Book Review: Beyond A Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

32295486Beyond A Darkened Shore
Author: Jessica Leake
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Wow, wow, wow.

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Beyond A Darkened Shore was magnificent! Although I really liked the cover and was intrigued by the blurb, I didn’t think that I would become so engrossed in the story and characters. I’m so glad I was wrong with this one! Beyond A Darkened Shore follows Nordic and Celtic mythology as two characters from vastly different locations and cultures clash. I loved reading the historical elements that Leake weaved into the story, as well as the different gods and folklore that came up. The antagonistic romance was also a blast to read. 😀 There was an amazing, slow-burn development as Leif and Ciara went from enemies, to distrustful allies, to a couple that would dare to defy the gods for their love.

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Blog Tour: Drakon Unchained by NJ Walters Review + Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

Today I’m excited to be featuring a super fun fantasy romance that I recently enjoyed, plus a giveaway at the end. 😀 With that, let’s get started!

40801897Drakon Unchained
Author: NJ Walters
Series: Blood of the Drakon #5
Release Date: August 27, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Publishing: Amara
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Synopsis:

Victoria Marshall is living a lie. She works for a member of the Knights of the Dragon, a secret society that traps and uses dragons for their own gain. As a child, she made an unlikely friend—a drakon. He went missing, and she’s spent the past twenty years searching for him. The only thing distracting her from her mission is Luther Henderson, her boss’s new head of security.

Luther is also living a lie. One, if discovered, could lead to a fate worse than death. He’s attracted to Victoria, but can’t fully trust her, doesn’t know if she’s truly innocent or a true member of the Knights. It’s not only his life at stake, but those of the people he loves.

As they’re thrust deeper into the dangerous dealings of the Knights, they each have to share their secrets in order to survive.

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Series Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (In Prep for the Movie!!)

Image result for crazy rich asians

What a wild ride! Crazy Rich Asians was everything the blurb promised and more. There’s shockingly lavish descriptions, gossip that can go on for days, and ultimately excellent execution of the nuances of East/Southeast Asian culture. I was not disappointed by this series (I mean come on, I finished all three books in TWO DAYS the week before finals), and am even more excited to see the movie!! I’ll split this series review in three short parts for each three books, with no spoilers. And with that, a quote that made me laugh out loud because of how true it is:

“Why do we Chinese never learn? Every time we get mixed up with the West, everything falls apart.”

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Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean Review |I love anti-heroes in Romances!

35695972Wicked and the Wallflower
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #1
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

When Wicked Comes Calling…

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain…

Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion…

But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

And Sarah MacLean does it again! Wicked and the Wallflower was wholly intoxicating, as Felicity and Devil’s story grabbed me from the first chapter. I LOVE seeing a strong, seemingly-evil (he’s not, I promise) man get on his knees for the woman he loves. And got dang, Felicity is definitely a heroine I could relate to. This is certainly an amazing start to the Bareknuckle Bastards series, and I cannot wait to see where MacLean goes next with these characters!

Wicked and the Wallflower follows Devil, a Bareknuckle Bastard looking for revenge, and Lady Felicity, a spinster on the shelf that only wants to retrieve her previous position as the belle of the ball. A good way to get to this goal? Getting engaged to the new duke in town. Felicity makes a deal with – dare I say it – Devil (not THE devil) as he plans to ruin both her and the duke for his revenge scheme. Like all revenge schemes, however, this one goes wrong as Felicity discovers that the favor of society is not what she wants to fight for, and Devil sees that there are more important things than revenge.

“She wished to be wanted. Beyond reason. She wished to be ached for.”

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Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser Review: Magnificent Conclusion to A Quiet YA Duology!

34519536Whisper of the Tide
Author: Sarah Tolcser
Series: Book 2
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Caro Oresteia spent her life waiting to be called by the river god, as those in her family had been for generations. But when she’s swept away on an adventure to save the Akhaian royal prince, Markos, her destiny is sealed by the sea god instead.

