Review: Expanded Companion Guide: World of Linaria Part 1 by L.L. McNeil

Last night I stayed up until 2:30am so I could finish reading Moroda by L.L. McNeil and I’ve been exhausted all day because of it! No regrets though as it was fantastic! I’ll be posting a full review sometime this week but I wanted to give some love to the amazing World of Linaria series by writing a little review for the Expanded Companion Guide! ❤

I asked my Bookstagram followers if they liked companion guides and most said no! 😱 Honestly I was a bit shocked, but after reading everyone’s explanations I can understand why. Sometimes companions or extra content for a series can be quite pointless. I’ve read some where nothing new is added or they’re just really bland. The whole point of them is to celebrate the world or even excite the reader enough to reread the original story again. Thankfully this guide isn’t like that and is actually really good!

This guide is such a wonderful addition to the World of Linaria series! With detailed character profiles and dedicated sections for magic, history and lore its a must have for fans of the series!

I believe glossaries are a definite MUST for any epic fantasy series and the one provided in this guide has been so useful during my read through of Moroda and I’m sure will be well used as I explore the rest of the world in Palom and Amarah (Books 2 & 3). I also love all the character art included and how it helps to brings the world to life!

You can tell McNeil cares for this companion just as much as her novels and she’s spent plently of her time on making it useful to the reader. Pretty much every named or relevant character has beautiful character art and a brief but detailed info on who they are and their motovations. The lore and magic sections towards the back of the companion have been really useful to be as a quick refresher and reference for the more important details on Linaria.

Overall I’m very glad I picked this up and would recommend it to anyone who loves the series!

November TBR: I like fantasy, can you tell? 😉

Hello Book Bats! Here’s my November TBR! 📚📚📚

(All photos are from my Bookstagram, links to original posts included)

Books 📚

“You are being watched. All your pathways have already been seen.”

Huge thank you to Bridie from Outlet Publishing for sending me a free copy of Lost Frequencies in exchange for an honest review! Lost Frequencies is a Sci-fi fantasy novel by Caitlin Lynagh, out 19 Nov, 2019.

I’m very excited to read this as I haven’t read a proper sci-fi for a couple of years now!

Lost Frequencies (314 pages) synopsis (words by Outlet Publishing):

During a salvage hunt in the desolate wastelands of Planet Iyeeka, a strange naked woman is discovered inside a metal machine. No one has lived in the area for decades.
Ten wise Iyeekens are drawn to the woman through their dreams and eventually follow her, along with the three who found her, through their war-torn land in search of truth. They believe she is the key to saving their dying planet. She has knowledge even she doesn’t understand. Yet. Who are these aliens she so vividly remembers? What is the significance of this planet Earth and its inhabitants? And why is her knowledge essential in saving their world?

I was luckly enough to have 3 different titles sent to me for review this month. This time its Forever and a Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton. Huge thank you this time to Hailey from Kaye Publicity for sending me not only FAAD, but the entire Dru Jasper series as well! 😄

Forver and a Doomsday is the latest in the Dru Jasper series (4 books), though all can be read as a stand-alone. I’m halfway through It Happened One Doomsday (Book 1) and I am loving the dynamic between Dru and Greyson so far and am excited to see how they develop throughout the series!

Forever and a Doomsday (288 pages) synopsis (words by PYR):

When insidious spirits from beyond the grave try to get their clutches on the apocalypse scroll, Dru Jasper and her misfit friends are the only hope for stopping doomsday. Crystal shop owner and up-and-coming sorceress Dru Jasper is the unwilling guardian of the apocalypse scroll, an ancient instrument of destruction held in check by the last of seven wax seals. If the forces of darkness manage to break the final seal, the world will come to a fiery end. It’s up to Dru to keep the scroll safe. No pressure or anything. When a chilling cohort of soul-devouring wraiths breaks free of the netherworld to get their ghostly fingers on the scroll, it’s up to Dru and her friends to stop them. These freakishly evil spirits can kill with just a touch.
To fight them, Dru needs a rare crystal older than the Earth itself. Her only hope of finding it is to race to a meteorite crater deep in the desert, with the wraiths right on her tail. But as her friends lose their magical powers to the life-draining evil of the wraiths, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The only chance to stop doomsday is for Dru to descend into the depths of the netherworld. There, she must unearth the secrets of a lost city and overcome a long-lost enemy from her past. Can she find a way to save her friends and safeguard the scroll forever–before the wraiths break the seventh seal and bring on doomsday?

Kaye Publicity also sent me The Last Road by K. V. Johanson in exchange for a free review on Instagram. I’ll be reading this next month as I’m already reading so much fantasy this month. I’ve included the synopsis below just in case this beautiful cover has peaked your interest!

