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In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.
Though they dont have as much mainstream popularity as a few years ago, I still love a good paranormal romance / urban fantasy novel. Over the years I have read many books by most of the biggest names in the genre but never any by Nalini Singh. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Psy-Changeling series starting, I decided to give the first book, Slave To Sensation, a try.
The story is set in a world with Psy (people with various powers such as mind control) and Changelings (shapeshifters) living alongside humans, who dont feature much in this particular book. The main characters Sasha and Lucas are a Psy and a Changeling respectively, two warring factions, so it is a bit of a Romeo and Juliet tale. The romantic storyline is the the strongest element of the book but romance isnt all this has to offer. The Psy-Changeling world is really interesting and quite well built but there is still plenty of room to develop and build further in the future books.
There is a "detective story" element to this book and that was probably my favourite bit. The characters are trying to catch a serial killer and the mystery of "who dunnit" and them trying to track down the culprit was really well done. It added some extra excitement and a bit of edge to what otherwise would have been a very standard shifter romance like so many on the market. As for the characters, Lucas was great, a well written typical alpha hero. Sasha wasnt one Iif my favorite characters but she developed really well as the book went on. I would have liked to see her do more with her potential at the end.
Overall, Slave To Sensation is sexy, romantic, action packed, mysterious and has a great dose of humour. It is on the upper end of the raunchy scale for this type of book with a few sexually explicit scenes, so if that isnt your cup of tea then it is probably best to give this book a miss. However, if you are looking for a steamy romance that brings some excitement, adventure, and shapeshifters to the table, then this is perfect. I will definately be looking to read more of the books in this series.
Try it for youself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
For the chance to win a copy of the book courtesy of Gollancz checknout my instagram and twitter. You can enter on both for two entries.
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 30 Jun 2016
In October, my all-time favourite author Brandon Sanderson visited the UK to promote the release of his latest book Shadows Of Self. During that time not only was I lucky enough to hear him talk at GolanczFest2015 and get several books signed, but I was also offered the opportunity to interview him in person at the beautiful Hachette offices in central London. For anyone who hasn't heard of Brandon Sanderson, he is a bestselling and award winning author of fantasy novels such as The Final Empire and The Way Of Kings and was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's The Wheel Of Time series after his untimely passing. Brandon also teaches some creative writing classes and runs the amazing podcast "Writing Excuses".
So one grey Monday morning I headed off down to the banks of the Thames for an experience I would never have dreamed possible. Armed with my trusty phone (previous experience has shown me to never rely on a Tascam for audio recordings) I managed not to fangirl too much whilst being introduced to Brandon before settling down to chat about his books. And by chat I mean that I mainly sat in awe completely enraptured by what he was saying whilst managing to occasionally squeak out some questions.
The below interview is entirely spoiler free as I wanted it to be something that everyone could enjoy regardless of which books they had read previously. So if you want to learn more about Brandon Sanderson's books, why he does what he does and much more then please read on.
***Note - the below text was transcribed from an in person conversation and has been minimally changed from its pure form***
Thank you so much to Brandon Sanderson for doing this interview and also to all the people at Gollancz for making it happen, particularly Lucy from The Book Belle.
If you have read some of Brandon's books before then I hope you found this interview as fascinating as I did and if you are new to his books then what are you waiting for! The Mistborn trilogy is my favourite, but if you would prefer a standalone novel then both Elantris and Warbreaker are incredible full-length reads.
I can second many of the books that Brandon talks about in the above interview. In particular Uprooted is really quite fantastic and also has the most beautiful cover - if you live in the UK that is. Brandon's website is an amazing resource as he posts a lot about writing, has lots of deleted scenes, creates annotations to his tales so you can see what he was thinking at every moment, and even has some free reads. Following on from the original Vin deleted scene mentioned above, one of my favourite posts charts the progression of how the first chapter of The Final Empire changed from the first draft and is a fascinating read for numerous reasons.
