Monday, October 19, 2020

New YA Releases : Week of October 19th


Here are some upcoming releases this week. Release dates sources: 
Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.




AMONG THE BEASTS AND BRIARS by Ashley Poston 

CITY OF IMMORTAL SHADOWS by T.J. Swackhammer

REBEL SISTERS by Tochi Onyebuchi

THE BRIGHTEST NIGHT by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Are any of these on your Bookish Wishlist or Pre-Order cart? Which do you look most forward to?


Happy Reading!
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Review: Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart





*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release DateJuly 31, 2018

Pages: 320
Source: ARC

THE STORY:

Bold, brutal, and beautiful--a must-read fantasy full of fierce sisterhood, action, and political intrigue for fans of The Selection series, Caraval, and The Handmaid's Tale.
Serina Tessaro has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace--someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. It's her chance to secure a better life for her family, and to keep her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, out of trouble. But when Nomi catches the Heir's eye instead, Serina is the one who takes the fall for the dangerous secret her sister has been hiding.
Trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one option: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to save Serina. But this is easier said than done... A traitor walks the halls of the palazzo, and deception lurks in every corner.
Meanwhile, Serina is running out of time. Imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive, surrounded by women stronger than she is, one wrong move could cost her everything. There is no room for weakness on Mount Ruin, especially weaknesses of the heart.
Thrilling and captivating, Grace and Fury is a story of fierce sisterhood, and of survival in a world that's determined to break you.
BUY LINKS: The Lit. Bar    |    Amazon


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: CAPTIVATING

OPENING LINE:

Serina Tessaro stood on the steps of the fountain in Lanos' central piazza flanked by nine other girls her age, all in their finest gowns.
 


REVIEW:

I loved the premise of GRACE AND FURY
Dystopian Cinderella meets THE SELECTION meets GLADIATOR. A royal family with two handsome princes. Women are groomed for the chance to be one of the Heir's harem of Graces -- subjugated to being meek, beautiful, and provide an heir. 

“In Viridia, women were oppressed because men were afraid of them.
Women had ruled this country. And history had denigrated them. Erased them. Nomi was certain this wasn't what Renzo had been taught. He would have told her.
But the Superior knew. Whoever had given her this book knew.
And now she did too.”

The pacing of GRACE AND FURY was suited to the plot and the world-building was well-done. I truly felt immersed in the dystopian world where women weren't allowed to read and write. The drama of the Heir unexpectedly choosing Noomi over her sister, who trained her entire life to become a Grace, was delicious. And the unforeseen delight was the action and court intrigue.

“My father used to say that oppression isn't a finite state. It's a weight that is carried until it becomes too heavy, and then it is thrown off. Not without struggle, not without pain, but he believed the weight would always, always be fought and overcome.”

As for the romance, we are led to believe Asa is the good, kind younger brother to the Heir. This persona lulls Nomi into a false sense of security with him. Low and behold, Asa isn't who he pretends to be . . .

"“I don’t think this city is ugly. And I don’t believe in fairy tales.”

All in all, while GRACE AND FURY is a story about sisterhood and the fierce instinct for survival in a world meant to keep you oppressed. While GRACE AND FURY has its flawsI still enjoyed it -- especially the plot-twists.



CHARACTERS:

NOMI TESSARO: Nomi was defiant — which I like— BUT dumb— which I don't like. She was gullible and blind when it came to Asa. So, while I loved how defiant she was, as the story went on her invigorating defiance morphed into belligerent ignorant.

“This book was home to her, more than the palazzo and it’s fine furnishings could ever be.”

SERINA TESSARO: Serina was submissive to a fault — which I don't like— but smart — which I like. One thing I hate more than submissive female characters are willfully submissive female characters. Luckily, I really enjoyed her character arc. By the end of the book, I had a soft spot for her.

“For every woman who has been told to sit down and be quiet... And who stood up anyway.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracy Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She grew up in rural Maryland, with a cornfield in her backyard and flying squirrels in her bedroom walls, and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All that isolation and pretty scenery led to a reading addiction, writing obsession, and several serious book boyfriends.

