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July Bookish Challenge

20170627_195155Despite the horrible weather, lately, here in the North East of England, it is summer. July is tomorrow. The month of garden parties, trips to the seaside, trashy, short contemporary reads around a glistening pool, a cocktail in hand.

I can’t wait.

With my obvious excitement, I’ve been thinking about July for months –12 to be precise. And those of you that follow me on Instagram know that my absolute favourite social platform is Instagram. I decided to combine the two. Me and my friend Kit, from lost.in.yalit, came up with a bookish challenge. It’s the first one we’ve hosted but I hope It’ll become a regular feature on my account.

We tried to keep it simple and free from specific fandoms, authors or books. We used a few generic hashtags to take the heat off the commitment of a daily challenge and did some recurring ones because I strive for routine.

Everyone is welcome to join in. No tags are needed and there is absolutely no wrong or right way to interpret the daily prompts. Just go with it. Be creative. Make sure you use the hashtag #read_yalitJuly so we can see your wonderful posts. And, it would be great if you could, share our challenge with your followers so they can join in too. The best ones will feature on our stories.

Here’s an in-depth run through of each day and in case you aren’t familiar with the hashtags some explanations. As always, I reply to all DM’s on Instagram so feel free to ask questions if you need to. I hope you’ll be inspired to join in the fun:

1st July: Saturday: Summer Line up. #TBR (What do you intend on reading this month? Take a picture. The hashtag means: To Be Read.)

2nd July: Sunday: #SockSunday (Take a picture of your socks. On or off or a whole collection.)

3rd July: Monday. Book Rainbow. (Take a picture of your colourful books)

4th July: Tuesday. Hot Books. (Photograph books that made your pulse quicken.)

5th July: Wednesday. #wickedwednesday  (Favourite villain. Photograph something to do with your favourite antagonist. A book, a comic they’re in. Merchandise. Anything.)

6th July: Thursday. Favourite Childhood Author. #TBT (An author you loved from your childhood. Take a picture of their books or something that make you think of them. Hashtag means: Throw Back Thursday).

7th July. Friday. #currentlyreading #tgif (What are you going to be spending your weekend reading? Take a picture. The hashtag means Thank God It’s Friday).

8th July: Saturday: Favourite protagonist #supersaturday (story superheroes. Which character do you most relate to? Capture a shot of something that makes you think of them.)

9th July: Sunday. #socksunday (you know what to do).

10th July: Monday. Books and outside. (Go outside and read, take a picture. Let us see where your outdoor reading spot is).

11th July: Tuesday. Bedtime Stories. (Do you read before bed? What genre relaxes you? What genre sends you to sleep because it’s boring? Perhaps you have children, what is their favourite bedtime story?)

12 July: Wednesday. #wickedwednesday  (Favourite villain from any story you like. Tell us why you like them.)

13th July: Thursday. Funniest kids books #tbt (What gave you the giggles as a kid? You know what the hashtag means).

14th July: It’s Friday again. #currentlyreading #tgif (Show us what you’re reading).

15th July: Saturday: #shelfie #shelfiesaturday  (Show us your bookcase, bookshelf, floorpile, dresser stack. Wherever you hoard your books, we want to see it. You could be in it too.)

16th July: Sunday: #socksunday (you get this by now, right?)

17th July: Monday: Favourite colour. (Pile up books in your favourite colour and snap a pic.)

18th July: Tuesday: Indie Appreciation. (Support a self published author and snap a pic of you reading their book). I’m an indie author (just saying again lol and you can get free e copies of my book here, here and here. *cheeky smile*).

19th July: Wednesday. #wickedwednesday  (You got this.)

20th July: Thursday: A classic you hate. #TBT (A classic you were perhaps forced to read at school, or one that felt so condescending you were forced to roll your eyes/throw it at the wall/ re-read every line because the language was so sophisticated (rubbish) it made you feel like an Idiot.) If you love classics, it’s totally fine to share your love instead.

21st July. Friday. What? Again? Just kidding. There are no where near enough. #Currentlyreading #TGIF

22nd July: Saturday: Book Haul (what have you bought this month. What new books, bookish merch, bookish stationary, socks, candles, cushions have you purchased, this month?)

