Blog Tour | Black Wings Beating by Alex London Fan Art!

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Hello everyone!

I’m excited to be one of the blog tour stops to celebrate the release of Black Wings Beating by Alex London, which came out yesterday. Woohoo!

This was a super unique, soaring fantasy that I think many readers will be drawn to. It features a m/m romance (that’s #ownvoices), twins who have an ever-evolving relationship, hidden political schemes, plenty of action, and the graceful flight of birds of prey that you really grow to appreciate while reading the story. I really urge Young Adult fantasy lovers to pick this book up from your local bookstore or library!

36949994Black Wings Beating
Author: Alex London
Series: Skybound #1
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists. Brysen strives to be a great falconer–while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

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ARC Review: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

30339493Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”
“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Isle of Blood and Stone comes off to me as one of those quieter YA fantasies that are hidden gems. It’s not fast-paced, nor does it have tons of thrilling action. But the characterizations fuel the story as we follow on an 18-year old mystery that needs to be solved. Despite the sedate pace, I enjoyed the emphasis in the story on maps and following the political intrigue within St. John del Mar. There’s a marked focus on character relationships and heading into danger, as well as fantastical elements that add flavor to the story. I’d recommend Isle of Blood and Stone to fantasy readers who don’t mind less action in favor of characterization and solving mysteries. It’s for sure a deviation from the princes and princesses route that YA fantasies like to take. Continue reading

SST: Blood and Sand by CV Wyk Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

If you haven’t heard of Blood and Sand and you’re a fan of fantasies with fierce warriors and cunning women, where have you been? We’re traveling back to the Roman Republic, during an age of “to conquer or be conquered” and exploring the story of Spartacus, the famous gladiator… if they were a girl. There is ACTION, there is a super sweet and steamy ROMANCE, and there’s the HOPE of the people, ready to rebel against their captors.

30975382Blood and Sand
Author: C.V. Wyk
Series: Book 1
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Target

Synopsis:

The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic–and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus….

Roma Victor. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to build an empire–an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end–and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus….

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Blood and Sand just blew me away from start to finish. I loved following Attia’s journey as she headed towards revenge against the Roman Republic – quickly becoming an empire – for destroying her clan and leaving her princess of a nation swallowed by the growing Roman nation. This book loosely follows the story of Spartacus and focuses on the gladiators and fighters who are willing to challenge an empire that took them from their homeland. Following a historical bent like And I Darken by Kiersten White and female warriors that are ready to fight for justice like The Valiant by Lesley Livington, Blood and Sand blends fact and fiction to create an immersive, fast-paced adventure that will leave readers’ hearts pounding and blood rushing. Continue reading

ARC Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #3)

33607186Heart on Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #3
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin’s role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step–reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.What doesn’t kill her will only make her stronger…we hope.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This review will contain slight spoilers for the book series. My review of the first book, A Promise of Fire, can be found here and my review of the second book, Breath of Fire, can be found here!

Also: This series contains mature scenes in both sexy times and graphic violence. Please be aware before reading!

Passion, empathy, love, and growth: four words that this book is comprised of. There is passion in the actions of the characters, stimulated by the love of their family or romantic counterparts. empathy in the feelings they feel regarding one another, and tremendous character growth as each takes the time to learn lessons that would help them grow stronger both physically and mentally. Heart on Fire was a romantic, fun ending to the Kingmakers’ Chronicles (although I do believe, and am excited, for extra stories featuring the side characters). Cat and Griffin’s love story is written in a dramatic conclusion that is full of action and twists. Continue reading

Book Review: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey (The Girl at Midnight #2)

27245910The Shadow Hour
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight #2
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A battle has been won. But the war has only just begun.

Everything in Echo’s life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.

The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.

Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she’s already overcome.

She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.

Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature—or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what’s left of her world to the ground?

Welcome to the shadow hour.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This is the sequel to The Girl at Midnight, and will contain spoilers for the series. You can find my review of the first book here.

I admit, I pretty much almost completely forgot what happened in The Girl at Midnight before starting this book. All I remembered were “bird-people” and “dragon-people” and “war.” That wasn’t wrong though! Fortunately enough, Grey does a good job at recapping what’s happened in the first book and I wasn’t too lost at all while starting the story. While I really enjoyed the action and adventure going on in this story, all the fighting and fun dialogue was a bit dimmed down by the dragging romances that I didn’t really enjoy. Overall though, there is never a boring spot in The Shadow Hour and remains a solid sequel for its predecessor, bringing readers ever closer to the oncoming battle that will happen. Continue reading

ARC Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

31450960Song of the Current
Author: Sarah Tolcser
Series: Book 1
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

While I started The Song of the Current a while back, I put it down because the beginning didn’t draw me in. I didn’t pick it up again after thinking about starting a fantasy that takes place in the sea (or river, in this case). With an immersive fantasy world, action-packed plot that delivers adventure, and a sassy pirate I mean, privateer with precious cargo, this book did not disappoint! Especially after Caro’s defiant nature opens the precious cargo she was charged to deliver. After that event, the plot really gets rolling.

“The god at the bottom of the river speaks to wherrymen in the language of small things. And to the Oresteia family, always. Every one of them, going back to our blockade-running days.
Except me.”

Continue reading

Book Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #2)

29939390Windwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #2
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This is the sequel to Truthwitch, which you can find my review here. This review will have minor spoilers for the series.

