elegant and gritty. The Winner's Crime allowed us to further explore this vivid, complex world. 

Need I say much about the outstanding world that is Middle Earth. Tolkien was pure genius, creating a mythical and absolutely entrancing world that is seeped in layers and layers and layers of history and myth. Seriously, there's so much more to Middle Earth than what we see in LOTR and The Hobbit. It's just a beautiful world, expertly constructed. 

Not only is Jodi Meadows' writing delicious but also her unique and magical world. It really is the most enchanting place, so alluring in its portrayal of a fantastical, mythical world. I loved the sense of peace and serenity that permeated throughout but also the haunting and eerie atmosphere that crept in here and there. It was definitely a mysterious place.

Sanderson has expertly crafted such a complex, riveting and absorbing world. The detail in this book is immense and you really feel the oppressive atmosphere of this dark and dangerous world. It just emanates throughout, pouring off the pages, pulling us into this intricate, magical world.

A Court of Thorns and Roses has the most seductive, delectable and bewitching world. It's otherworldly, whimsical and enchanting. The world is rich and vivid and also extremely tactile. You really can imagine that you're there; it's absorbing and gripping. A beautiful but mysterious place where danger lurks in the shadows. 

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series is truly epic. Epic in its scope and imagination, in its extensive world-building and engrossing history and politics. It's such a colossal world incorporating swathes of varying terrains and lands that just leap off the pages. Westeros is a wondrous and breathtaking place of sweeping landscapes, perilous seas, treacherous winters and legendary creatures. It's pure amazing. 

A Girl of Fire and Thorns had such an exotic, enticing and captivating world. The desert setting made it a unique and seductive place, exquisite in its rich and vivid portrayal. Truly, Carson's writing is so descriptive creating an immersive and complex world.

Snyder is a fantasy genius. Not only is Poison Study a brilliant example of exquisite world-building but Touch of Power also displays her expertise perfectly. Her worlds are rich, striking and entrancing; amazing examples of mesmerising world-building.

Cinder really exhibited Meyer's astounding imagination, creativity and skill with world-building. A futuristic, sci-fi setting it's gritty, authentic and surprisingly realistic. It's mesmerising in its portrayal of a world that seems vaguely familiar but yet fresh and alien. It's such a fascinating world that we explore in more depth in Scarlet and Cress.

Throne of Glass is exquisite. Just stunning. The story, the characters and the world. A Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire allows us to delve into this world in much more depth. It's fantastical, rich, bright and enchanting, with a magical twist and gritty edge. It's expertly crafted and just amazingly immersive. I can't wait to explore the world more in future books.