The Sunday Review: Curse of Blood and Shadow by J.M. Kearl

51qnk75gkhlTitle: Curse of Blood and Shadow
Author: J.M. Kearl
Page Count: 429 pages
Release Date: April 7, 2020

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From Goodreads: Cursed with visions of death. Cursed to die. Cursed to be a bloodthirsty monster. One thing is clear at the Allied Kingdoms Academy, curses abound and no one is safe.

I was born a cursed princess. A curse that makes me hesitant to touch anyone, afraid I’ll foresee their death and won’t be able to stop it.

As royalty of a warrior kingdom, I’m sent to train in weapons and magic at the new academy where dangerous, deadly, and ferocious could describe any of the students, myself included. It isn’t long before I foresee the death of a student and realize I’m not the only one cursed. Something darker, hungry, and murderous lurks in the shadows, and I must find out what it is.

When the ever pompous, arrogant— gorgeous prince from another kingdom suspects I know something is wrong, he tries to convince me he can help. It doesn’t matter that we hate each other, doesn’t matter that our kingdom’s rivalry is ages old, students could die. Prince Zyacus is one of the strongest and fiercest of us all but his hard heart might have one weakness— me, and I might be a target of the creatures out for blood.

Throne of Glass meets Harry Potter! If you love swoon-worthy enemies-to-lovers romance, fierce ladies, powerful dudes, magic, swords, and talking cats in an academy setting, then this is the series for you!

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Curse of Blood and Shadow is the first book in Allied Kingdoms Academy by J.M. Kearl. I was drawn in to both the main character and the world from the very beginning and the entire story built up from there and I couldn’t get away.

gift-habeshaw-M6i3JxDn72Q-unsplashPrincess Visteal is part of the first class of students at the new Allied Kingdoms Academy, where the students of the four kingdoms come to study magic, language, and weaponry. She and her group of side characters, Legacy and Taz, make a great group, carrying on their mischief and uncovering new danger at the new school. And of course, what would a new school be without that rival prince who used to pick on you as a kid, now all grown up to torture you some more? Now Prince Zyacus is handsome and after the heart of the princess, but hearts are hard from past heartaches.

Really though, this is not a romance book (although I really enjoyed the three relationships which pop up within the story). Curse of Blood and Shadow is just as equally about the fantasy plot, which I found to be very well laid out. There was a decent mix of politics, lore/species, action, and whodunnit mixed throughout the book. I loved that this was a fairly lengthy book and I was never bored! And let me just say that, as someone who never likes fight scenes of any kind, I honestly read every single duel, battle, training session, etc. I loved everything about this book and I positively can’t wait for the next book!

Note: I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book soundtrack: Youth by Daughter

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The Sunday Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

28458598Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Page Count: 380 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2017

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Let me start out by saying that I really enjoyed “When Dimple Met Rishi.” I tend to enjoy contemporary YA fiction much better in audiobook format, and this book was no exception. The alternate points of view were great and the chosen narrators especially helped to depict the diversity.

The book begins with the ambitious Dimple Shah graduating from high school and getting ready to go to college for computer science. She values hard work and intelligence and has no plans to marry like her traditional parents want her to (“that’s what college is for after all,” they think!). When she convinces them to let her attend Insomnia Con, she is shocked by how easy it is, but it is a chance to meet her idol! On campus under….surprising circumstances….she meets Rishi Patel. Rishi is a bit of a romantic and was raised more traditionally, yet humbly. Surprisingly, the two are paired together for the contest. Push comes to shove, circumstances happen, you’ll have to read the book to find out the details, and that’s the gist.

