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Sara

Book Review

Black Dawn | Review

Black Dawn | Review

I just finished Black Dawn, and if you’re looking for an adventure filled weekend read, this is it! Emory Fae is living her life when it is suddenly turned upside down by the news that she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line of Kiero, a far away and magic filled world. Emory also finds out that is is part of the Black Dawn Rebellion and is thrown into a fight to save her world and throne.

When I started reading Black Dawn, I was really surprised at how short the book was, and how quickly I was moving through it. But it really is action packed and very little room is wasted on unnecessary dialogue or plot points, which I appreciate.

I did struggle a little with the multiple plot points, but it didn’t take anything away from the book – that’s just a personal preference of mine. The world building was intense at times, and Emory really developed and grew as a character and I can’t wait to see what ends up happening in book two, since Black Dawn ended on a MAJOR cliffhanger.

A couple of things that didn’t sit that great with me are that this book has a villain that I really think could be fleshed out a little more (so hopefully that happens in book two) and the romance that occurs felt a bit insta-love to me (not to mention the love triangle / square that’s going on).

 

Rating: 3 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Black Dawn? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

2017 Book Releases To Read

l be updating this list throughout the year, but here are some of my most anticipated YA releases! I know I’m forgetting a ton, so feel free to leave a few titles in the comments if you remember one you think I’d love. I italicized the ones I have yet to read, put an asterisk next to review copies I plan on getting to soon, and bolded my favorites so far:

January:

  • Windwitch by Susan Dennard (2 stars)
  • Roseblood by A.G. Howard (1 star)
  • Feversong by Karen Marie Moning (1 star)
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber (3 stars)
  • The Bear and the Nightingale (3 stars)

February:

  • Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey (4 stars)
  • King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (5 stars)
  • A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (5 stars)
  • Daughter of the Pirate King (4 stars)
  • Empress of a Thousand Skies (2 stars)
  • Gilded Cage by Vic James (3 stars)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5 stars)
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (4 stars)
  • The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins (3 stars)

March:

  • Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (4 stars)
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (2 stars)
  • The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins (2 stars)
  • Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs (2 stars)
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (3 stars)
  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (5 stars)
  • Hunted by Megan Spooner (3 stars)
  • Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (DNF)

April:

  • Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (2 stars)
  • Savages by Katherine Bogle (3 stars)
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshy (4 stars)
  • Skullsworn by Brian Staveley (3 stars)
  • Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz (1 star)
  • Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima (5 stars)
  • Red Sister by Mark Lawrence (DNF)
  • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (3 stars)

May:

  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas (4 stars)
  • The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye
  • Ensnared by Rita Stradling (3 stars)
  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
  • Death and Night by Roshani Chokshy (5 stars)
  • Dragon Redeemer by Amy Bearce (4 stars)
  • Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney (1.5 stars)

June:

  • Roar by Cora Carmack
  • The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
  • The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen (5 stars)
  • The Fallen Kingdom (5 stars)
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Now I Rise by Kiersten White

July:

  • The Changeling’s Journey by Christine Spoors

August:

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
  • Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
  • Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

September:

  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (4 stars)
  • Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
  • An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

October:

  • That Inevitable VIctorian THing by E.K. Johnson
  • Warcross by Marie Lu

November:

December:

Book Review

OverRuled | Review

OverRuled | Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the author of OverRuled, Brittney Joy, if I would be interested in reviewing her book. She said it had magic. And heroines. And horses. And so like any person who loves magic, heroines, and horses, I said yes.

And another gif because this book has horses. Beautiful, majestic, lovable horses.

OverRuled follows the story of both Nova Hart and Princess Jade. Nova hasn’t set foot in the city of Sterling since her family left when she was just a baby and is shocked to find the use of magic in the kingdom, and more importantly, the way magic is used to rule and control.

Meanwhile, Princess Jade has not only never left Sterling, but she’s never set foot outside of the castle. She is told by her mother, Queen Katrina, that this is for Jade’s own protection, but Jade starts to wonder how true this really is.

Nova and Jade become thrown together in a power play for rule over the kingdom, along with the mysterious Chael, a royal guard. Neither girl knows who to trust, and this fast paced novel will have you guessing until the very end.