I came into Windwitch with big expectations after loving Truthwitch and was disappointed by all fronts. I never got to see the wonderful friendship and connection of Iseult and Safi. The romantic tensions were pretty much not there at all between any of the ships (in fact, I’m hesitant to even call them ships at this point). Some of the characters were just extremely frustrating to read from, and the alternating third person limited POV’s between five people just bogged down the story. Let’s just say that for a fantasy with an expansive world and lots of traveling between characters, I just really couldn’t get into Windwitch.

I’ll break this review into the different POV’s that are happening, saving Merik for last because obviously, this book was mostly about him. Continue reading

ARC Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Series: First book
Release Date: February 28, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Are you ready to go on an adventure with the daughter of the pirate king? She may be a looker, but she’s also highly skilled in combat and manipulation. She can be crass yet has class. She’s ready to do whatever she needs to do to get what she wants. And best of all, we’re reading from her first person narration in this quick and spicy read. Daughter of the Pirate King is extremely fun, has cool twists, and a scorching romance featuring pirates that have no mercy. I absolutely adored reading from Alosa’s point of view. She was a super refreshing character who has an armor of steel and yet is vulnerable in some places. It only takes a cunning pirate to poke at those spots.

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ARC Review: Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)

coverBreath of Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #2
Release Date: January 7, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a girl to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or not at all.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Disclaimer: Review may contain slight spoilers from the first book Promise of Fire; you can find my review here.

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the review copy!

When I first got this book, I PRETTY MUCH SCREAMED IN EXCITEMENT – *ahem* hold up. I was actually in the middle of English class when I got the email, so I kind of bounced-squealed in my chair and had my friends worrying over my behavior. TOTALLY WORTH IT though, as I started immediately when I was free and finished it in one night. Breath of Fire picks up pretty immediately after the second book ends, and finished with the same non-cliffhanger-but-still-keeps-you-grasping-for-pages that the first book subjected us to. I loved coming back to this world, these characters, and the fantastic action and plans that the plot has in store for us.

Continue reading

Ryan Graudin – The Walled City

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730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

The book starts with a countdown to New Year’s, where something big happens in the ungoverned Walled City of Hong Kong (which is called Kowloon Walled City, and you can actually visit it).
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The Walled City is home to prostitutes, murderers, thieves, gangs, and all sorts of unruly and unrepentant criminals. It is not a nice place to live or go to, and only the desperate are seen there. They certainly aren’t there of their own free will.
I think the biggest problem with the book for me was that it kept me involved, but I never got active in reading it. I found myself checking the bottom of my ereader to see if I was close to the end quite frequently. It’s one of the books that I could easily lose interest in if I didn’t have so much free time; where if I stopped reading it for a while it would’ve been hard to get back into it. The premise is certainly interesting enough, but I guess the weight of the words didn’t carry enough for me.
The book goes in alternating point of views from Dai, Jin, and Mei Yee.

Dai
The first words from Dai’s POV is “I’m not a good person.” Sounds killer, right? I was expecting some ruthless cutthroat vagrant, not some rich kid trying to save his ass from something dumb he did two years ago. I dunno man, I guess I was expecting a more hardened guy roaming around the streets of the Walled City. Honestly the best thing he did in the book was bring the other characters together and use his money. Sure, he’s all guilty because of what happened with his brother (part of his “haunting past” in the blurb) but in comparison to the other fugitives in the Walled City, his story is a first world problem.
world's smallest violin
Jin
She was my favorite character out of the three characters narrating the story. This girl has got more balls than Dai man! She chases after her sister after their father sells her to a brothel. (Imo much more moving than Dai’s situation.) Most of the action was from her side of the story. She starts off the book in a chase against Kuen, a vagrant whom she just stole boots from. This causes Dai to notice her, and from that point on they team together against the baddie in the story: Longwai, the leader of the Brotherhood of the Red Dragon, who basically owns the Walled City

Mei Yee
Alright so Mei Yee is super pretty and gets sold by her father to a brothel where she’s bought off by some rich ambassador, Osamu.
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I think we’re supposed to feel bad for her because she’s trapped inside the walls of the brothel but I’m pretty sure she had it way better than her sister for the past two years. Bro while she was languishing in the rooms of the prositute house (fed and protected), her sister was in the streets trying to survive. Like I know they’re both bad situations, but someone obviously got the better part of the deal. So yeah I couldn’t really pity her, I honestly didn’t care for her character at all, and I really didn’t care when Dai stared at her and she was gaga over him like you would expect less naivety from a two year standing prostitute. Maybe that’s just me?
don't care
So basically all three characters go against Longwai who as a villain didn’t come off as a character. I would’ve liked to see more depth to him (and the rest of the characters as well). I was kinda surprised that the worst things he did were being a pimp and a drug dealer. I mean, I guess I just expected a little more. Typical underworld villain, I would say. He didn’t even kill anyone in the book! (Which was a little disappointing) I really like it when the antagonists have more contribution to the plot than being a second hand party to the bad stuff that happened to the main characters. Out of everyone in the book, I felt bad for Longwai. I mean think of the story you could’ve made with him rising to the top of the Walled City! Instead he was just someone that the three main characters mutually disliked.

Anyway I think Jin’s chapters were the best to read because it had the most action (and I liked to read about her trying to survive). It stands to fact that I never really connected emotionally to any of the characters. When something happened, I just… didn’t care. (Except for the fact that we were heading close to the end of the book.)
So yes, not a bad book (and I loved the concept!) but it’s not something that I would remember for a while.

Rating: 3/5