UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour - Lou Morgan Turns The Tables

26 Feb 2015
Welcome to the next stop on the UKYA Extravaganza blog tour - and we're doing things a little differently in this one, as author Lou Morgan turns the tables and interviews your host, Laura from Bookish Treasures!

No, we haven't lost the plot - not entirely, anyway. But we thought, as we get closer to the UKYA Extravaganza event itself, what better way to celebrate the spirit of the UKYA community than to turn the spotlight on the bloggers who are such an important part of it. Readers, cheerleaders and friends: these guys know their books. So let's find out a little bit more about what makes our host Laura tick…

1. Hi Laura, and thanks for being part of the blog tour! To start off, tell us a little bit about yourself, and about your site. How did you get into blogging?

My journey to blogging started with me discovering how great twitter was as a place to connect with both authors and people who loved books just as much as I did. From their I discovered book bloggers and reviewers and during "Cheer Week" in my first year of University (a week over the Easter holidays when everyone on the cheerleading team would stay at University even though everyone else had gone home to do long practices every day) I had a lot of spare time on my hands and so started reviewing for a site called Readers Favourite.

Getting experience reviewing and having started to develop friendships with bloggers made me want to create my own blog where I could post reviews written how I wanted alongside other posts to help spread the word of books I loved. With some encouragement and help from the lovely Faye @ A Daydreamers Thoughts, Bookish Treasures was born in December 2012.

My blog was set up with intention with it being a YA blog but it also has quite a heavy focus on NA simply as I was a strong supporter of it as the category was finding its feet and growing and so I would get lots of requests for those types of books (I still do but accept much less now). I expect that the types of books featured on Bookish Treasures will always change slightly as my reading habits change but YA is something people will always be able to expect to see as that is one thing I like that never changes. The variety that the category provides means that there is always a book to suit my current tastes.

2. Let's dig into your reading history: what's the first book you can remember reading, and what was your favourite book as a child? I can remember being very attached to books like Gobbolino, The Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams when I was little, and then things like Brian Jacques's Redwall series. I still have my copy of The Dark is Rising, too, which has to be one of my childhood favourites. What about you?

Many of my childhood memories are incredibly hazy but one of my clearest revolves around books. Shortly after starting primary school we were instructed to read out loud to our parents to practice our reading. Much to the despair of my mother I forced her to listen to me read the entirety of Fantastic Mr. Fox over a two hour period as I didn't want to stop only part way through. The next night I brought home George's Marvellous Medicine and she had to deal with listening to me read that also. When the third night saw me bring home The Twits my mum wrote a strongly worded letter for me to take to school about how she's rather I was encouraged to read on my own in the future. I still have that letter in a memory box. It is pretty funny.

Pretty much ever since then I have been just as crazy about books and often get hooked on a particular author. I had a childhood jam packed with activities and yet I still somehow found a lot of time to read. I would always carry around a book to read between ballet class, gymnastics, swimming etc. and would often stay awake long past my bedtime to finish off my current read. I haven't changed much to be honest.

As for my favourite reads, that is something I always struggle with as I read so many fantastic books in my childhood. One that has to be acknowledged is Varjack Paw by UK author S.F. Said as it is one of the only age 8 - 12 books that I still have on my bookshelves as I couldn't bear to get rid of it. I also still have The Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison - those books guided me through my pre-teen and teen years and are just so laugh out loud hilarious.

3. This interview is part of the UKYA Extravaganza blog tour. What do you think defines a UKYA book (apart from the obvious!), and what do you think sets it apart from other YA?

What I love most about UKYA is the culture matching my own so I find it easier to put myself in the characters shoes. I love books by US authors but I often cannot relate to the characters experiences - especially in contemporary fiction. UKYA is always a refreshing change as everything feels more real, I like recognising the locations and slang terms and I LOVE that everything is spelt properly :P

In my experience UKYA is often grittier and battles more serious topics. I think in the UK we are a little more lax than the US about hiding issues such as sex, mental illness etc. from teenagers. I love books that are not afraid to tackle serious issues and think that they are very important for teenagers to read.