Now even though this novel is written in dual POV (Jade and Nova) I found myself attached and growing fond of both characters. When Chael appeared on screen and started to interact with both girls, I found myself torn because I could feel a love triangle potentially developing. But that part is still a grey area, I think on purpose, because Chael does have some secrets of his own and keeps things close to his vest and doesn’t say everything.

The world building was fantastic and there were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming, so I was pleasantly surprised there. I really did like how the magic was ‘built’ differently than from what I’ve ever read before in terms of how it is passed down through the line.

Overall this was a great read and I’m really eager to see where the next book goes!

My favorite line: 

“Jade?” He raised her chin with a finger when she didn’t respond. She reluctantly returned his gaze, wanting the intensity in his eyes to be for her, not simply for the responsibility of her.”

My favorite visual: Riv!

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read OverRuled What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

A Crown of Wishes | Review

A Crown of Wishes | Review

So if you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I had a hard time getting into Roshani’s first novel, A Star-Touched Queen, and so I was a little unsure about A Crown of Wishes. But the week before ACOW released, I decided to re-read ASTQ and I’m so glad I did!

I found ASTQ to be better the second time around of reading, and I feel like I connected so much more with the story. So then I was sooo excited for ACOW and pretty much stalked my mailman on release day, I couldn’t wait to read it (plus by that point I had heard so many good things).

So where ASTQ dealt with Maya, ACOW follows her sister, Gauri. And oh how I loved Gauri! Gauri is a badass, plain and simple. Gauri  is in captivity and soon meets (and attempts to kill) Vikram. Vikram, whom you may view as Gauri’s sworn enemy since he is the Prince of the country Gauri finds herself captured in, is clever and quick on his feet and I love that correlation between him and his nickname (the Fox Prince).

Through fate, Gauri and Vikram find themselves working together for a common goal. I mean, they can trust each other, right? Or can they? Who knows! Either way – the commentary between these two is absolutely gold and I wanted to underline and highlight and write on my walls all the funny and lovely (and pithy ) verbal barbs Gauri and Vikram traded. Their chemistry was superb. Plus, Vikram is handsome. Never hurts.

I really don’t want to give anything away, other than just to say the world building was magnificent, the character development outstanding and why can’t Roshani just write everything I need to read in my life? That’s totally doable, right? 😉

 

My favorite line: 

“I donned my armor, lining my eyes with kohl until they were dark as death and patting crushed rose petals on my lips until they were scarlet as blood.”

My favorite visual: I don’t want to give too much away, but it has to do with a beast.

Rating: 5 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read A Crown of Wishes? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Wintersong | Review

Wintersong | Review

(why yes, I will be using all Labyrinth gifs for this review)

Wintersong was one of those books that had me hooked from the moment I read the synopsis. Fantasy, Labyrinth and the Goblin King? Yes, yes and yes. It released a couple of months ago, but it took awhile for my library to get a copy. But once it did, I was so on that and devoured the book in a couple of days.

So, if you’re not familiar with Wintersong and what it’s about, it is the story of a young girl named Liesl, who grew up on stories of the Goblin King and let those stories inspire her musical compositions. But soon Liesl’s older sister will be married, and her younger brother off to train as a musician. Liesl starts to feel trapped and that her childhood dreams of music are fading. \

A twist of fate has Liesl’s sister captured by the Goblin King, and it’s up to Liesl to journey underground to save her. Complete with goblins, balls, and tricky magic.

Now, in my opinion, the Goblin King steals the show. He’s mysterious and brooding, but with enough fragility exposed that you start to wonder about him, and his story slowly becomes unraveled as you read through the novel.

The writing throughout Wintersong is very lyrical and poetic, and I do agree with what some others have said in that there were a few pages I had to re-read a few times to make sure what I thought had happened actually occurred. There are places where you need to read between the lines a little to stay on top of the story.

As far as the pacing, I did enjoy the first half of the novel more than the second half. Not that there was anything wrong with the second half, it’s just the first half was so perfect!

My favorite line: 

“You are the monster I claim, mein Herr.”