23rd July: Sunday: #socksunday  (as before)

24th July: Monday: Blue books. (Monday blues? Grab all of your blue books and take a picture to brighten up our feed.)

25th July: Tuesday: Merch. (Show us your bookish merchandise. Wands, bookmarks, colouring books, posters, candles. Anything you like. We want to see it.)

26th July: Wednesday: #wickedwednesday  (villain love again. Can you tell I love the bad guys?)

27th July: Thursday: Retro Covers #TBT (any books from way back with really cool covers that would never be seen on a modern book? Plain covers are making a come back, you have any if those? If not, just show us a book you have that you bought totally because of the cover).

28th July: Friday: Fandom Friday (Harry Potter, shadowhunters, ACOTAR, LOTR, GOT. Which fandom do you belong in? Take a picture of something or EVERYTHING you have from that fandom. Brownie points if you have a tattoo.) *please don’t rush out and get one.

29th July. Saturday: Book Tower. (How high can you stack books without them falling over? Take a pic and show us).

30th July: Sunday. #socksunday

31st July: Monday. What did you read? July wrap up. (Show us what you read this month. Tell us in the caption wether you enjoyed the challenge, or not. Did you complete all 31 days? It’s fine if you didn’t. Life happens.)

It’s been great. We hope you’ve enjoyed having us as your hosts and hope you’ll join us again for another book challenge really soon. Keep bring awesome.

P.s please follow Kit @lost.in.yalit on Instagram too. Her feed is all monochrome and surprisingly pleasing to the eye.

 

Fairy Loot June unboxing.

20170621_111206.jpgHey guys! Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately. It’s been crazy busy and I haven’t had much time for reading or writing or reclusing  (totally a thing). Anyway, my first EVER fairy loot box arrived today. I’ve been mulling around making a decision on which bookish box to subscribe to for a while and when I heard the June theme for fairy loot was Elementalists, I knew it was the one for me–on account of me writing Element magic based stories and all (which you can still get free copies of here). I was not disappointed. These boxes are fantastic. Go subscribe here. Seriously go. They’re probably sold out for July now but check back on 3rd as they usually get a limited availability then. You will not regret it.

Anyway, like I said, the theme was Elementalists and the box was full of fabulous goodies.

*A lip balm by geekyclean I got water bender, inspired by The Last Airbender.

*A candle by witch wood remedies. I got twister and I wish it smelt as nice as it looks but it just doesn’t. (Sorry)

* A triangular bar of soap by Ascent bath and body called Clairvoyance and it smells delicious.

*A pack of three potion bottle shaped sticky notes.

*A bracelet. I wasn’t sure what the hand symbol meant but the card says it’s a protective symbol and brings the owner happiness, luck, health and good fortune. Everyone needs more of that.

*An 18×18 pillowcase with the quote: Books are a portable magic by Stephen King. I love it.

*An exclusive sampler of The Walking Land by Callie Bates due for release on 29th June.

*The book of the month was Roar by Cora Carmack and it sounds brilliant. It also came with a signed author bookplate and letter from the author. As well as a nifty fairy loot book sleeve and bookmark.

I love this subscription box and I can’t wait for next month. Thanks Fairy Loot.

Check out my unboxing here. Please excuse the fact that I have zero makeup on and I have seriously bad bed hair. The postman came and I was too excited to wait to show you guys.

Do you subscribe to any cool YA lit boxes? Let me know what I should be checking out.

Review of the, A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Mass.

 

A court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass.

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

I fought of the urge to read this series gallantly for around a year until I succumbed two weeks ago and I am I so glad that I did.

I read the trilogy in a little over a week and two of them are huge door wedges of books so it’s impressive.

Never have I read a book series where my initial feelings have been so unbelievably altered a few chapters later; where I leave a series out of breath, desperate for more and feeling deflated at the same time. This is what Sarah J. Mass did to me and she has soared ahead of all of my favourite authors and latched herself to the top spot. Thank you, Sarah J. Mass for being so awesome.

I’m reviewing the trilogy here because I read them in quick succession of each other I have a hard time deciding where one ended and another began.