After high school, Tracy escaped to North Carolina, where she got her BA in English from Davidson College. After college, she sampled city life in Canada and D.C. before jetting off to England, to pursue a master’s degree in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University. When she returned stateside, Tracy dabbled in various publishing jobs but didn’t give up on her dream of being a published author. Her husband convinced her that writing full time made perfect sense given the unpredictability of his job, thus affirming her conviction that he was better than any book boyfriend.

Tracy now lives with her husband, children, and dogs in Virginia, but it won’t be long until the Army sends them off on new adventures.

***Check out Tracy Banghart' website for more information about her and GRACE AND FURYHERE

Happy Reading!



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wishlist Wednesday


*Wishlist Wednesday is where you show a book that has been on your wishlist/TBR list for a while*


THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS by Chloe Gong

Publisher
Imprint 
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Pages: 400

THE STORY:

A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead, in this dark YA fantasy by A.M. Strickland, author of Beyond the Black Door, whom Richard Kadrey calls “a storyteller of both grace and power.”
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them―and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart―if she doesn’t betray them first.
BUY LINK: Amazon


MEET THE AUTHOR


A.M. Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the author of BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR and the forthcoming IN THE RAVENOUS DARK (2021), and co-author of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL under the name AdriAnne Strickland. Find her on Twitter @AdriAnneMS.



Want to see my entire Wishlist? Check it out on Amazon: Books I Dream About

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

2020 Fall Reads Blog Tour: Kingdom of Sea and Stone Exerpt

Hiya, Booknerds! I was lucky enough to be selected for the Blog Tour of KINGDOM OF STONE. As such, I will give you some details about the thrilling book as well as its lovely author. 

And you also get a BOOKISH BONUS: 

*A delightful morsel of an excerpt can be found below*


ABOUT THE BOOK:

PublisherInkyard Press
Release Date: October 6, 2020 
Genre: Teen & Young Adult; Epic Fantasy; Siblings Fiction 
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley ARC

THE STORY:
The Cruel Prince meets Ash Princess in this thrilling fantasy, the much-anticipated sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl.
Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister's place, she's wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor's twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they'll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them...

BUY LINKS:

Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Apple Books
Indie Bound
Books-a-Million
GooglePlay


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master's degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she's not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor


***Check out Mara Rutherford's website for more information about her and KINGDOM OF STONE: https://www.mararutherford.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mararaewrites
Instagram: @mararutherfordwrites
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48713842-kingdom-of-sea-and-stone


PRAISE FOR CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL:

"A fabulous interweaving of fantasy, politics, and sisterhood – this unusual, tense tale will have you on the edge of your seat!" –#1 New York Times bestselling author Tamora Pierce on Crown of Coral and Pearl


EXCERPT:

Chapter One

On the day Zadie and I turned thirteen, Father surprised us with a trip to the floating market—our first glimpse of the world beyond Varenia.

I spent the journey perched on the bow of our family’s boat, welcoming the cold ocean spray on my face and the wind in my tightly plaited hair. Zadie sat between Mother and Father, her knuckles white on the edge of the bench, her golden-brown eyes wide with anticipation.

As we approached, I eagerly took in the sight of the intricately carved wooden boats, with their colorful wares and raucous merchants. While Father traded our precious Varnian pearls for drinking water and food, Mother made Zadie and me sit next to each other near the front of the boat where everyone could see us. She had shown us off to every villager in Varenia a hundred times, but today an entirely new audience was at her disposal.

Men and women smiled at us as we floated past, likely because identical twins were a novelty.

“Lovely girls,” one of the merchants said, and I watched as Mother swelled with pride like a pufferfish.

She thanked him and urged us to do the same. But just as I started to speak, the man craned his neck to get a look at the right side of my face.

“Pity about the scar, though.”

I could feel Mother wilt behind me like a seaf lower left out in the sun.

Zadie, embarrassed, settled into the bottom of the boat where no one could stare at us, but I stayed where I was, watching as Father looked over a basket. I was used to these kinds of comments by now, but it felt as though Mother would never accept that one of her daughters was a damaged good, just like the basket Father handed back to the merchant, gesturing to a hole in the  bottom.

“Pssst.”

I turned to see a young man—the son of the trader, presumably—motioning for Zadie and me to come closer.