The Last Road (518 pages) synopsis (words by PYR):

When even the gods are dying, the hope of the world may lie in its most feared enemies. A new god proclaimed as the All-Holy has arisen in the west and leads an army eastward, devouring the gods and goddesses of the lands between, forcibly converting their folk and binding their souls to himself. The very fabric of the world appears threatened by forces beyond the understanding of scholars and wizards alike. Even the great city of Marakand, where the roads of east and west converge, seems powerless to resist the All-Holy, though the devils Moth and Yeh-Lin and the assassin Ahjvar, undead consort of the god of distant Nabban, have come to stand with it. That may avail Marakand little, for the shapeshifting Blackdog, once a champion of the gods, follows obediently at the All-Holy’s heel and Lakkariss, the sword of the cold hells, is in his master’s hand.

The next two books in my November TBR are Moroda and Palom by L.L. McNeil! The World of Linaria is the self-published epic fantasy series, with Book 1 Moroda shortlisted for the Best Indie Book Awards 2017 in Fantasy!

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lauren on two occasions, both at MCM London Comic Con, which is where I purchased her novels. She is an absolute sweetheart and the passion she has for this world and her characters was clear to me even after a short conversation with her, so I just had to pick up this series! I have around 100 pages left of Book 1 and will probably jump straight into Palom right after. I think Kohl is my favourite character so far and at this point in the story he has so much mystery about him. He’s also an Arillian, a race of winged people that can control storm which is freaking cool! I also have a soft spot for Amarah, the airship pilot on the run, though she would probably punch me for showing her any kind of affection! 😂

Moroda (426 pages) synopsis (words by L.L. McNeil:

Linaria is a world where dragons are revered as gods, where airships rule the skies, and where war is stirring.
For Moroda, a former Goldstone, her life of luxury ends following her father’s sudden death. When her city is destroyed by a dragon, she and her sister ally with a sky pirate and narrowly escape the carnage—only to find a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before Moroda, too, is forced to submit.
With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.

My final read for November is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, but I’m sure none of you have heard of her! 😂 All jokes aside, Ninth House is the dark fantasy adult debut by # 1 NYT Bestselling Author of the GrishaVerse trilogy and Six of Crows duology. I would also say NH was a pretty strong horror contender, I’m 150 pages in so far and I’m already pretty spooked, ghosts are no friend to anyone in this book.

Ninth House (458 pages) synopsis (words by Gollancz):

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Audiobooks 🎧

The Harry Potter readalong continues! I have 1 chapter left of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and plan to start listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows right after!

So that’s it for my November TBR! There are a few comics I plan to read this month but due to the large amount of books I received for review this month I’m not sure if I’ll have time for comic books.

What are you reading this month? Are there any books I’ve mentioned that you might pick up? Let me know in a comment!

Until next time,

Alice x

Mini blog/life update 6 Nov ’19

Hello Book Bats!

Hope you’re all having an amazing week so far. To start with I’ve decided to address my readers as “Book Bats” because it relates back to my bookish handle and I feel like almost every blogger has a quirky name for their readers. Or maybe I should scrap that idea, let me know. 🤔

This is a brief update on my bookish life and what has been going on with me since my last update.

Tw: mental health (very brief though)

A few months ago I was in a really dark place mentally. I was super unmotivated to do anything, even getting out of bed was difficult for me. I only really left the house to buy food and go to work; a job that was slowly eating away at my soul. I won’t go into it as its the usual reason everyone gives for leaving a job: overworked and underappreciated. I got along with most of my team and I do miss working alongside them but it was better for me to move on and find somewhere new.

I waited until I’d secured a new job before resigning (’cause I’m responsible) and the last two weeks of work were so draining, but I got through it! My new job is at my local cinema, so I get free movies now (expect some film reviews soon). The team there have been so friendly and welcoming to myself and the other newbies and everything has been great so far. The only real downside is I’m earning less an hour now, as well as going from full time to part time work. The upside to this is I now have time to commit to my blog properly and can do normal ‘adult’ things like exercise and making healthy meals, maybe even some baking? 🍰

So what’s been happening in my blogging life?

This past month I’ve recieved my first ARCs and proof copies for review, which is so exciting! The first couple of posts are up on my Bookstagram (here and here), with the first review to be published on my blog by the end of the week. My plans for my blog moving forward are to post at least 3 times a week, with a mix of reviews, TBRs and Wrap Ups, bookish tags, info on upcoming releases I’m excited about and a few other projects I’m still trying to figure out. I’d also like to continue my ‘Books Vs TV’ series and maybe some ‘Books Vs Film’ posts to come in the future. My first ‘Books to TV’ was on The Last Kingdom which is available to read now!

That’s it for today (its not called a mini update for nothing 😉).

Thank you for checking out my little nerdy corner on the internet. There are 40 of you now which is incredible!

Until next time,

Alice x

June TBR 2019: So many dragons

Hello bookworms!

It has been so long since I’ve given you a reading update and I am very sorry about that. Finding motivation to read has been hard but I think I’m slowly but surely getting back into it.

Books

My June TBR is small but understandable when you look at the size of the first book: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Over 800 pages, it’s a beast! I’m planning on reading Priory in 50 page chunks so I can get through it at a steady pace without burning out. The ending of Game of Thrones left me a little disappointed so I’m hoping this epic fantasy will satisfy all my dragon needs!