My favorite visual: The red cloak.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Wintersong? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Daughter of the Pirate King | Review

Daughter of the Pirate King | Review

I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the Daughter of the Pirate King, I had no interest in it. The cover didn’t thrill me and I’ve never really been a pirate person, mainly because it seems like I’m the only one who despises Pirates of the Caribbean, and given that this book was pitched as a female Jack Sparrow I was very much ehhhhhhhhh about it.

But my library had a copy, so I decided to read it.

 

And I am oh so glad I did.

Alosa is the daughter of the pirate king, and a fearsome pirate in her own right. She’s on a mission for her father that involved her orchestrating her own kidnapping (I got some very Lila Bard vibes from this!) but her plans quickly start to go awry, and Alosa finds herself in some hot water as her special ability becomes exposed… and she starts to fall for one of her captors. Never a good combo, right?

This book really grabbed me from the beginning, and I thought the writing was great. The tone of most the book is upbeat and fast paced. Alosa’s quick-wittedness had me laughing many a time while reading. And let’s just say her fiery hair really does reflect her personality. The banter really was a shining star in this novel.

The pacing for me did get a little wobbly towards the end, but nothing major, just what seemed like a very quick wrap up. For me this was a really great, easy, weekend read and if it interests you at all, I suggest picking it up.

I can’t wait for the second book! Definitely intrigued to find to out what will happen next.

 

My favorite line: 

“Everyone has something dark in their past. I suppose it’s our job to overcome it. And if we can’t overcome it, then all we can do is make the most of it.”

My favorite visual: Omg omg omg spoiler!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Daughter of the Pirate King? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Fallen Kingdom | Review

The Fallen Kingdom | Review

This review is basically going to be me doing this:

heart-eyes

 

The Fallen Kingdom is the third book in the Falconer trilogy, and is slated to release on June 13th, 2017.

This book. This book! This. Book. THIS. BOOK.

Okay, I’ll stop.

But seriously, this book was by far the best in the series. It was amazing. It was every emotional roller coaster there could have been all rolled into a pretty package that is Aileana.

We pick up right where we left off, with Aileana having returned, but she has no memories and has these immense powers with no knowledge of where they came from. As Aileana

 

As Daleina grows and begins to understand more about her abilities, she, as well as others, start to wonder what is happening with the elemental spirits. More and more deaths are occurring, and more and more villages are being destroyed. One of those trying to save the villages in question is Ven, a disgraced champion. Fate brings Daleina and Ven together and they strike out to strengthen Daleina’s power as she trains to one day become an heir, but they also start to unravel a political plot bigger than themselves.

 

When I started reading, I was immediately sucked into this this magical world. The pacing was excellent, the action almost constant (with destructive elements, something is bound to go wrong) and the plot inventive. If you love fantasy and magic, this book is for you. The only *possible* negative thing I have to say about it, is there is a small romance in the book that to me seemed to come out of the middle of nowhere, almost as if it was an afterthought that was shoved into the already written book. But despite that, I really loved this book and can’t wait for more in this series.

My favorite line: This creepy opener stole my heart:

“Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.”

My favorite visual: The elemental spirits.

Rating: 5 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Fallen Kingdom? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Miranda and Caliban | Review

Miranda and Caliban | Review

Miranda and Caliban is slated to release on February 14, 2017.

Book blurb: Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love.

 

I have been a fan of Jacqueline Carey forever. I fell in love with her lyrical writing when I first read Kushiel’s Dart, and then fell in love all over again with her Santa Olivia and Agent of Hel series. Miranda and Caliban is a beautiful return to Carey’s lyrical writing that I love so much, and missed a little bit with her more recent works.

I sat down to read Miranda and Caliban when I had about an hour of spare time, thinking I’d slowly read the book over the course of a few days. Instead, I found myself unable to put the book down, I was so enthralled by the story. In fact, I read the entire book over the course of one evening, it was just that mesmerizing!

Now, if you’re not aware, Miranda and Caliban is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Tempest, so if you’re aware of the play, you know how the story is going to end up. It’s a tragedy, after all.

The romance between Miranda and Caliban builds slowly over time, and starts as many romances do, after years of friendship. Miranda is lonely and has spent much of her life very sheltered, and Caliban wants nothing more than to belong. And Prospero is pulling the strings on both, using them for his own revenge. The result is a magical and enchanting tale that Carey weaves, even knowing from the start that the star-crossed lovers are doomed.