Zadie eyed him suspiciously. Mother had warned us that Ilarean boys were beneath our notice. We were the most beautiful women in the world, after all; that was why we were considered worthy of marrying royalty.

But with my scar, I wasn’t going to marry royalty, and I was curious to see what the boy wanted. I scooted to the edge of the boat. He looked like any boy in Varenia, though his clothing was finer and his hands were as smooth as Zadie’s.

He glanced around to make sure no one was watching, then handed me a small glass bottle. “For you,” he said.

I held it aloft for a better look. The contents were disappointing: sand, salt water, and a tiny yellow shell. All things I could find in Varenia, I thought glumly. But it was the only gift I’d ever received from a boy, and I politely thanked him.


When we returned home with our food and fresh  water, I placed the bottle on a shelf.

“What’s this?” Mother asked, immediately recognizing that there was a foreign object cluttering her kitchen.

“It’s a wandering crab,” Father replied, reaching into the bottle. For the first time, I noticed the tiny legs poking out from the shell. “They usually live closer to shore, but I’ve seen a few in my time. They find a discarded shell and make it their home, and when that one grows too small, they choose another, larger shell and move in.”

I held out my hand, fascinated. Father passed the crab to me and it scuttled across my palm, tickling my skin. “It carries its home on its back?”

“That’s right.” Father gently took the crab from me before it could plummet to the floor. “It has everything it needs, right here.”

I smiled, pleased with the idea of such an untethered, independent existence. “It can go anywhere it wants to.” I glanced around our little house, which already felt too small for my imagination, and sighed wistfully. “Lucky.”

“Nonsense.” Mother plucked the crab deftly from Father’s hand. Without ceremony, she f lung it over the balcony, where it immediately sank below the surface of the water.

She ignored my startled cry. “You have everything you need right here in Varenia. Do you think they’d actually accept you out there, with your…” She trailed off, gesturing vaguely to my cheek. “Now hurry up and help me. This food isn’t going to put itself away.”

For a moment I thought Father might protest, but he simply retreated to the boat. Zadie frowned sympathetically.

I watched the spot where the crab had disappeared, knowing it was probably well on its way to somewhere new. It was only a crab, yet already it had seen more of the world than I ever would. I wondered if that was why the young man had given it to me, more of a cruel joke than a gift.

“Lucky,” I whispered again, thinking not just of the crab but also the trader, his son, the ocean, and everything that had more freedom than a girl born in Varenia. Then I did as I was told.

Excerpted from Kingdom of Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford © 2020 by Mara Rutherford, used with permission by Inkyard Press. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wishlist Wednesday


*Wishlist Wednesday is where you show a book that has been on your wishlist/TBR list for a while*


THE RAVEN by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige

Publisher
HMH Books for Young Readers 
Release Date: November 3, 2020
Pages: 400

THE STORY:

From New York Times best-selling authors Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige comes a thrilling, dark contemporary fantasy about a prestigious sorority of witches and two girls caught up in its world of sinister magic and betrayals.
At first glance, the sisters of ultra-exclusive Kappa Rho Nu—the Ravens—seem like typical sorority girls. Ambitious, beautiful, and smart, they’re the most powerful girls on Westerly College’s Savannah, Georgia, campus.
But the Ravens aren’t just regular sorority girls. They’re witches.
Scarlett Winter has always known she’s a witch—and she’s determined to be the sorority’s president, just like her mother and sister before her. But if a painful secret from her past ever comes to light, she could lose absolutely everything . . .
Vivi Devereaux has no idea she’s a witch and she’s never lived in one place long enough to make a friend. So when she gets a coveted bid to pledge the Ravens, she vows to do whatever it takes to be part of the magical sisterhood. The only thing standing in her way is Scarlett, who doesn’t think Vivi is Ravens material.
But when a dark power rises on campus, the girls will have to put their rivalry aside to save their fellow sisters. Someone has discovered the Ravens’ secret. And that someone will do anything to see these witches burn . . .
BUY LINK: Amazon


MEET THE AUTHOR

Kass Morgan studied literature at Brown and Oxford, and now resides in Brooklyn, where she lives in constant fear of her Ikea bookcase collapsing and burying her under a mound of science fiction and Victorian novels. Kass is currently working on the sequel to The 100, which she’ll finish as soon as she finds a coffee shop that allows laptops on the weekend.