First, characters. I admire a young woman who is career-driven and intelligent. Dimple wears her glasses all the time, despises make-up (though I don’t know think its completely the make-up as much as rebelling against her mother and dating in general), and is entitled to her opinion and her own choices. (almost to a fault) Rishi is the eldest son of the CEO of a large company, but he completely breaks the mold of the phrase “snobby rich kid.” He does, however, fall in line with his family’s traditional Indian values and he is planning to(expected to) follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue engineering and enter into an arranged marriage. In his heart, however, Rishi is an artist. He loves drawing comics and he is a romantic. Also, he is quick, witty, and loyal. (almost to a fault)

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Credit: dorothyreads

There weren’t very many secondary characters, but the ones that were around were pretty good. Celia–Dimple’s roommate–brought the little bit of ‘feminine’ and guidance that Dimple needed every once in a while, and vice versa. They were there for each other to get each other through lots of obstacles and awkward moments. Ashish, Rishi’s brother, brought in another tangle of a relationship and a fresh voice of guidance and opinion. He turned out to be more mature than I expected him to be. Then there were other contestants and Jenny Lindt herself, who seemed to be all the L.A. “hip.”

I have several thoughts on this book, especially after having read and heard a lot of the buzz surrounding Dimple & Rishi. First off, I think that we adults who read YA need to remember that Dimple and Rishi are teenagers and this book is written for teens. WE are the adults here. I didn’t have any feelings about this really until the last 30 or 40 pages, as I mentioned, from what I have read and heard people saying, I think we can give the kids a little bit of a break. There are a few gushy , cheesy parts where they are cuddling and the dialogue is just downright roll-your-eyes “really?!” but come on, we’ve all been there. Its that honeymoon stage in a young relationship! Another note re: the relationship. I loved that the two of them brought out the good in each other. Really, I thought they worked well together. HOWEVER. Dimple says “I don’t want to marry” and “I don’t want to get married” and “No, I won’t be getting married” and then 2 minutes later they are mutually saying “I love you!” and it is a completely serious relationship! So I know what I said…young love and all that…cut them slack, you never really know when you’re young. But I’m just saying. Chill out on the extremes, please. Just a bit. kthanks.

A quick quip about Insomnia Con: was the Talent Show really relevant? Was it really necessary? No? I didn’t think so. Maybe its a cute thing to put in a YA book for couples to do together but man, it does not seem to fit realistically with app building. Sorry, Sandhya Menon.

All right, those are my thoughts on “When Dimple Met Rishi.” Overall, I am super impressed at how well this book has done for a debut! Two more books have followed in the Dimple and Rishi ‘series’ since  this release so There’s Something About Sweetie and the upcoming 10 Things I Hate About Pinky are going on my TBR as well!

Book Soundtrack: Kill ‘Em With Kindness by Selena Gomez

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Tour + Giveway: The Light at the Bottom of the World

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The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss #1)
by London Shah
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Kobo

Synopsis:

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.
At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.

Review:

my2bcover2bhigh2bres2521I feel like that synopsis is extremely detailed so I don’t need to lay out too many details on the plot! However, as for my opinions….stunning for a debut novel! So get this: not only was this book a beautiful cover buy, it was also an incredibly unique, action-packed, futuristic, and an intriguing book. It was so neat to imagine the world we know all being underwater. I’m not from London, but can you imagine Sherlock Holmes or the Queen of England living underwater?? Yeah, who thinks of that??!! London Shah! Strong on imagination yet mild on romance, I loved that The Light on the Bottom of the Ocean also was relevant on current topics like diversity and the idea of questioning authority and voicing opinions, even though it has a futuristic setting. These concepts are timeless and ring true in this story and I found it refreshing to see it anchoring this book down. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy!

About the Author:

authorAuthor London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain’s capital city for most of her life via England’s beautiful North. When she’s not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she’s most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city’s older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it’s rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.

