WWW Wednesday.

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

It’s well and truly Hump Day! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week. Don’t forget to leave a comment with your post or books. It will make my day go faster. 😉

Currently Reading: Poison by Sarah Pinborough
Literally just started this this morning so not much to report. But sexy Snow White, what’s not to like?

Recently Finished:
I spent a lot of time living the dream at the weekend – reading under a tree. I finished two great books…

A new retelling of Tristan and Iseult by J.D Smith. I wanted to give it 4/5 but had to settle on 3/5. You can read my review Here.

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

And Specials by Scott Westerfeld. The 3rd book in his Uglies series. I’d totally forgotten how crazy these books were. It was a fast-paced, ferocious read. Review to follow.

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

Up Next:

Probably another one of the books that arrived last week so either Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper or Throne of Glass. I still have Storm Glass to start too.

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BEST POST DAY! (New Arrivals)

It FINALLY arrived! I’ve been waiting for a delivery all week and I was getting anxious because I bought one book in particular that I’m really eager to read (Poison), and Amazon told me it had arrived on Wednesday…when it didn’t. 😦

Turns out it actually did, but it wouldn’t fit through the letterbox and the STOOPID postman put my flatmate’s name on the ‘Sorry you were out form’ instead of mine! Grrr.

So poor Dora went to pick up what she thought was her package today…to find out it was mine. HURRAH! (Sorry Dora, thanks Dora!)

So yeah, eventually…BEST POST DAY!

Yesss!
Yesss!

I thought all of these would be great summer reads and Poison looks especially amazing! I totally forgot it was hardback too. I’m in love with it already. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Shiny!
Shiny!

Sneak Peak:
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I featured Poison in my WWW Wednesdays post here, but here’s a bit more about the other two.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
I’ve only ever read one other Kate Morton book which was The House at Riverton. It’s not usually the kind of thing I like but I was surprised by how much I loved it. This one looks more of the same.

The new novel from the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours is a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world. Synopsis from Goodreads.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve seen this around everywhere and couldn’t resist. Sounds pretty epic. I’m hoping it’ll fill the void of there being no more Graceling Realm books.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? Synopsis from Goodreads.

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I also got good post in the week when my Gollancz goodies arrived for getting my review posted. Fun! You can never have too many geeky t-shirts and badges right?

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The Verdict: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Click to view on GoodReads.
Click to view on GoodReads.

There are just many things to be said about Bitterblue but let’s start with the basics. It’s the third book in the Graceling Realm Trilogy by Kristin Cashore and it looks beautiful.

In Graceling, we entered a world of seven kingdoms where some people are born graced with any number of unique skills or abilities and where we first meet Katsa, seemingly graced with the skill of killing and under the command of King Randa. Katsa becomes increasingly frustrated and depressed about being used in such a cruel way and when Prince Po comes along their journey together slowly reveals just how corrupt the seven kingdoms really are. In Fire, we’re transported to The Dells, a kingdom of ‘rainbow coloured monsters and underground labyrinths’ where Fire, the last human monster is both hated and obsessed over, constantly assaulted for being so irresistible and who refuses to use her mind control to steal people’s memories and secrets.

By the time we come to Bitterblue, it is several years after King Leck’s tyrannous and torturous reign in Graceling and we follow the young Queen Bitterblue as she attempts to rebuild her kingdom; a kingdom that is still deeply affected by her father’s spell over them. But how can you rebuild something that is based on lies and secrets and despicable acts? Especially when the people who were most under Leck’s spell are the ones closest to Bitterblue?

There are so many things I love about this book. I enjoyed Fire, but as soon I opened this it felt like I was coming back home. I was eager to meet up with Katsa and Po again and it didn’t disappoint despite the fact that they weave in and out of the narritive. I think Cashore could easy have ridden the wave of their romance and made that the main strand of this book but I think this portrays a much more realistic and exciting relationship. It’s certainly refreshing to see these characters living their own lives, putting the important things first and not just glaring at each other with puppy-dog eyes. They are definitely not the puppy-dog eyes types!

I love how this story slowly builds momentum. We find the clues as Bitterblue finds them -one by one- linking what really happened during Leck’s time to just how many secrets and lies are being maintained within the city walls. I found myself even more confused than Bitterblue as to who to trust and who to investigate. However, I did feel like there was a lull in the middle where the pace could have been picked up and I just wanted to grab Bitterblue and shake her yelling ‘haven’t you learnt by now you can’t trust anyone, get on with it!’

I enjoyed the mix of the old and new here too. Whenever I think of Kings, Queens and castles, whether it’s in this universe or a fictional one I think of times gone by, but Cashore’s world is full of modern themes making no fuss over boys and girls fighting each other, same-sex relationships, sex before marriage, birth control, or a Queen who wears trousers and slips out of the castle at night to smooch with a thief. And is it just me or is it completely devoid of religion? Hallelujah!

Cashore has created an in-depth world of strong, kick-ass girls, epic sword-fights, passion, and intriguing mystery. Essentially, Bitterblue and those before it are about the abuse of control and power, facing up to horrible truths and having the strength to overcome the impossible.

Bitterblue is published by Gollancz and I received a copy in exchange for a review as part of their Gollancz Geeks Blog.