Danielle lives in NY. Before turning to YA, she worked in television & was nominated for several Daytime Emmy's. Dorothy Must Die is her first novel.


Want to see my entire Wishlist? Check it out on Amazon: Books I Dream About

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 5, 2020

New YA Releases : Week of October 5th


Here are some upcoming releases this week. Release dates sources: 
Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.










Are any of these on your Bookish Wishlist or Pre-Order cart? Which do you look most forward to?


Happy Reading!
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Review: The Betrothed by Kiera Cass


*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher
HarperTeen 

Release Date
May 5, 2020
Pages: 320
Source: ARC

THE STORY:

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller from the bestselling author of the Selection series! 
Kiera Cass is back with a glittering royal romance sure to captivate her legion of loyal readers and lovers of courtly intrigue alike.
A would-be queen. A handsome young king. A perfect match…or is it?
When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.
But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.
BUY LINKS: The Lit. Bar    |    Amazon

RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: REGAL

TAG LINE:


The king has chosen her. Her heart belongs to another.

OPENING LINE:

It was the time of year when the sunrise still had frost on it.


REVIEW:

I was a fan of Kiera Cass' THE SELECTION series, and SIREN was also really good. It has been a few years since she's released a book so I was excited for THE BETROTHED -- and the premise was so promising. Unfortunately, I didn't connect with the protagonist. In fact, she annoyed me to no end.
“As the doors opened to the Great Room, I blushed as everyone’s focus turned to us. My heart fluttered mercilessly, and I wondered if they could see it. They were looking upon their queen.”
The pacing of THE BETROTHED was suitable for the plot. Though the story did drag a bit. We got a lot of King Jameson and Lady Hollis and parties. But the real meat of the story, the dramatics and the secret subplot took a backburner until late in the 3rd Act. I wish the mysterious subplot was more prominent earlier in the story.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD . . .


Speaking of the love triangle, Silas, her freaking husband-- who she married only hours before-- just died. The man, Hollis gave up her whole entire life for him she gave up her best friend, the king, being queen for this man because she supposedly loved him.

“I cannot offer you a palace or a title, but I can offer you a home where you will be treasured for exactly who you are."

Silas just DIED but Hollis barely shed a tear for him. And there was like maybe one or two mentions of him after the fact that he died. Let alone her emotional state regarding his abrupt death -- there was none. Then the next day she visits his grave, says goodbye to him and just let him go. Just like that. 

"I told you, I want to give you everything I can. This is only the beginning." 
"You're going to have a spoiled wife," I warned him. 
"Good!" he called, walking cheerfully to greet the closest couple.

When I tell you how disrespected feel. I pray to the book gods above Lady Hollis redeems herself in the sequel.

All in all, while THE BETROTHED isn't perfect, I still enjoyed it.



CHARACTERS:

LADY HOLLIS: She was super basic. Pretty, worried only about parties, fancy dresses, and woeing the king. There is nothing wrong with those things, only that there was nothing more substantial about her character.

“The most valuable thing you can own is the assurance of your place in someone's heart.”

KING JAMESON: All that glitters ain't gold. He had such promise. At the beginning of the story, the king was likable and I thought the love triangle would be easier to hate. But suddenly, King Jameson did a 180 and that cleared it up really quickly for me.

“The event you have caught cold and were unable to venture out into nature today, I thought that nature ought to come to its queen.”

SILAS EASTOFFE: He is such a cinnamon roll. I wwwove him. And to be honest, he deserved more page time. I hope I get to see a lot more of him in THE BETROTHED sequel.
"I have to go with my family," he vowed. "We're stronger when we're together, and, though I'm sure I will ache for you until I die, I could never live myself if I abandoned them."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Kiera Cass graduated from Radford University with a degree in History. She grew up in South Carolina and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her family. In her spare time, Kiera enjoys reading, dancing, making videos, and eating unhealthy amounts of cake. You can learn more about Kiera at kieracass.com, follow her on twitter via @kieracass, and see her silly videos at YouTube.com/user/kieracass.



***Check out Kiera Cass' website for more information about her and THE BETROTHEDHERE

Happy Reading!


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