Giveaway:

Use the Rafflecopter link to enter to win a finished copy of The Light at the Bottom of the World.
Giveaway HERE
The Fine Print…
Giveaway is for US residents only.
False entries will result on the complete disqualification of the participant and this person won’t be eligible to receive a copy of the book. There are multiple giveaways currently live organised and promoted by The FFBC Tours, Disney and London Shah.
Participants may only claim 1 copy of the book regardless of the different platforms and blogs.
If more than one blogger contacts you as a winner, please accept only one prize and decline the other.
The winner will be notified via email and needs to answer within 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
Your personal information won’t be used or be seen by anyone unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it or use it in a bad way.
Tour Hosts, the FFBC Tours and authors are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
My Bookish Soundtrack:

The Sunday Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

43189874._sy475_Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Page Count: 336 pages – ebook edition
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Berkley

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Have you ever been swooned? Well Captain Simon and the Bar Wench Emily are about to swoon your ass off in this romcom! I remember reading the synopsis for this book a month or two ago and seeing the Renaissance Faire aspect of it made it an automatic must-read for me. The thought of working a Ren Faire for a summer is like working a fantasy summer camp to me. Like, how amazing would it be? Dressing up, acting in-character, playing with the patrons…so fun! And then in this book, we layer in this romance and some comedy?! Its so much fun!!

Just to give you an idea…in Well Met, our main character is Emily, who moves to this small town after her older sister is in a car wreck and now needs some help around the house and getting her daughter around for the summer. Well, daughter Caitlin finally old enough and is now volunteering for the town’s summer event which is the Renaissance Faire and in order for her to volunteer, she needs to have an adult work with her. Obviously her mom can’t because of her injury so Emily is recruited to be a part of the fair as well and she is assigned the role of Tavern Wench. From the moment she enters orientation, the guy in charge (Simon) hassles her about everything right down to filling out her form incorrectly. When Simon is in costume though, he is a completely different person. He is handfast to Emma, delivers her red roses, and recites Shakespeare. Is this new swagger all pirate Simon? Or does real Simon swoon for Emily as well?

jerry-zhang-n9eVQoeGDQk-unsplashI read this book so fast, I just could not get enough. Well Met was incredibly charming and filled with many emotions. First of all, I loved the small town setting and just the idea that Emily moved to town to help her sister April and she slowly grew to be accepted and to get to know everyone’s stories. Even April started to open up to the small town atmosphere a little more by the end so that was good too. Second, speaking of stories, I thought the background story of Mitch and the Faire and Simon’s extreme attachment to it was pretty decent. Overall though, I love how Emily really got it and how she and Simon talked it out. I thought their scene at the tree was an amazing scene for a chick lit/contemporary book and the ending was really nice.

The reason I gave this book only 4 stars rather than 5 is because I felt that Emily is a character that just got too critical and nervous and questioned every single thing that Simon said to her. It just got to be too much and felt obsessive to me. “He gave me a rose! Am I important? How do I handle this? What do I do next?” I was always wondering “Haven’t you ever been in a relationship before?” It just dimmed the shine on the story a little bit for me at times. Other than this though, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend! (especially the audiobook)

Book Soundtrack: Small Town Boy by Dustin Lynch (I love this song)

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Blog Tour: Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer

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Only Ashes Remain (Market of Monsters #2)
by Rebecca Schaeffer
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

GoodreadsAmazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google

Synopsis:

After escaping her kidnappers and destroying the black market where she was held captive, all Nita wants is to find a way to live her life without looking over her shoulder. But with a video of her ability to self-heal all over the dark web, Nita knows she’s still a prime target on the black market.
There’s only one way to keep herself safe.
Nita must make herself so feared that no one would ever dare come after her again. And the best way to start building her reputation? Take her revenge on Fabricio, the boy who sold Nita to her kidnappers. But killing Fabricio is harder than Nita thought it would be, even with Kovit by her side. Now caught in a game of kill or be killed, Nita will do whatever it takes to win.
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Review:
We left off in book #1 (Not Even Bones–link to my review) on a huge cliffhanger. Our main character Nita is coming face-to-face with the guy who she set free and then turned around and sold her to the black market. Or did he? I’m not convinced. But Nita is. She is reunited with her mother, only to truly see how slimy and irritating she truly is. Nita says no more and sets off on her own. But she reunites with our favorite Zannie–Kovit–soon and, of course, the dark adventures and terrors begin.
I wish I could truly tell you about this book, but I don’t want to spoil anything. You really have to experience it for yourself. I loved that the cast of characters expands in this book, and more than anything, I love seeing more of Kovit in this book! Give me a dark, moody book boyfriend any day! Although. Here’s the catch. This relationship reminded me of the…I don’t know what to call it…Edward and Bella…where she is the only female who is immune to his powers and is therefore more attractive to him. More or less. All of that being said, I don’t care, because I loved their fragility both together and separate. It made for such a dynamic book! There is the violence and the action and the chase…but then there is this questioning and moral greyness, and there is actual time spent to dissect it. Love it!
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The Author:

Rebecca Schaeffer was born and raised in the Canadian prairies. Her itchy feet took her far from home when she turned eighteen, and she hasn’t returned for more than a few months here or there since. You can find her sitting in a cafe on the other side of the world, writing about villains, antiheroes and morally ambiguous characters.
Her debut , Not Even Bones, is about a girl who dissects and sells monsters on the internet. Not Even Bones received a starred review from Booklist, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Speculative Fiction, as well as the Cybilis awards.
Go find her on Goodreads, Instagram, or Twitter.
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Only Ashes Remain Blog Tour Schedule


August 28th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

August 29th

NovelKnight – Guest Post
To All The Books I’ve Read Before – Review + Playlist
Bookish Looks – Promotional Post

 

August 30th

Camillea Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flying Paperbacks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Singer of Stories – Review
Kerri The Book Belle – Review

 

August 31st

It Starts at Midnight – Review
Fictitiouswonderland  – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes

 

September 1st

A Dream Within A Dream – Review
Smada’s Book Smack – Review + Playlist
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

 

September 2nd

Moonlight Rendezvous  – Review + Favourite Quotes
Never Too Many To Read – Review  + Favourite Quotes
Tracey Drew Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Life – Promotional Post

September 3rd
The Book Bratz – Interview
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist
The Clever Reader – Review
Devouring Books – Review

Book Soundtrack: Devil Inside Me by Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes
A huge thank you to FFBC, Rebecca, and the publishers for granting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Sunday Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

37570585Title: Not Even Bones
Author: Rebecca Schaeffer
Published: September 4, 2018
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HMH Books
Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror, Urban Fantasy

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Goodreads Synopsis: Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

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This book has been on my TBR for a while. Why? The description calls it a mix of Dexter and V.E. Schwab’s This Savage Song, which is a pretty epic combination when you think about it. Main character Nita has a fascination with anatomy and takes comfort in dissecting the bodies of supernaturals–like herself–which are then sold as parts on the black market by her mother. She is used to her subjects being cold on her table until one day, her mother brings a live victim to their basement and this is where the story really begins.

fac5f2cd4741e38f6392ea1bb85df8a6Fast forwarding so as to not spoil details in the story, Nita finds herself caged and up for sale on the black market. As she tries to work out who betrayed her location and her secret of being an unnatural, she attempts to escape to safe territory. In this unique world, there are all kinds of different ‘monsters,’ their various parts being of varying uses and values. This, of course, is where a lot of gore comes into play because Nita has to either cut them up, watch them being consumed or extracted or detached, and of course there is violence in the being imprisoned, escape attempts, etc.

The book leaves off on a cliffhanger after Nita comes face-to-face with…well, I can’t tell you that. Just know that this is a book that is incredibly unique and keeps you on your toes the entire time. It is certainly full of blood and guts, monsters, black market mafia, and action. I would say there isn’t a ton of character development as of yet, but book 2 is releasing September 3, 2019 so we will find out soon!

Book Soundtrack: I Come With Knives by IAMX

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On Thursdays We Review ~ The Raven’s Tale

38101643Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

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The Raven’s Tale is another book that is honestly rather difficult to give a rating to so I think I need to go by some pro’s and con’s:

Con’s: 
♦ Poor pacing and repetition. This book really was not action-driven, so don’t open it expecting the adventures of Poe and his muse. There are many pretty (dark, sultry) words, but not a whole lot going on. If you are an artist of any kind, read this book. If you are an adventurer, a fast-paced reader, looking for the high stakes, etc…..search elsewhere.
♦ Mostly unengaging. The Raven’s Tale is told in alternating points of view between Edgar and his personified muse, Lenore. Over and over, Edgar struggles to embrace his art (through/with Lenore) because of his adoptive father, who killed his own muse when he was young. At the age of seventeen, Edgar has to decide if he will obey his demanding father and inherit the family accounting business or make his own path.