I completely agree about the settings and culture: I devoured Point Horror and Sweet Valley High when I was 12 or so, and while I loved them, I always felt a little sad that there was nothing like that set somewhere I recognised. While on the one hand it made everything seem more glamorous and exciting, it also made it harder to identify with the characters' lives.

4. Pick up the book closest to you right now, open it to a random page and tell us the first full sentence written there. (No cheating!)

Mine, by the way, is a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing, so we get this:

Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work - the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside - the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don't show their effect all at once.

Which is cheery, but I rather like it anyway. Yours?

Ok so the first time I sat down to answer the questions I was pinned under a cat (evidence) and so unable to go and get a book. The second time, I was pinned under a cat AGAIN so I sent my mum to grab a book at random from my room. And so having set the scene -
 
"Always keep your sword in the ready position"
 
Just to give this quote context (though it is much funnier without), this is from The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook in the chapter How To Win A Sword Fight.
 

5. Why do you think UKYA has developed into such a community? Where would you like to see it go from here? I can't wait to see how it changes and grows over the next year…

I think it helps that the UK is much smaller than other places such as the US and so it is easier for everyone to get to know one another, attend similar events etc. People like Lucy Powrie who runs UKYAchat and Project UKYA have been a major part of developing the community in recent years and also in terms of bloggers many of the top reviewers of UKYA (you can see many of them shortlisted for the UKYA Blogger Awards) are incredibly friendly and welcoming to new people in the community.

My hopes for the future are simply that the community continues to grow whilst simultaneously becoming even more tight knit.

6. What's the last book you finished reading, and what's next on your TBR pile?

I have just finished The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (not UKYA sorry!) and I am about to start reading Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth.

The Rithmatist was an unbelievably incredible YA Fantasy novel with in depth and complex world building and from what I have heard about Seven Days it tackles the issue of bullying in a really unique and fascinating way, telling the story from the perspectives of both the bully and the victim.

Seven Days is the first of several UKYA novels at the top of my TBR pile. UK authors appear to be pulling out all the stops to make 2015 the best year of UKYA yet!

Good choices: I've heard some very good things about Seven Days too! I've not long finished reading Wolf Hall (I'm so ahead of the curve I'm a couple of years behind it…) which was incredible, and I'm partway through Mal Peet's Life: An Exploded Diagram. After that, I've been thinking about a re-read of Possession by AS Byatt. It's one of my favourite books, and it's been a while since I read it, but it's been on my mind lately.

7. You're about to be exiled to a deserted tropical island. You have time to grab five things to take with you. I guess mine would be a bag (which I'd fill with books), a notebook and pen, a blanket and a big Crocodile Dundee-ish knife. What are yours, and why?

I always go silly with these questions :P

Solar Panels and a generator so I have access to electricity
A satellite device so I can get onto the internet
My kindle so that I can read books
My laptop so that I can go on twitter, goodreads and my blog
My cats Lily and Neo for companionship

Even if I am on a desert island I need to be able to read and blog!
Thank you Laura, for all your answers! And don't forget to head over to YAYeahYeah tomorrow for the next stop on the tour, with Emma Haughton.
Also don't forget to check out Lou's YA novel Sleepless which is available online and in any bookstore worth its salt!
 
Young, rich and good-looking, Izzy and her friends lead seemingly perfect lives. But exams are looming � and at a school like Clerkenwell, failure is not an option. Luckily, Tigs has a solution. A small pill that will make revision a breeze and help them get the results they need. Desperate to succeed, the group begin taking the study drug. It doesn’t take long before they realize there are far worse things than failing a few exams.
 