The series begins with A court of Thorns and Roses #ACOTAR and we meet Feyre a somewhat down trodden, put upon teen. She’s underappreciated and if it weren’t for her, her whole family would be dead. Without spoilering the hell out of this she ends up in a manor house the prisoner of/guest to Tamlin, high lord of the spring court. Tamlin is Fae which means he has pointed ears and magical gifts and he’s also super-hot except his face is always covered in a masquerade mask. This story takes on a bit of a beauty and the beast theme which I adored and their love story is beautiful and it has just the right amount of tension. He’s protective and loving but then things fall apart and Feyre finds herself on an epic quest to rescue him.

Then we move on to A court of Mist and Fury #ACOMAF and personally this was my favourite book of the entire series. This book took on a completely different vibe for me. Sarah J. Mass upped her descriptive genius. Characters I loved; I now despised. Characters I hated; I now adored and began obsessing over and friendship dynamics emerged. It was awesome and then, well…there was chapter 55. OH. MY. Is all I can say on this.

I was on a complete high when I opened A court of Wings and Ruin #ACOWAR I expected so so much. The book was NOT a bad book and I still adored it, however, ACOMAF set the bar far too high and I left ACOWAR feeling a little deflated. I wanted more. I wanted heartbreak. I wanted epic. Poor Tamlin. I wanted more closure.

Things I didn’t like:

None of these things took anything away from the story for me, however, the over use of certain phrases and words, such as:

‘vulgar gesture’

‘atop’

‘or no’ drove me insane.   I get that the story was written in first person (Thank god it was #Chapter 55 *wink wink*) and everyone has those phrases that they overuse but it kept pulling me from the story.

The smut. Ok, I’m not a prude in any way and I enjoy the odd smutty scene from time to time but Chapter 55 was enough, I feel like a third of the story could have been cut out by just closing the curtains or whatever.

Things I loved:

Character development

Plot twists

Villains

Immersive writing style

World building

I really did love this series and I’ll be buying all of Sarah J. Mass’s works and every available item of merchandise. If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly recommend that you do.

*The book marks and stickers in the images are from @fangirl_fantasy_book and I made the cup myself with sharpie.acotar

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Caraval
Instagram image of Caraval by Read_Write_Recluse

  Book Review

*** 3 stars

 

“The future is much like the past; it is mostly set, but can always be altered.”

“Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.”

“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

 

I was excited to read Caraval: the gorgeous covers, the blurb, the fantastic reviews. I had expectations of reading beautiful literature describing a carnival style game with people draped in flamboyant clothing, fire-breathers, dancing. Think Rio. I’ve never been to Rio, I just have this image of its magnificence and I had anticipated being swept away in this beautiful world by Stephanie Garber.

I was disappointed.

I think I read a completely different book to everyone else. 

I’m a fast reader but this book took me three days to read. It was weird. As I moved through the book I thought I was enjoying it (if that makes sense) I was eager to read more. The hint of an epic plot twist or big revelation pushed me through the story but it never came and when I read the final page, which was an attempt at a cliff-hanger, it had already been so obvious. I had absolutely no urgency to find out anymore.

Things I liked:

Scarlett or Scarlet (There were two different spellings of her name in this book) and Julian. I liked their relationship. Garber built their relationship well and there was just enough of it scattered around the book to keep me reading on to see what would happen between them.

Her father, Governor Dragna. He’s the villain of the story and he was believable. I had hoped that the visions of him throughout the game were going to be just that –the game messing with Scarlett or Scarlet—and that at the end when she realised it was all a game and they were getting away to safety he’d appear and have some hidden connection to Legend and it would end where her and her sister were captured by him or something.

The covers. Kudos to the designer. The different designs under the jackets had me searching book shops and supermarkets for the one with the clock (I like clocks) before I purchased. It was fun. If I’d enjoyed the story more I would have totally collected the others but now I think I’ll keep my money. 

Overall, Caraval was OK. It was a little bit flat and lacking in description except for where she describes tastes by colour which I found an oddity. It pulled me from the story as I tried to imagine what ‘midnight with a hint of wind’ would taste like, or the colour green. And after all of the hype surrounding this book I expected to be left breathless and wanting more which just didn’t happen for me.