mohammad-metri-258150-unsplashPro’s: 
♦ This book was thoroughly researched (as much was allowed given the historical handicap), and it shows in the story. In Cat’s author notes in the back of the book, her references and notes are extensive. I found it fascinating how she was able to piece together a story from the scraps of what remained from Poe’s life story. She made gold from the heresay of those who didn’t like Poe or from what was published in papers about him, for better or worse.
♦ Probably some of the most beautiful writing and one of the most unique concepts I have read. To take a real and very famous literary figure and piece together facts with the beautiful fantasy concept of a muse and fully pose that that is how his writings came to life…I thought it was exquisite. I also loved that Cat was able to write her own short poems in the book in the style of Poe and honestly, I never knew the difference. The book was still amazing to read.

To wrap up, I wouldn’t say that this was the best book that I have ever read in terms of a story, but I will say that the writing was great and it was everything I expected in terms of something Poe-ish. It was quite dark, very unique, and overall very morose in the best of ways.

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ARC Review: We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler

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* This book was provided to me for free from the Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for my review. All opinions are honest and are my own. Thank you to FFBC, publishers, and the author!

We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler
Published: April 2, 2019
Genres: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Synopsis: It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.

As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the cafe down the street. There she meets Fig–blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious–who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends–including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia’s mind–she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.

Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-gbhglo-clipart2bpink

Hi everyone! I am coming to you today with a review of this really great YA contemporary novel about grief, trauma, friendship, beauty, and forgiveness. I was drawn into the book from the very first pages as the main character, Mia, says goodbye to her father and climbs onto a train heading toward New York. She is going to be spending the summer with her estranged grandmother because life hasn’t been the same since she lost her sister in a car accident last year. Her mom left and her dad has checked out mentally. Mia herself has been left with a scarred face and no memory of the night of the accident. Living with her grandmother means attending church and starting a summer job working at Brunelli’s Diner.

So here is where we meet most of our characters. First off, our main character Mia is scarred both outside and in. She is quiet and shy, but throughout the book it is so clear that she is exactly where she needs to be and with exactly the right people to help her through her situation. Grandma Victoria is an awesome character. She seems rather cold and a stickler for manners in the beginning, but she makes a strong effort to provide for Mia. The best thing of all is that Mia gives back to her too. She gives her happiness and fun. And lastly, there is Fig and the Brunelli family. Within this new circle of friends, Mia finds new support she has never had before. Little by little she regains her confidence and learns (as corny and cliche as this sounds) to finally accept herself and live a full life.decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-gbhglo-clipart2bpink

121420About the Author: Heather Hepler
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which I think is one of the cooler places to be born, because initially people think I’m being funny—like I’m saying I was born on the moon, but then they see I’m actually being serious. It feels like since then I’ve lived nearly everywhere (well, only in the US—which is a bummer because I want to travel so much). In high school, I was in band and honors society and science club and worked on the school newspaper. All this in Texas where football was king and cheerleaders were the school royalty. When people ask me what I remember about middle school and high school, I stand there for several seconds not saying anything. This isn’t because I can’t remember anything, but because I remember too many things and I can’t figure out what to say out loud.

I spent the first part of college in Alaska, which was amazing. The first time I saw Northern Lights, I thought I was imagining it. I just couldn’t get my head around the idea that something so beautiful existed in the real world. That’s when I first started writing. This was my bad poetry phase. I think it was the combination of living there with long very cold winters and being in love with a guy that barely knew I existed that made me do it. People ask me all the time if I write poetry. I wish I could and maybe I will someday, but for now I am firmly a fiction writer.