Next is Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I picked up a signed copy at MCM London Comic Con last month and got to hear Susan speak at a few panels. The Worldbuilding panel in particular was great and made me want to pick up Truthwitch right away. I’m currently 200ish pages in and am loving it so far. Will be reviewing it very soon!

Another fantasy book for this month (now I’m thinking about it, it might be too much fantasy for one month), is Moroda by L.L. Mcneil. She’s a self-published author and I stumbled upon her booth at MCM London Comic Con also. I’m looking forward to discovering the World of Linaria and how they manage to function with air ships AND dragons… Sounds like being a pilot would be a terrible career choice!

Comic Books

Just one series this month: Red Hood and the Outlaws (Vol. 1-3). I started reading this series years ago back when I was up to date with DC Comics and I remember enjoying it. I managed to pick up three volumes in the comiXology sale for £3.99 each!

Audiobooks

As I have been feeling so low recently I thought a return to the wizarding world would be quite nice. June’s Audio-advanture is Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix! Truth be told, I think I’ve only seen the fifth HP film twice (anything after Goblet of Fire I’ve only seen a handful of times), so I, well, don’t remember much about how it all plays out from here. 😕 I remember Umbridge being a total bitch and Harry teaching everyone the Patronus charm in a secret room… But that’s kind of it. I think knowing what actually happens would be nice. I know some people say this is their favourite book of the series so hopefully I’ll really enjoy it!

And that’s my reading list for June. What are you reading this month? Let me know if you have a TBR post up and I’ll read it! 😄

January Wrap up & February TBR 2019

January was a pretty poor reading month if I’m completely honest. I only complete two books: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling) and Atomic Habits (James Clear). Although I did start the latest series of Doctor Who comics by Jody Houser as well.

The books left over from January now roll over to February, including one audio book. I never really gave audiobooks a try but everyone seems to be really getting into them at the moment so I feel a bit left out!

So here’s my February TBR:

  • Doom Patrol Vol. 2 by Gerard Way, art by Nick Derington
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab (reread)
  • Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
  • Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (AudioBook)

Let’s hope I do better this month!

The first TBR of 2019! January

Welcome to my first tbr post of 2019! I know its already 12 days into January but I’ve been doing so many hours at work recently so I haven’t had time to write any blog posts! Here’s a breakdown of what I’m planning to read this month:

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
This is my first time reading the HP series (I know, I’m a terrible person). One of my friends said this book is incredibly different from the film so I’m interested to see how different it is.

2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
The sequel to Six of Crows, which I though was an OK book (sorry about it). I’m already halfway through and I like it so much more than the first book.

IMG_20181213_152055_449.jpg

3. Atomic Habits by James Clear
I bought this book after Thomas Frank mentioned it on his YouTube channel. My life is a mess right now so figuring out how to improve my habits would be great for me.

IMG_20181115_160634_918.jpg

4. Doom Patrol Vol. 2 by Gerard Way, art by Nick Derington
I can’t wait to continue this weird and wonderful comic and you should check it out if you enjoy a bold and colourful art style and quirky characters.

IMG_20190102_154852_405.jpg

5. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Did I start reading this in summer last year? Yes. Yes, I did. I read the first 100 or so pages before I put this book into storage with all of my other stuff before I moved back from University, but then I just forgot about it and started reading other books. I believe the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, comes out in February so I need to finish this book.

cbb

6. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
I’M READING THIS AGAIN BECAUSE I’M TRASH. PLEASE SAVE MY SOUL.

7. Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
Sequel to Vicious, of course I’m going to read this. Also Victor is confirmed as asexual in Vengeful so I’m SO hype for that.

IMG_20180920_171540_935.jpg

So that was my January TBR. Will I stick to it? Probably not! What are you reading this month? Let me know on Instagram (where I post all of these lovely photos!)

3⭐ Reviews: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

20181129_222035.jpg

“No Mourners.”
“No Funerals”
I love this and I hate that I didn’t come up with it myself!

This was probably the first time I’ve turned a page and thought “oh, that’s the end.” Meaning, “I thought this was the end of the chapter, not the entire book.” (but in all fairness this is the first part of duology and not all book endings are created equal).

Overall I enjoyed Six of Crows and I liked the characters but I feel a little underwhelmed with it. I’m not even sure I cared enough for the conflict or the goal. Bardugo switches between different character perspectives every chapter, making the story progression a little unclear. I know we should be rooting for this entire group but it seemed a bit messy and the characters didn’t feel equal at all. Inej and Kaz are the only two characters with clear “past, present, future” narratives, but I think part of Kaz’s past was just thrown in at the wrong part in the story and purely for the reader’s benefit. It would have been a bit more impactful if he had shared it with Inej… Or anyone really. I liked the interactions between Jesper and Wylan (please become boyfriends in the next book!) and I kinda like Nina and Matthias but they felt like they were just the side characters along for the ride.

I’m still not great at writing reviews. I am looking forward to reading more books in the GrishaVerse, including the next book in this duology: Crooked Kingdom.