Friday, February 15, 2019

Blog Tour - Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Not paid or sponsored.
Amazon & Book Depository links are Affiliate links.


Today I have the honour of being a part of the blog tour for the debut YA novel by author Gita Trelease, Enchantée.

Set in Paris just before the French Revolution, the synopsis for this one intrigued me so I was delighted to accept the invitation to read and review it.

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled wth beggars, thieves, revolutionaries - and magicians... When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the modest magic she learnt from her mother; a cursed talent to use which costs Camille dearly. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette herself. 

The atmosphere in this one is stellar - the contrast between the poverty on the streets and the wealth in Versailles is startling. Camille is struggling to provide for her siblings, and the strain of using magic to maintain the illusion of wealth in order to get what she needs soon becomes overwhelming. But she is not the only one with secrets - not by a longshot. 

I really, really enjoyed this. I prayed it wouldn't be a trilogy because I was so desperate to find out what would happen to Camille and Sophie - but this is a glorious standalone. The characters will return, but you can start this book safe in the knowledge that you won't be left with a cliffhanger. This worked for and against me - I wanted to devour it but also savour it.

I love the various themes in the book - as well as the central theme of magic and illusion, the book also dealt with political unrest and the events leading up to the French Revolution. It's not a time period I'm overly familiar with, and it made me want to learn more about the reign of Louis XVI. The book also touched on racism and homophobia, dealing with both topics in a sensitive and respectful manner. 

The characters stayed with me for days after I finished this, I think Chandon was my favourite (for whatever reason I pictured him as a younger Andy Serkis, which added greatly to my enjoyment of him). 

This is one to watch out for, and definitely one for fellow YA fans or those who are interested in magic, Paris, or just really good stories. 

This was a pleasure to read, sincere thanks to Amber and all at Pan MacMillan for allowing me to read an advance copy and take part in the blog tour. You can check out some other posts about the book below, they range from excerpts to giveaways and are very much worth a read. 

You can purchase Enchantée from usual retailers, or request it at your local library.

Monday, February 11, 2019

How to Read Books for Free

Nothing to Declare 


Firstly, the title is a bit clickbaity. I know. I don't think that anyone should feel like they can get a book someone has poured a year of their life into FOR FREE, but I do want people to read and I do want people to click this post. So, apologies.

I spoke briefly on my Instagram stories last night about NetGalley, and there was enough interest expressed in it to warrant this post. Firstly, the best way to "get books for free" is TO JOIN YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. I say this so often that I should just get it printed on a t-shirt - I really wish everyone who reads even one book a year would join the library. It's such a great resource, and like everything else, if it's not used, it could be in danger of not being there at some stage down the line. I've written a couple of posts about the library before, this one should tell you all you need to know about what services are offered and how to go about getting a shiny library card for yourself.

Back to NetGalley - I'm going to do this in question format so you it's easier to navigate.

What is NetGalley?
A website where publishers offer eBooks or digital ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of books by authors they represent to people who will read and review said books. Books are available in advance of their official release, meaning that you can potentially read books months before you can buy them online or in a shop. You can sign up at Create a profile and remember, this is what a publisher will see if they're checking your profile to approve you. Link your social media.

Who can use NetGalley?
Anyone with an e-Reader and a platform to review books.

A platform - does that mean I need a blog?
Absolutely not. You can have a blog, if you want, or you can have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a Goodreads account, an Amazon account - you must have SOMEWHERE you can review the book after you've read it. Different publishers have different requirements.

How do I get books?
Some books are available immediately, by clicking on "find titles" and going to the "read now" section. Others are harder to access, you must request them, and they will only be granted to you if you meet a certain feedback score. You need to grow your feedback in order to increase your chances of being approved.

How do I grow my feedback?
By downloading some books from the "read now" section. Granted, they're not likely to be by authors you've heard of yet, but there are some real gems in there (and a nice scattering of Christian Literature, if that floats your ark). If you download some of them, read them, and give feedback to the publishers, this will push your feedback ratio up and give you a better shot at getting to read some of the more well known or more anticipated releases. You can still chance your arm and apply for any book you want - sometimes you'll be approved, sometimes you'll be declined. Keep trying!

How do I get the books?
When you sign up, you put in the e-mail address of whatever device you want the books to be sent to. If this is a Kindle, you'll find that address in your Amazon account. You then need to add the Netgalley address to your list of approved e-mail addresses in Amazon. This sounds so complicated but it's really not, it's easy to set up and it only has to be done once to make sure anything you're approved for gets to you. When you apply for a book, you will receive an e-mail letting you know whether or not you have been approved. This mail could be instant, or it may take a few days.

What if I download a book and I hate it?
Probably best to not leave a scathing hate-filled rant on the publishers feedback page (and for the love of all that's holy do NOT tag the author into said rant on social media) but in general, Publishers WANT honest opinions. Tell them what exactly you didn't like. I've disliked covers, characters, story formats - just be fair. Equally, tell them what you did like. If you can't finish a book, there's now an option to declare that you won't be leaving feedback on that title, but this may affect your feedback score.

What happens if I request 10 books at a time and they all get approved?
Welcome to my greedy little world. I've done this repeatedly and every single time I do it I swear it won't happen again - I'm currently trying to clear a backlog so I can request more recent ones. Don't be greedy! Choose 2 or 3 at a time, read them, and review them in good time.

How do I get physical copies of books to review?
These are mainly issued to book bloggers. Often if you submit a review, you'll get an email from a PR contact or publisher about it. I've had a couple of reviews featured in copies of books based on my NetGalley feedback, which is always lovely. Other times you'll be invited to participate in a book blog tour, which readers of this blog will be familiar with (I've a few coming up). This is when a group of bloggers all post about a book around the date of its release to generate a bit of a buzz online. Eventually you can build up a nice relationship wth publishers or PR contacts who will add you to press lists and include you in mailings they think you may be interested in.

Anything else I should know?
Join your local library. But, nope. That should be enough to get you set up on NetGalley.

Happy Reading!