Goodreads | Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

*Giveaway* If you would like to win 1 of 5 copies of We Were Beautiful, click on the Rafflecopter link to enter. Giveaway is open through 5/1/19!decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-gbhglo-clipart2bpink

Book soundtrack: “The First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes

 

ARC REVIEW: Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan

39950808Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A Duncan
Hardcover Edition 400 pages
Publish Date April 2nd 2019 by Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
My rating:

“The girl, the monster, and the prince…”

All the stars!!
My new favorite 2019 release!!
Yes I’m gushing!! But I can’t help it!!

Ok, I need to calm down. This book is far too dark and serious for that much excitement. I feel that it is difficult to know where to even begin with setting this book up for you all without either a) confusing the crows out of you, or b) spoiling everything for you. I will try my best though.

Our three main characters are Nadya (cleric from Kalyazin), Malachaisz (runaway mage from Tranavia), and Serefin (blood mage and Prince of Tranavia). War is raging between the lands, not just involving the countries, but between magics–mages, the gods(clerics), and the Vultures, who are a powerful cult. Nadya is her people’s only hope to restore the power of their gods to the land. Serefin was raised to battle all believers in the gods. And Malachaisz just wants the fighting to stop and the first step, he says, is to kill the king. Told from Nadya and Serefin’s dual points of view, we really see into these characters and feel how real they are. Nadya has had the voices of these gods in her head her entire life, and there are at least a dozen? And then there is Serafin, who has been brought up under a tyrannical king and all he has known is war.

Wicked Saints Church2The passion and the drama in this book is absolutely non-stop from beginning to end. I tell you there is action, there is friendship and travel and romance and magic and betrayal and just…everything! Emily Duncan is an author who does not hold back. Personally, I am no author. But if I were to write a book, Emily has literally taken what I was wanting and thinking and penned it in this book practically word-for-word from my own head and heart. She is not brief with her descriptions of love or fear or doubt or pain. She hits you with it and if you’re like me, you will grip this book until your hands hurt waiting to see what happens next! Even the magic systems are evolving, and to me, that’s impressive. There is no lack of diversity either so truly, I feel that this woman has created something wonderful here.

So, I can’t end this review without mentioning that this book does need a couple trigger and content warnings. We do have ourselves alcohol consumption (maybe addiction to), violence, self-harm (literally blood mages, of their own blood) and talk of self-harm in the past.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for granting me an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Because the quotes from above were taken from the ARC, they are subject to change by the time of publication.

Book Soundtrack: “Inside a Boy (Album Version)” by My Brightest Diamond

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Review: The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden

49132572_570238783424831_8695217748097105920_nThe Bear and the Nightingale really has so many aesthetics within it–it is magical, whimsical, spiritual, family-oriented, and just plain beautiful. The story is about Vasya, the youngest child of Pyotor and Marina Vladimirovic. Marina dies in childbirth, and Vasya grows up to be a fiercely independent and strong-willed young woman who cares not only for her family members, but for the spirits of her house and of the woods. But these are the “old gods,” pushed out when Christianity comes to the villiage.

To me, the story unfolded incredibly slowly. I was very tempted to walk away in the beginning. But then, the Russian folklore begins to weave into the story–snowdrops in midwinter, Father Frost, the Sea-King’s Daughter, and Vasilisa the Beautiful (feel free to use Google for any of these stories!). How they were written and their seamlessness in the story was so great. What I did not like, however, was how confusing a few of the characters were, as well as the passing of time. Katherine Arden’s writing can be so beautiful and descriptive about certain things, but then I feel like I’m completely missing out on details regarding certain other things.

lily-seika-jones-vasilisa-the-beautiful-2017Now, here is my final comment: I realize that so many people loved this book. Maybe I took the wrong path by listening to the audiobook. I really did not enjoy this book, so I am going to give this one some time and try to pick up a hard copy later down the line and see if reading it with my own eyes gives me a different experience. Or maybe I should just move on and read book two in hard copy format. I’ll think about it. Either way, I am interested in the plot and the folklore aspect so I’m not ready to give up on Vasilisa yet.

Soundtrack: “Monsters” by Seafret

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