I have read some wonderful reviews of this book so don’t be deterred by my review. See for yourself. It’s available everywhere books are sold. 

Reviews are entirely subjective, based on opinion and not influenced in any way.

 

Which element are you?

In my novel, Element, which is book one of, ‘The Descendants of Eden’ series, my characters descend from the first family-the children of Adam and Eve-and they possess extraordinary gifts that stem from undiluted blood linage.

Just for fun I’ve created a little quiz so you can determine which element you are most likely to be able to manipulate, who you descended from and what gift you’d likely possess, if you were a Descendant of Eden.

Give it a try here and leave a comment to let me know what you got.

My results were:

Water

Congratulations! Your element is water. It is likely that you are drawn to the water and love nothing more than spending a day staring out at a vast lake or the swaying sea.

It is likely that you’re a dreamer and your night time and day time dreams are extremely vivid. You’re quiet and caring and extraordinarily empathetic towards others.  You make friends easily and always go above and beyond for others.

You enjoy being outdoors and it is likely that your favourite season is winter.

You’ll find fulfilment is anything that allows you to dream. Writer, painter, designer and anything to do with children.

It’s likely that you descend from one of Adam and Eve’s first daughters – The Seven Sisters.

Descendants by Rae Else

Happy book birthday to, Rae Else. Her fantastic debut novel, Descendants is out today and available here.

I had the privilege of reading it prior to its release and here is what I thought of it:

I really enjoyed this story. The author, Rae Else, has done a wonderful job of weaving mythology with contemporary and as a result, she’s created an amazing and exhilarating world that I want to live in.

El, the teenage protagonist, is a highly relatable character who I empathised with throughout. She is estranged from her mother. She lives with her overprotective grandmother and she can compel someone with her eyes. Struggling to cope with the weight of her magical gifts and the devastating impact they can potentially have, she is thrust into the world of the Arete and being pursued by a dark force they refer to as ‘The order.’ As the story evolves, so does El’s powers. The ancestry she’s been sheltered from unravels with very interesting consequences. The story moves forward in a fast-paced, thrilling way. And it kept me engaged and eager consistently.

This story has everything you’d expect from a young-adult, urban fantasy story. It has well-built characters with a mythological ancestry. Magical powers. Dalliances between light and dark. Impending threats. Teenage love angst and secrets. I love secrets. Especially secrets that I get to discover at the same pace as the protagonist. What more could you want?

I highly recommend ‘Descendants’ to everyone and I am looking forward to more from Rae Else.

xxx Pheebs.

 

Element: The Descendants of Eden by Pheobe Pach.

I was thrilled to read that Inscribed paperback enjoyed my novel. Here’s what they had to say about it…

Inscribed Paperback

“Lucy James hates her life. She wishes for change and gets it with irreversible consequences
When the chance of meeting of a handsome stranger coincides with her attempt at suicide, she is forced to face her destiny. In a world where succubae and demons are a real threat, she gets a chance at the life she always wanted – love and friendship and acceptance are within her grasp but they come at a price…her life.”

Young adults will definitely like this book, was the first thing that came to my mind while reading Element: Descendants of Eden. Thoroughly rich description makes the book easy to read and suitable for every readers. Having enjoyed it so much, it is shocking to know it is a debut novel. The author Pheobe Pach is definitely one to watch!

The story was about a not so common but oh so relatable teenage girl named…

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Free copy of my book anyone?

The Descendants of Eden – Element is a young adult, fantasy romance featuring a telekinetic protagonist and her struggles to fit into our modern society. In short, it’s a coming of age story focusing on the real drama teens face in relationships, friendships, emotions, grief and trust, entwined in a fictional world of fantasy.

Description Element cover by Pheobe Pach final .png

Ever wondered why Wi-Fi signals suddenly drop?
Why power suddenly evaporates? Or your TV flickers?
 What about time? Have you ever had that feeling that time has passed by way too quickly? Or that it’s dragging on more than usual?
Maybe you’ve had that creeping, Deja-vu feeling ticking over your spine?
That’s The Descendants–a stronger, quicker and more aware kind of human being who possess superpowers like telekinesis or empathy.
They rid the earth of demonic forces, whilst keeping their community a secret from government officials. But, The Descendants are at the brink of extinction.
Lucy James, a depressed teenage girl with vast telekinetic abilities, is a sign of hope.
She could also be their destruction.