Meeting my number one favourite author was an amazing experience that perfectly rounded off my unplanned September to October reread of all of his books and I hope he comes back to the UK again in the future.
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 13 Nov 2015
It is incredibly exciting to now be living in the heart of bookish England and, after a few months, I have started to find my feet and get settled enough to feel like I can pick up blogging again. Things will be changing slightly from how they used to be, but expect lots of recommendations, discussion posts, reviews, and posts from both authors and other industry professionals. Coming up soon is an interview with my all time favourite author!
If you want to get involved with Bookish Treasures in some way then please get in touch. Authors, assistants, publicists etc. please do read my authors/publishers page before contacting me about any potential reviews or features as my policies have changed slightly.
In celebration of finally being back and blogging again, I have two giveaways that will be running for the next month, one big one for UK residents and one that is open internationally so that non UK-ers don't have to be left out.
One surprise box of books and swag (mainly YA's). Now the contents are a surprise partially because I haven't decided exactly what will be included yet! However I promise that it will be awesome: think multiple books, some of which will be signed, and some fun swag.
Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to those with a UK postal address only, however I have an international giveaway further down!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One book of your choice up to a value of $10 from the book depository.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winners for both giveaways will be selected in late November and prizes will be sent out in early December.
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 25 Oct 2015
Today's feature is a guest post from author Alexia Casale whose most recent novel House Of Windows has just released.
House Of Windows by Alexia Casale
'The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.' Robert Louis Stevenson
Nick hates it when people call him a genius. Sure, he's going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that's just because he works hard. And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father.
Not that his strategy is working.
When he arrives at Cambridge, he finds the work hard and socialising even harder. Until, that is, he starts to cox for the college rowing crew and all hell breaks loose...
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
The Cambridge in House Of Windows
About the Author
After an MA in Social & Political Sciences (Psychology major) then MPhil in Educational Psychology & Technology, both at Cambridge University, she took a break from academia and moved to New York. There she worked on a Tony-award-winning Broadway show before returning to England to complete a PhD and teaching qualification. In between, she worked as a West End script-critic, box-office manager for a music festival and executive editor of a human rights journal.
She’s not sure which side of the family her dyslexia comes from, but is resigned to the fact that madness runs in both. She loves cats, collects glass animals and interesting knives, and has always wanted a dragon.
Alexia is represented by Claire Wilson of Rogers, Coleridge & White.
Her debut novel, The Bone Dragon, is published in English by Faber & Faber, and in German by Carlsen.
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 14 Aug 2015
Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight...
Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.
When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance - and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them - their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had... or destroy the fragile recoveries they've only started to make.
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
It is hard to find the right words to do justice to just how much I loved this book and how perfect it was. Katherine Locke has personal experience with many of the issues her characters have in the book (though as far as I know she does have two legs) and this really shows in how perfectly they are portrayed and how everything seems to come from the heart.
Lyrical and haunting, Katherine's writing perfectly captures the innermost thoughts and feelings of the characters. Aly and Zed were both simply fantastic to read about. They each have struggles and demons that they have to deal with and the conflicts they deal with seemed so real. As a couple they aren't perfect but have a spark that really makes you root for them and want them to get as close to a happily ever after as they can manage.
Second Position follows many traditional romance tropes but also has much to make it unique. I can honestly say that I cannot think of many (if any other than this!) featuring one main character with multiple mental health issues where the second is a former ballet dancer whose career was cut short when he lost his leg in a car accident. This is a second chance romance that contains many of the diverse elements that people seem to be begging for in books right now.
Having danced all my life and for several years wanting to do it professionally, I always love reading books that feature ballet. Second Position is definitely one of my favourites as it seems so realistic showing both the highs and lows that dancers experience on a regular basis.
I have been searching for a diverse New Adult novel that sensitively, and realistically tackles serious issues and Second Position perfectly fits the bill. I highly recommend this one.
Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 12 Aug 2015
Today's feature is a guest post from author Lilly Avalon whose first New Adult book is releasing later this month and this is also the first time she has written in male POV.
Unexpected by Lilly Avalon
Ever had one of those days? Alina Lyons is having one. Everything keeps falling apart and going wrong. Just when she thinks it couldn't get worse, it does. After a case of mistaken identity and a broken heart, she finds herself questioning the things she thought she knew. She wonders who she can turn to or trust anymore.
An unlikely bond with her former best friend's ex, Ryan Wilcox, sends her life in a new direction. He offers her a place to stay while she gets her life back on track. His friendship is exactly what she's been missing—what she's been needing. Alina's never felt this alive. As time goes by, the dynamic of their relationship becomes more than either of them expected. A few innocent kisses could lead them in a new direction, but are they prepared for what's on the other side?
Only one way to find out.
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
On Writing in Male POV
Last year when I first started writing Unexpected, it was originally going to be in Alina's point of view only. I've written all my stories from female POV since I started. The majority of the books I've read are told from a female protagonist's POV, so it was fresh and clear in my head. There was something missing from the story, though, so I had to set it aside. I didn't pinpoint it until more than half a year later after I finished my fourth published story. The reason why Unexpected wasn't working was because it needed to be told from Ryan's POV, too.
This was a surprising (and exciting) revelation for me. I've read several stories told in dual POV and always wanted to take a stab at it myself. My biggest fear? Making Ryan's voice sound believable. I hadn't dabbled in it before Unexpected, and after writing from the POV of my female characters for so long, I needed to adapt. I was also afraid of bouncing back and forth between Alina and Ryan, and whether I could handle two points of view at once.
I had several scenes already written from before (all of which were in Alina's POV) so I had a lot to sift through and change. When I got to Ryan's first chapter, I tapped into the inner workings of his head. "If I were in Ryan's shoes, how would I be reacting? What would I be thinking? What would be driving my reactions and thoughts?" My female protagonists have all had male love interests, so I'm aware of the body language and the dialogue. His thoughts, however, were a different story.
His whole first chapter was something I had to spend extra time on. As I wrote his inner monologue, I would have to stop and think for a moment: "Is this really what he's thinking about? Why would he be contemplating this?" There were a couple times I felt like Alina's POV was seeping through, so I had to delete words, sentences, and paragraphs because they weren't right. I pressed on, digging deeper into Ryan's psyche. And then he spoke. I felt like I was finally there--Ryan was letting me in and I could visualize him better than before.
I still doubted myself, though. I decided after writing four chapters (two in Alina's POV and two in Ryan's) that I would send them to a trusted writer friend to make sure I was on the right track. It felt like I was, but as a writer it's always good to get a second opinion. The point of view is a major aspect of the story--you need to nail it or the whole thing could fall apart. My friend read the chapters and told me that I was definitely on the right track. I was relieved to hear that.
As I progressed through the story, I could perceive Ryan's personality more and more. When I asked the right questions, he gave me the answers I needed. His motivation was key--discern the motivation and get a clear answer to his actions. He surprised me on more than one occasion, but in a good way. By the time I reached the end, it felt like Ryan was part of me.
When you're writing in a new perspective, especially one you've never written in before, it does take time to develop a knack for it. One thing I attribute the success of Ryan's POV to is reading. Go out of your way to read several books told in either dual POV or male POV. Pay close attention to the male characters. That alone goes a long way when it comes to writing it. And when you are writing it, definitely ask your character as many questions as you can. You'll get the answers, not always immediately, but you will.
Writing in male POV was an experience for me. It felt daunting at first, but my confidence built up the more I kept at it. You learn a lot more about your characters when you have more than one perspective. It was a great change of pace and it expanded my repertoire. It was absolutely worth the effort to give it a try. I ended up enjoying the challenge and I know that this won't be the last male POV I write.
