Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Fierce Reads Blog Tour: Review + Q&A + Giveaway

Hello friends! Today I get to host a few lovely authors on the second day of the Fierce Reads Blog Tour. Make sure to check out all the stops as each blog will be sharing their thoughts on the featured Fierce Reads titles as well as a quick Q&A with the authors. For Toronto area readers you can meet the authors on October 17th when #FierceReadsTakesTO. For more details on the titles and other Fierce Reads fall releases you can visit www.fiercereads.com.

**Six of Crows and First & Then were provided by the publisher. As always thoughts and opinions are honest and fully my own**

The Authors Behind the Books

Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also co-creator and co-host of the "life skills" channel How to Adult. youtube.com/user/elmify

Josephine Angelini
is the internationally bestselling author of Trial by Fire and the Starcrossed series. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, Josie now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband, her daughter, Pia Marie, and three shelter cats. You can visit her on Facebook, her website josephineangelini.com, or follow her on Twitter @josieangelini.

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the New York Times-bestselling series The Grisha Trilogy. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. leighbardugo.com / grishatrilogy.com

Leila Sales (www.leilasales.com) is the author of the novels This Song Will Save Your Life, Mostly Good Girls, and Past Perfect. Leila grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. When she's not writing, she spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, chocolate, and how to get more of all of them. Leila lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in children's book publishing. Follow her @LeilaSalesBooks.

My Thoughts

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published: September 29th, 2015
Pages: 466
Rating: 5/5

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

So for the five of you living under a rock that have yet to read The Grisha Trilogy (just know that I am judging you right now), Six of Crows takes place in the same world after the events of the trilogy. It follows a different cast of characters, although a few favourites are mentioned.

Bardugo excels at a lot of elements of story telling, but I'd say her world building and characters are my favourite. I already knew I loved The Grisha World going into Six of Crows. But moving away from Ravka we got to explore even more of the world. See it expand into Ketterdam. Which is like a thieves paradise. There's a whole bunch of sketchy areas that different gangs control and rule. Basically it makes for a good time, well for the reader at least.

Something, and I'm sure I'm not alone here, I can't help but love is the morally grey character. Well Six of Crows gave me a cast of them. I'd probably crown Kaz king though. He's a whole lot of mysterious with all his secrets. Kaz is a criminal prodigy, with a secret agenda brewing. I'm almost sure revenge is his middle name. When the chance at running one of the biggest heists arises; Kaz brings together a six strong cast of very different outcasts. 
I loved each of them almost equally. No characters chapter was less interesting than the previous. Inej is stealthy, almost invisible. Which makes her the perfect spy. Jesper is the joker. He can't walk away from a wager. But he can hit you between the eyes from any distance. Wylan is the unexpected rich kid trying to get out from under daddies thumb. Except, for being sheltered he has some surprises up his sleeves. Lastly the star crossed lovers; the hate to love to hate(to love?) Nina and Matthias. Nina is a fierce heartrender on the run as Grisha aren't so much welcomed anymore. Matthias people prove that by enslaving them. Matthias is truly that unknown member. He's involved in a heist against his people. And that's why the back stories of each Crow is so important to trying to understand their intentions. Not only are intentions wavering, but the banter is perfection. Gold star. Add in all the ships. Which I'm hesitant to follow; but can't not. All the shippy goodness. 

Six of Crows has a lot less on the line than in The Grisha Trilogy. The world isn't resting on the edge. Well I guess Kaz and crew wouldn't agree with me there. Their lives are definitely threatened on more then one occasion. But that's what makes Six of Crows a heart stopping heist adventure. Each outcast has an agenda and it can change at a moments notice to suit their needs. Plans; what are plans? You can never trust a dangerous criminal. Six of Crows does a wonderful job proving that in Bardugo's signature story telling. She's so subtly humorous and brilliant. My life should just be on a stand still until the sequel lands in my hands.     

First & Then by Emma Mills
Published: October 13th, 2015
Pages: 272
Rating: 4.5/5
Add to Goodreads

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I cannot believe First & Then is a debut. Talk about putting your best foot forward. I absolutely devoured it. Exactly my kind of contemporary; not pure fluff or dark and emotional. Just right in the cushy middle.

Devon I got you, girl. Coming to the last year of high school and realizing the not giving a shit attitude was probably not the smartest way to go about your high school career; yea that was sort of my thing too. Ambition and motivation, wish there was a sports drink for them. Anyhow, Devon's senior year all up and changed footing with the introduction of her cousin, Foster. Devon was an only child and is now being forced into a brotherly relationship with a cousin she hardly knows. Devon's and Foster's relationship development is absolutely my favourite part of First & Then. Devon shows strong resentment and reluctance to form a bond with Foster. She doesn't understand his honest and different approach. Foster is sweet and unafraid to be himself. He hides his emotions well, but that's to be expected with his past. Devon and Foster's dynamic is ultimately endearing and heartwarming. It turns out being forced to form a relationship with Foster wasn't such a bad thing after all.

Devon has that sassy and snarky personality. She's hilarious with her feelings towards people. Yes, there are idiots everywhere in a high school. Like 97% of teenagers(and humans) Devon could be quick to make judgments. But what makes her different is that she was also inquisitive. Devon would talk to people and ask the questions. You know, she would make that assumption but wouldn't hesitate to be wrong in the end. It might not always happen quick time, but it would.

