Saturday, 29 October 2016

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott Review

Publisher: Walker Books

Author: Zoe Marriott

I received this copy of Barefoot on the Wind from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review.

A magical retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in a fairy tale Japan. A companion title to ZoĆ« Marriott’s critically acclaimed Shadows on the Moon. There is a monster in the forest... Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself. But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined, and the beast is not at all what she expects... (Publishers' blurb)

This book had a lot to live up to because Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairy tales! As soon as I started Barefoot on the Wind, I fell in love with the writing and the story. This is a stunning and creative take on the beloved story.

Zoe Marriot's writing is gorgeous, evoking both the fantastical version of Japan and the dark, beautiful quality that I love about traditional fairy tales.

I was lucky enough to hear Zoe talk about feminism at the YA Shot Convention and she described her goal of reinventing the original story on a foundation of feminism. I really liked this aspect of the book, that Hana wasn't constrained by the tropes of fairy tales or the time period. She was very much in control of her destiny and she didn't need anybody to rescue her!

The plot of this world was very richly imagined. I loved how the fairy tale was used to underpin the story but there were so many layers added to the narrative and the mythology behind it.

This book has made me want to read more fairy tale retellings and lots more books by Zoe Marriott!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Gravity by Andy Briggs - blog tour giveaway

Publisher: Scholastic (6th October 2016)
Amazon Link
Series: The Inventory (Book 2)
Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far! (Publishers' blurb)


Iron Fist was the first book in The Inventory series and one of the best middle grade books that I've read for a long time! You can check out my review here. I'm really excited to get stuck into Gravity (the second book in the series) and for now I have a giveaway! To win a set of the books (Iron Fist and Gravity), all you have to do is retweet my pinned tweet or leave a comment on this blog post. 

To find out a little more about Andy Briggs, you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the, and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events.

Tour Schedule

There are loads of fantastic stops on the blog tour and you can check out more details below.

Monday 17th October
Fiction Fascination
Heather Reviews

Tuesday 18th October

Kirsty Leanne
Emma’s Bookery

Wednesday 19th October
Sunday 23rd October

An Awfully Big Adventure

Monday 24th October

Tales of Yesterday
YA Yeah Yeah

Tuesday 25th October

It Takes a Woman
Sister Spooky

Wednesday 26th October

The Books Bandit

Thursday 27th October

MG Strikes Back
Read it Daddy

Friday 28th October

Snuggling on the Sofa
Live Otherwise

Saturday 29th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Sunday 30th October


Happy reading and good luck with the giveaway!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Shadow Magic Blog Tour

Information about the Book

Title: Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)
Author: Joshua Khan
Genre: MG Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic (6th October 2016)
Goodreads Link:
Amazon Link:

Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

I don't read a lot of middle grade books but I really loved this one! It's appropriate that Rick Riordan is quoted on the front because I think this book is as exciting and unique as the Percy Jackson series.

I'm a huge fan of books that have an original take on familiar themes like good versus evil. The stakes were huge for Lily and Thorn and the building conflict kept me interested throughout. I really rooted for Lily and Thorn from the very beginning.  

All of the characters were great but I became particularly fond of Lily. Castle Gloom was a fantastically creepy setting (complete with bats in the belfry) and the dark roots of her family were an interesting backstory for a main character. My only complaint is that I'm not a fan of the 'women are inferior' trope that pops up in a lot of fantasy. I appreciated that Lily fought against this but I feel like there can be other forms of conflict. 

The world underpinning this book was incredible, with its ruling families whose magic is fading through the generations. It's a great introduction to fantasy, because the world is very unique and compelling but at the same time very accessible.

I was really sad when this book ended because I need more! This is a fantastic start to a series and it's renewed my interest in middle grade books.

If you liked the sound of this, now try Artemis Fowl or Percy Jackson!


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - ARC Review

Publisher: Rock the Boat (20 Oct. 2016)

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I heard about Illumina, I thought the writing style was going to be a novelty that I'd get bored of fairly quickly. I didn't realise that it would suck me in, deliver gut punch after gut punch and that I'd love every minute of it. Gemina is just as brilliant and I'm not sure how I'm going to wait for the next book! If you haven't read Illumina, you might as well stop reading this review and get right on it. You have a week until Gemina comes out!

My favourite thing about this series is the format. I wasn't sure how it would affect my enjoyment of the narrative, but in the end the layout enhanced the reading experience. Through rotating between interviews, video transcripts and all sort of creative texts, you end up having to piece together the narrative rather than having it all handed to you. I thought that was fantastic!

Another strength of this series is the plot tension. I wasn't sure how the authors were going to top Illumina but Gemina was great at flipping my expectations and upping the stakes. (Monsters? Gunmen? Why not at the exact same time?) Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are masters at throwing curve balls that whip round and smash you in the face.
One of the main reasons that I got so invested in this was because of the characters. Hanna and Nik were both amazing and I really cared about what happened to them.  

I also loved Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, so while I'm waiting for my next Illuminae files fix I might just work my way through Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmans' previous novels. This is one of my favourite book series and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Thousandth Floor Review and Giveaway

Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (30 Aug. 2016)

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A thousand-storey tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.

A hundred years in the future, New York's elite of the super-tower lie, backstab and betray each other to find their place at the top of the world. Everyone wants something… and everyone has something to lose. (Excerpt from Publishers' Blurb)

I read somewhere that this was Gossip Girl set in a thousand floor building, which was a good enough reason for me to read it. I understand the comparison, in terms of the drama and interlinking relationships, but I think this is so much better!

The only thing I wasn't sure about at first was that the book shifts between quite a few characters' third person viewpoints. I found it hard to keep track of them at first but in the end I felt that it was one of the book's main strengths. I loved the way the characters' storylines intersected, sometimes in very unexpected ways.

Sometimes I get sick of romantic drama but I really enjoyed it in this book! The different relationships were so much fun to follow as they developed or unravelled.

Another part I really liked was the contemporary feel to this book set against the sci-fi setting. I haven't read many other YAs of this style and I'll definitely look out for more.

This is one of the most fun books I've read for ages. If you're in a reading slump or you want a really engrossing read, this is the perfect book!

With that in mind, I have a giveaway! One lucky winner can have their very own copy of 'The Thousandth Floor'. To enter, all you need to do it retweet my pinned tweet and follow me on Twitter (@yaundermyskin.) Good luck!

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