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 10 Jul 2015
Today's Feature Friday is very special to me due to the author involved. I have always said that here on Bookish Treasures we will feature books that are YA and up with exceptions made for particularly fantastic MG titles. Now this is one of those special exceptions. Back when I was about 10 years old (12 years ago now wow!) I read a fantastic book that quickly became a firm favourite of mine and to this day I still have it on my bookshelves as it is one of the only childhood books I cannot bear to part with (alongside Harry Potter and The Chronicles Of Narnia, with Watership Down being in my house somewhere). I am very happy today to welcome SF Said to Bookish Treasures to talk about this amazing book, Varjak Paw, and his newest release Phoenix.
Phoenix by SF Said
A BOY WITH THE POWER OF A STAR . . .
Lucky thinks he's an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing to him, and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him.
Now he's on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair . . .
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
Check out Phoenix's book trailer!
Interview with SF Said
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 3 Jul 2015
Last year had a few issues, mainly how crowded the space was, but many changes are being implemented to improve on everything that wasn't perfect. I have seen the venue and it is much larger which should massively reduce the crowding that I know gave a few people anxiety issues. We are also apparently having our own separate area in the venue just for YALC which I think will be a fantastic venue.
The full author list has now been announced and I'm sure you will agree that it is a fantastic line up! I think this is an even better line up than last year. There are several authors I am looking forwards to meeting that I have been fans of for several years such as Malorie Blackman, Moira Young, Judy Blume, LA Weatherly and Teri Terry. I also cant wait to meet relatively new-to-me authors such as Alexia Casale, Samantha Shannon and many more.
The programme is amazing and has a wide range of events from talks about hot trends and important topics in YA, to workshops on how to write, agents giving advice and much more. I currently plan on being at the following (though this may change and is also dependent on what time I am able to arrive on Friday) -
Apocalypse now: new directions in dystopia - I will probably miss this event due to only landing in back in England from 2 days in Barcelona at 2pm but if I can find a functioning time turner I WILL be at this event. Alternatively, I will just sniff out where these authors are located when I arrive as I really want to talk to them all.
Harry Potter party - Because OF COURSE!
YA: the next generation - These young authors are all the future of publishing so I am excited to hear them talk. It is also impossible to keep me away from anything about where YA as a category is heading.
Being a girl: feminism and YA today - Now not only does this topic sound amazing but several of my favourite authors are on this panel so I will be there with bells on.
Carrie Hope Fletcher's YALC book club - So Carrie Hope Fletcher is someone I only discovered existed recently (I must have been hiding under a rock) so I want to see what I have been missing :P
Judy Blume & Patrick Ness in conversation - Judy Blume was by far one of my favourite authors growing up, to the extent where for a drama exam my "free work" was reciting several pages from ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME MARGARET, so I am not missing the chance to see her talk.
Hunger Games quiz - Because why not?
Mental health in YA - This is a topic that is a huge talking point right now in YA and I believe is very important as many teenagers find solace and answers to their questions in fiction so an accurate portrayal of metal health issues is necessary.
Bringing sexy back - Last years "I'm Too Sexy For This Book" panel was my favourite moment of the weekend so I am definitely going to this follow up.
Between fantasy & reality - I love SF&F and this is the only panel specifically on that genre, I am also looking forwards to hearing more about these authors books as many are on my radar but I haven't read yet.
Troubled teens: dark subjects - Dark topics and their inclusion in YA always makes for an interesting discussion. I am personally all for dark issues that teens may face in their lives being included in fiction but where is the line of it being too adult?
Taking your blog to the next level - This clashes with the troubled teens panel so I don't yet know which I will attend, but this workshop on blogging sounds like a great opportunity to meet new bloggers, socialise with people I already know, and pick up some great new tips as a blog overhaul is certainly in the cards for Bookish Treasures.
LGBT in YA - Diversity in books as been a hot topic for well over a year now and I haven't yet had the chance to attend a talk specifically on LGBT diversity so I think this will be really interesting and hopefully put new books on my radar.