 

Click here to get your copy now.

 

 

This is me.

This is me. I’m Pheobe Pach and yes I intentionally spelled it that way (not really) but hey, I’m a writer and I’m not allowed to spell things wrong. At all. Ever. But I do and I AM a writer. Send the police.

I’m responsible for The Descendants of Eden novel – Element, which I wrote, edited, formatted and published all myself. Why? Because no-one professional would take it on, and I wanted the story of The Descendants to be read by people I thought would enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. That was the easy part. Writing is my hobby, as much as reading, and I do it because I enjoy it. The minute the enjoyment diminishes – which I hope will never happen – I will simply stop.

I’ve spent no money marketing my book. You heard me. Not one single penny. Why? Because I’m skint mostly and that it just feels wrong to me.  I’m not playing any game. I’m not in it for the initial sales rise excitement to have it all sucked away again relatively soon after. I don’t want to be consumed with sales figures. I’ve given away more than I’ve sold and I’m good with that. I want to focus on my writing, build a following of real book lovers and friendly authors through social media and get my stories into the hands of the people who will enjoy them the most, the people who will share them with their friends and fall in love with my protagonists as much as I have.

I hit the publish my ebook button on amazon on the 24th of January and as only very close family an friends actually know I’m a writer I had no way of letting people know The Descendants of Eden was out there for the world to enjoy.  So I set about creating social media accounts.

Facebook – having been my favourite personal social media site – was my first page set up as an author.  I joined numerous writing community pages and introduced myself, but what I found was that there was always someone with pent up aggression inside willing to shut you down.  Some writer thinking they were the bees knees and no-one else could compare. No-one else had the right to call themselves a writer. When I mentioned that I wrote and read young adult, mainly, fantasy romance I was instantly branded as unequal, uneducated or an idiot. I commented on question and answer posts and almost immediately there were argumentative replies seeking to diminish the overall feeling of accomplishment that I had over doing something that not everyone can do. It’s tremendously hard work to write a novel of any substantial length. It’s not just the writing part, it eats into your subconscious, taking over your dreams. Everywhere you go, every encounter you have, every experience, every mood swing. It all goes into your writing. It’s more time consuming than a full time job. I’ve wrote from morning until the dead of night and not realised time was passing me by as I was so consumed with my characters. I’ve cried and I’ve grieved and I’ve forgotten to fed my husband or clean my house on numerous occasions. Getting through all of that and having a readable story at the end of it is an achievement that no-one can take away from you. I will never let anyone make me feel otherwise again! It’s bullying. I hope they were proud of themselves as they sat, hiding behind their keyboards, probably in dirty dressing gowns and coffee stained pyjamas because they made me cry. Yep. Not a lot but it was enough for me to question whether it was worth it anymore.  For my sanity, I decided to remove myself from all writing communities with their stringent rules and bullying followers, and try Twitter.

OK what is it with me and twitter? I think I’m doing it wrong. I followed a few people and had a few people follow me in return. Within thirty minutes I’d already doubled my following on Facebook but no-one engages with me. Ever. Whenever I tweet I’m lucky if one person likes or retweets my posts and it certainly hasn’t done anything for my amazon sales. So I moved on. I opened an Instagram account.

I love Instagram! Instagram has been a wonderful experience for me. My following grows everyday and my book has ended up in the hands of some real YA fans who’re so willing and polite and enthusiastic about my book. I post almost daily and the interaction I get is addictive and really inspiring. I’ve been introduced to other authors who really embrace the fact that we’re NOT in competition with one another, there is room for ALL of our books in this world and no matter what genre, sub plot or category your writing falls under, we are all united.  Occasionally, I update Twitter and Facebook with special offers I have going on but Instagram is where it’s at for me 🙂

Anyway, I’m currently working on the second book in The Descendants of Eden series which I’m hoping will be ready by September and in the mean time I’m going to be launching a newsletter which will be published quarterly containing exciting things like short stories, sketches, elemental horoscopes and all things Descendants of Eden. So be sure to sign up here for that.

As always, thank you for your support.