Of course there was romance(but not enough kissing). Devon has been secretly crushing on her best friend Cas. She knew that's what it would always stay as. Poor girl. I did think their relationship was a solid one until Cas pulled the asshole card. Why do boys gotta be so stupid? I don't know if Devon is one to hold a grudge, but in that situation I'd say you go on and hold it.
On the other hand there is Ezra. The all American star football player. Devon hasn't had much, if any contact with him until he walks into her gym class. With Ezra's aloof demeanor, Devon pegs him as an asshole straightaway. Ezra is not your typical jock. His distant face makes him seem like a dick, but his instant take to Foster says that might not be the case. Ezra mentions how he's not so good with the talking. Which is not your usual charismatic jock. Ezra is a babe, but not the life of the party. It almost seemed to me like he had some social anxiety. So I think the saying actions speak louder than words should be adhered to. It was hard not to root for Ezra. I just wanted to shake Devon and say c'mon man, just talk to the guy.

Fans of Jane Austin will feel giddy and relate to Devons use of Janeisms is her everyday life. Although I thought those parts were cute, I couldn't fangirl, having never read one of Jane's books. What did float my boat was the football. Sports in books is my thang. The football was not a main element but it was important and I got plenty of it.

First & Then turned out to be poignant with the awkwardness and insecurities that high school brings. Yes, romance and crushes were a big part in Devons mind, I just didn't see them as the point of the story. The family and self love were much more prominent to me. Devons acceptance of Foster and herself, some self discovery, were the messages I took from First & Then. I am so looking forward to whatever Mills has up next.

Author Q&A

Q: "Your most unhinged or unreliable character has planned a day for your birthday. Who is this and what does the itinerary look like? Are you a little nervous?"

Emma Mills: "I don’t know if I would call Marabelle unhinged, but she is certainly eccentric! A Marabelle birthday celebration would probably involve something seemingly random, but actually quite suited to the birthday person’s interests. I imagine she is the kind of friend who would take you to wander a bookstore, disappear for forty-five minutes, and then come back with three books she has chosen especially for you-- and they are perfect picks! I wouldn’t be nervous to spend a birthday with Marabelle; she’s one of my favorites!"

Josephine Angelini: "If Una was to plan my birthday party I would be quite frightened. She’d probably have me meet her at a very cool place in a very bad part of town and then take me to a strip club. It would be an uncomfortable night, but I bet we’d have stories."

Leigh Bardugo: "This is hilarious. With the possible exception of Nikolai Lantsov, none of my characters should ever be allowed to plan a birthday party. Okay, since Kaz is definitely the most dangerous member of the Six of Crows crew... He'd probably take me to the house of the boy who bullied me in the 9th grade, set fire to it, and invite me to blow out the candles. Then we'd go out for waffles and whiskey. Hey, you asked."

Leila Sales: "The most unreliable character in TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS is definitely Lindsey, the main character’s best friend. She’s really loving but her life is generally a perfect storm of poor choices and bad luck. In the book we hear about the time she stole a canoe even though she doesn’t know how to paddle it, or the time she got bored and dressed up as a ghost and stood alongside the street (and accidentally caused a car crash). I have no idea what she would plan for my birthday, and I’m sure it would be well-intentioned, but I’m equally sure that it would NOT go well and probably I would wind up having to fix it."


Enter for the chance to win one of the featured titles.

Rules & Regulations
  • Starts October 6th, 2015 at 12:01AM(EST). Ends on October 21st, 2015 at 12:00AM(EST).
  • Giveaway is being hosted by This is the Story of My(Reading) Life. All monies spent are out of pocket and not affiliated with the publishers or authors mentioned. 
  • To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
  • This contest is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Meaning TBD is responsible for shipping and This is the Story of My(Reading) Life is not responsible for lost or damaged items.
  • Total contest value is up $25.00CDN 
  • Winner will be asked to pick one of the featured titles mentioned in this blog tour. 
  • You must be at least 18 years old or 13+ with parental permission to enter. I will be asking for your mailing address for shipping purposes.
  • Entrants found using more than one Twitter account to enter will be disqualified. 
  • When the winner is chosen they will be announced in the Rafflecopter widget below, via Twitter(if applicable) and emailed. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is randomly chosen.
  • Please note that This is the Story of My(Reading) Life reserves the right to disqualify any entrants found to be gaming the system. Entries will be check and verified.

I want to give a massive thank you to Raincoast for including me in this epic blog tour. As well as all four authors, Leigh Bardugo, Josephine Angelini, Leila Sales and Emma Mills for taking the time to answer my question.

I hope to see any Toronto area friends on October 17th for #FierceReadsTakesTO. Where all four authors will be in conversation and signing their books. Check out ChaptersIndigo events page for complete details, Remember to use #FierceReadsTakesTO to connect with everyone.

Happy reading!



  1. A questionable birthday party? This question is questionable itself. I'm gonna say no, I have not been to any, since all the birthdays I've been to have been clear on purposes.

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! I haven't been to any unusual birthday parties lately. ;)

  3. My mom's 40th birthday party was a surprise party at a retirement home to signify that she was getting old :)

  4. The first time I saw Kelly Clarkson perform it was her birthday and they had a cake fight on stage. Does that count? Also, in a few weeks it's my bff's birthday and she does burlesque, so she's performing a special birthday show - so that will probably be the most unusual birthday I've been to haha

  5. I honestly haven't. I last bday party I went to was my little brothers. :)
    Mary G Loki

  6. Lately I haven't benn to any unsual birthday parties :)

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