Sir Terry & me: being inspired by Terry Pratchett - I LOVED Terry Pratchett's books and I think this panel will be a lovely tribute to his great writing.
Booktubing for beginners - I have been toying with the idea of branching into booktubing for a while so people can have the option of either reading or watching my reviews based on their preferences. If I am going to do that then I want to do it properly so I think this workshop will be a great way to get some more information.
Ok so I know I am not going to be able to go to all of the Sunday talks because I wouldn't have time to eat, get books signed by authors, or even breathe, but I will see what I feel like doing on the day. Tickets are going quickly (Saturday only tickets have already sold out! Though full weekend tickets are already available) so don't miss out on what will surely be a fantastic event. YALC specific tickets have priority but LFCC regular tickets will get you access to the book area also.
I know a few people are planning on getting into the comic con spirit by cosplaying but I wouldn't have the first idea on where to start so you will probably just see me around in regular clothes. If you are coming then please let me know and we can arrange to say hello at some point :D
If you are going to YALC, what events are you most looking forwards to?
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 29 Jun 2015
There’s a drawer I never open. It holds a picture I never look at. It reminds me of a day I hate to remember, but I’ll never forget.
I’d give anything to be like the other girls on campus. Going to parties, flirting with boys, planning for a future. But that’s not me. And hasn’t been since the day my parents died. The only thing that got me through was Griffin. Even though I didn’t have my family, I always had him. Only, now I’m not so sure I do.
It’s not just the eleven hundred miles separating us now that I’m at college. And it’s more than his band finally taking off, and all the gigs and girls suddenly demanding his time. It’s like everything is different—the way we talk, the way we text . . . the way he looks at me and the way his looks make me feel.
Griffin has been the only good thing in my life since that horrific day. I can feel our friendship slipping away—and I’m terrified of what will be left in its place…
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
From a Contest to a Publishing Contract: Marie Meyer’s Publication Journey
Marie Meyer was a language arts teacher for fourteen years. She spends her days in the classroom and her nights writing heartfelt new adult romances that will leave readers clamoring for more. She is a member of RWA and the St. Louis Writers Guild. Marie's short fiction won honorable mentions from the St. Louis Writers Guild in 2010 and 2011. She is a proud mommy and enjoys helping her oldest daughter train for the Special Olympics, making up silly stories with her youngest daughter, and binging on weeks of DVR'd television shows with her husband.
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Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 26 Jun 2015
In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion.
Are you in or are you out?
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
When I first read the synopsis of Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos I was really excited as the concept sounded amazing and brought to mind So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld which I loved. Unfortunately, though the idea behind this book truly is excellent, the execution fell flat.
This book seemed like the author was trying too hard to make a social commentary about consumerism, trends, and fame. Whilst it certainly is thought provoking to an extent, it all just seems too forced and the storyline doesn't flow naturally. Much of the storyline doesn't make sense and is unbelievable (this coming from a huge fan of dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy novels) and this takes what could have been an amazing concept and makes it a little bit silly.
What I did like about this book - the idea and the writing. That is about it really. The characters did have a few great moments but overall I didn't feel much of a connection with them. Like many YA novels nowadays, Material Girls has an element of romance and this was probably my least favourite part of the entire book. It simply didn't fit in properly with the story and seemed to have been added in at the last minute as an after thought.
Also, the ending fell flat and made much of what happens in the book completely pointless. Whilst it was refreshingly different to the typical YA dystopia ending, it was not satisfying and made the story feel incomplete even though this is apparently NOT the first in a series.
To top this all off this book is very highly priced - nearly £10 in the UK for a kindle edition which is I think the highest price I have ever seen for a standard length YA novel! Overall I wouldn't recommend this one but if it really sounds like your cup of tea then maybe get a copy from the library.
Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
Posted by Laura @Bookish Treasures | 16 Jun 2015