Personally, I found myself equally invested in both the story of Miranda and Caliban, and secretly (or maybe not so secretly!) hoping for a retelling with a twist that wouldn’t lead to heartbreak. But Carey faithfully stuck to the source material, and I enjoyed the story immensely despite the feels.

The only downsides I have for this novel are:

– Even though we do see more lyrical writing in Miranda and Caliban from Carey, much like her work in her Kushiel series, this is not what I would call an epic fantasy. There is only so much for Carey to work with here, given the source material, and although she does a fantastic job weaving her plot, it’s not as layered as perhaps I was hoping.

– The size is a little disappointing, coming in at just over 300 pages. Again, I fully realize this is more due to the source material (like the above note), so take that into consideration. My disappointments were really stemming more from the fact that I want another lyrical, epic fantasy from Carey, rather than the quality of prose of Miranda and Caliban. 😉

 

I received Miranda and Caliban as an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

 

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Miranda and Caliban? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Queen of Blood | Review

The Queen of Blood | Review

From the first page I knew this book would be good. It just had that feeling. That special, sinking into this magical world feeling. You know the one.

feeling

In The Queen of Blood humankind lives alongside elemental spirits that must be controlled through the power of the Queen, and the heirs that support her. Without the Queen commanding the spirits, their vengeful, vicious nature takes control and they wreck havoc, destroying entire villages. The story follows Daleina, a young woman who is training at an academy to learn to use to natural gift of magic to control the elemental spirits in her world. Daleina’s magic is not strong, but she has seen first hand the damage these spirits can do to a village, and she is determined to be of help to control them.

go-on

As Daleina grows and begins to understand more about her abilities, she, as well as others, start to wonder what is happening with the elemental spirits. More and more deaths are occurring, and more and more villages are being destroyed. One of those trying to save the villages in question is Ven, a disgraced champion. Fate brings Daleina and Ven together and they strike out to strengthen Daleina’s power as she trains to one day become an heir, but they also start to unravel a political plot bigger than themselves.

omg

When I started reading, I was immediately sucked into this this magical world. The pacing was excellent, the action almost constant (with destructive elements, something is bound to go wrong) and the plot inventive. If you love fantasy and magic, this book is for you. The only *possible* negative thing I have to say about it, is there is a small romance in the book that to me seemed to come out of the middle of nowhere, almost as if it was an afterthought that was shoved into the already written book. But despite that, I really loved this book and can’t wait for more in this series.

 

My favorite line: This creepy opener stole my heart:

“Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.”

My favorite visual: The elemental spirits.

Rating: 5 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Queen of Blood? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Heartless | Review

Heartless | Review

Oh. em. gee.

This. book.

giphy

So it’s about The Queen of Hearts, so there is some obviousness with how Catherine ends up, but the road is very unclear as to how Cath becomes The Queen of Hearts that we all know. And yes, the book ends sad because what else would you expect for The Queen of Hearts, but man oh man, this book was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down! Literally, I carried it around with me to sneak in reading.

Heartless is the story of Catherine, who marchioness mother is aiming for her to be Queen, but Cath has other ideas. She dreams of opening up a bakery with her maid, who is also her closest friend. Cath goes to a royal ball where (at first, unbeknownst to her) the King will propose to Cath, but instead Cath meets the new, handsome, royal Joker and all of Cath’s plans (and her mothers) start to fly out the window. Lots of interests are at play in the unfolding of destiny in this novel.

love2

As usual with Meyer, the imagery and descriptions are perfect and draw you into the world. The pacing of the plot wasn’t perfect throughout, but overall great and kept me turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen.

If you liked Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, then you’ll definitely like this. It still has Meyer’s style of writing, but it is a bit darker, sadder and grittier. Cath is one tough cookie and is determined to make her life turn out the way she dreams. Jest is instantly likeable, in that mysterious, roguish way, as are all the other Alice in Wonderland characters that you’re introduced to. My personal favorite is Cheshire, who I’ve always felt is a fairly accurate deception of a real life cat – gonna do what he wants, when he wants, and couldn’t care less about you. 😉

My favorite line: Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.”

My favorite visual: The Cheshire cat.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Heartless? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!