Lou Morgan is the author of YA study pill horror Sleepless, part of the Red Eye series from Stripes, as well as two adult urban fantasy novels: Blood and Feathers and Blood and Feathers: Rebellion, both available from Solaris Books. She lives in Bath with her family, and has long submitted to the rule of her two cats.

Hot New Releases: February 11th - 24th

25 Feb 2015
Welcome to Hot New Releases here at Bookish Treasures. The last two weeks have brought several fantastic releases.

We can only include books that we are aware of! If you have an upcoming release please let us know over email, facebook or twitter for the chance to see it included in the weekly round up. We are also always happy to hear about any free or discounted books which we can spread the news of:D

Young Adult

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.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas


Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Unleashed by Sophie Jordan


Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's Uninvited, is perfect for fans of James Patterson's Confessions of a Murder Suspect.

Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.

Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she'll be ruled by the kill gene or if she'll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn't even know if she can trust herself.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK (releases March 26th)

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwaab


Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

New Adult & Adult

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder


Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Lion's Share by Rachel Vincent


Abby Wade has a dangerous secret.

Two months ago, she disobeyed an order, but instead of kicking her out of the Pride, Jace offered her a job. Since then, she’s been battling a completely inappropriate crush on the young, hot Alpha. But when accepting his job offer seems like the only way to keep her skeletons safely in their closet, Abby doesn’t hesitate.

Jace Hammond has a big problem.

A rogue is slaughtering humans in his territory, and he must eliminate the threat before the entire shifter species is exposed. There could not be a worse time for Abby to accept a job he only offered as a boost to her confidence. Abby is smart, beautiful, and resilient—more than enough to distract any man from the mission. Unfortunately, she may just be the worst enforcer ever to hold the title.

As they hunt the killer, Abby’s secret becomes a threat to Jace’s authority and to her own life. But the real danger is the grip she has on his twice-shy heart.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

A Stone In The Sea by A.L. Jackson


He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give…

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she's helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

The Way We Fall by Cassia Leo


Maybe we shouldn’t have fallen so fast and so willingly.

Maybe we shouldn’t have moved in together before we went on our first date.

Maybe we should have given our wounds time to heal before we tore each other to shreds.

Maybe we should have never been together.

Houston has kept a devastating secret from Rory since the day he took her into his home. But the tragic circumstances that brought them together left wounds too deep to heal.

Five years after the breakup, Houston and Rory are thrust together by forces beyond their control. And all the resentments and passion return with more intensity than ever.

Once again, Houston is left with a choice between the truth and the only girl he’s ever loved.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Collateral Damage by Elizabeth Grace


Now trending.
Hollywood It Girl, Francesca Leon, has just landed the biggest role of her career…one that could clinch an Oscar nomination and open doors. If she’s going to move her career to the next level and work with top directors, she has to nail this part — and keep her sexy, but unreliable leading man from screwing everything up.

Team Calder
Bad boy Calder Fox is the son of Hollywood royalty and fresh out of rehab after his best friend’s death sent him on a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol. While his fans still love him and the paparazzi stalk him, he’s never taken life, or anything about his career, seriously. He may be charming and drop-dead gorgeous, but if he doesn’t stay sober, he could ruin Frankie’s future and expose her long-hidden family secret to the voracious media.

Behind the scenes.
Things heat up during filming and have the potential to become hotter, deeper, and much more real. But can Frankie trust Calder with her secret? Or is he doomed to sabotage his own happiness yet again?
  

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Unseen by Amber Lynn Natusch


Welcome to the Kingdom of Hades, where even its prodigal princess sleeps lightly.

After fighting Soul Stealers in Detroit, Khara hoped to return home to find answers in her father's realm. But the land of the dead offers little information, and far too much tragedy. Now cut off from her brothers, and left only with her dark and unreliable companion Oz, Khara must navigate the centuries-old webs of deceit and betrayal, all while eluding the Underworld's most depraved inhabitant. But she soon finds an unexpected ally in her adopted sister Persephone. Together, they endeavor to right a terrible wrong. And as Khara soon discovers, there's more riding on her success than she ever thought possible.
  

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Are you planning on reading any of these books? Do you have any new release recommendations that I have missed?

Top Ten Favourite Heroines From Books

24 Feb 2015

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



1. Vin from the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson - The Mistborn trilogy is perfect in every aspect and Vin is the character that leads the story from start to end. Throughout the books she grows from a nervous street urchin with untapped power to a strong and confident young woman who holds the fate of the world in her hands.



2. Lily Ruckler from the Forever Evermore series by Scarlett Dawn - After suffering a massive loss, Lily finds that with that she has been bestowed with a mantel of power and responsibility she never expected to have. I thought that there was simply something relatable about Lily and she has a rawness that feels so real. She is also one heck of a tough cookie :P



3. Evalyn Ibarra from the Chaos Theory series by Sarah Harian - Evalyn is a complex character who is far from perfect. Whilst she is far from the murdering sociopath everyone believes her to be, she also isn't exactly flawless. She loves fiercely and it is very interesting to get inside her head.



4. Samantha Kingston from Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - Now what I love about Sam is that she is so imperfect. Whilst most protagonists in YA are the shy, misfit, bookish girl Sam is the typical "popular girl" and is vain, selfish and a bully. However Sam is a very complex character, as real people are, and she is also loving and a fiercely loyal friend. Throughout the book Sam learns a lot of life lessons and grows as a person and by the end of the book I guarantee that you will love her.



5. Cass from The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig - What I loved about her is that whilst she is a "strong female characters" she is also believable and relatable. Rather than having exceptional fighting skills she has to rely on intelligence and sheer determination and there are many facets to her personality including vulnerability.  She is caring, strong and looks deeper at people than what is just on the surface and whilst she has impressive seer powers it is in fact the former of her characteristics which is the most important to the book.



6. Georgia Nicholson from the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison - Now Georgia is fantastic for her funniness. Out of all my favourite characters in both Georgia is the one I wish could be my best friend.



7. Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Kristin Cashore writes fantastic heroines and Katsa is the first I ever "met". She is pretty much the definition of kick-ass thanks to being graced with the gift of killing. However her powers have somewhat alienated her from others and made her a tool that everyone wants to use. Despite being an assassin for the king she has a gentle heart. Together these aspects make her the type of female character I love to read about.



8. Lyra Belacqua from the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillic Pullman - What I love about Lyra is her tenacity and the fact that she doesn't do what other people want or expect of her. She is also very smart and pretty good at saving the day!



9. Aelin Galathynius from the Throne Of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - Aelin is so fantastic due to the different faecets of her personality. Whilst she is an incredibly kick ass character that can take down men twice her size and as in assassin to boot, she also loves to dress up in beautiful clothing and dance the night away.

10. Now as there are more than 10 amazing heroines in books rather than sharing a tenth I want instead to honour all the fantastic characters that I haven't mentioned today and all the amazing heroines hopefully coming in the future!

Do you love these characters also? Let me know your favourite heroines in the comments.

Stacking The Shelves / Showcase Sunday #59

22 Feb 2015
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Showcase Sunday is Hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea and they both give bloggers the opportunity to share the books they have received in the past week.
 
As usual if you click on the book cover you will be taken to the Amazon page for that book.
 
For Review
 
Paperback

These two fantasy novels sound fantastic! Thank you to Hodder for both of them.
 
 
NetGalley

I am very excited about all of these books. All Fall Down is the first in a new series by the fantastic Ally Carter, The Novice is a book I have been wanting for a while and Chosen Thief is another book in a new series by one of my favourite authors.
 
 
Bought
 
Ebooks
 
 
Kindle Unlimited
 
 
Freebies
 
 
What do you think of these books? Are there any you have read or plan to read? Feel free to link to your own Stacking The Shelves or similar posts in the comments.