For now, Caro is landlocked, helping Markos reclaim his throne after nearly his entire family was assassinated in a political coup. Without any financial or military support, Markos is desperate for allies, and Caro has fought off more than one attempt on his life. When a powerful Archon offers his army in exchange for Markos’s marriage to his daughter, Caro must choose: Her love for Markos, or the fate of Akhaia? And more importantly: How much is she willing to risk to defy the sea god’s wishes and chart her own course?

With shipwrecks, lost treasure, old and new enemies, dark magic, and breathtaking romance, Sarah Tolcser weaves another epic story about chasing your fate.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This is the sequel to Song of the Current, which you can find my review here. It may contain slight spoilers!

Whisper of the Tide was a stunning sequel! I came in with high expectations, and was honestly ready to give it a 3 star midway through the book, no joke. What changed my mind? I could say that the events that happened were pretty awesome, or the resolution was sooo satisfying and lovely, or how the stuff that had me side-eyeing were properly addressed. But I think plain and simple, Tolcser breathed life into Caro’s character and made her resilient, flawed, and just great in general. I adored her from start to finish, mistakes and all. And I hope fans of the book come into Whisper of the Tide with an open mind and heart to Caro’s flaws. Continue reading

ARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

34050917The Girl in the Tower
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy #2
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This is the sequel to the adult fantasy The Bear and the Nightingale, which you can find my review here! This review will contain slight spoilers.

Following the brilliance of The Bear and the Nightingale comes another tale of love and loss, fear and fortune, and the bravery of one witch-like girl who is ready to change all of Moscow. While I really enjoyed the first book, The Girl in the Tower had some moments where I was a bit frustrated by the characters’ impetuous actions. Nevertheless, the pacing is much more quick and action much more tight. I can’t wait for the last book for this trilogy and to see where Vasya’s story ends up!

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ARC Review: Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

35880579Out of the Blue
Author: Sophie Cameron
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

When otherworldly beings start falling from the sky, it seems like the end of days are near―but for one girl, it’s just the beginning of an adventure that will change her life.

Jaya’s life has completely fallen apart. Her mother is dead, her dad is on an obsessive wild goose chase, and mysterious winged beings are falling from the sky. For the past nine months, none of the them have survived the plummet to Earth, but when a female being lands near Jaya―and is still alive―she doesn’t call the authorities. She hides the being and tries to nurse her back to health.

Set against the backdrop of a society trying to come to grips with the possibility of a world beyond, Out of the Blue is the story of how one unexpected turn of events can put you on a path toward healing.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Out of the Blue is a pretty underrated dystopian-like, stand-alone novel! It follows the narrative of Jaya, a biracial girl who recently lost her mother and is dealing with the aftermath, as well as the sudden appearance of “Beings,” – or angels – that have started falling out of the sky. Although this book was on the short side, it was still a beautifully-written story about love and loss, trust and hope. The character relationships were wonderfully explored, although I wish there was a bit more, if only because we only get to see them for a short time. Nonetheless, I would recommend this story for YA contemporary readers who are here for tremendous character growth and loving relationships! Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

33163360Pashmina
Author: Nidhi Chanani
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: First Second
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions–the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This was the first graphic novel I’ve read in a loooong time. Pashmina was an absolute delight to read. The art was mesmerizing, and the story itself so empowering and touching.

Pashmina follows Priyanka Das, a teen Indian-American who has trouble coming to terms with the Indian side of heritage. When the opportunity arises for her to visit her aunt back in India, she snags on it. After all, this is the country where her mother was from but almost never talks about. What teen wouldn’t be curious about her heritage? With the help of a magical pashmina, a wool shawl from her mother’s briefcase, she finds out more about her culture, her family’s past, and her own person. The story was absolutely touching, as you can’t help but relate to Priyanka’s frustrations and doubts at first. She doesn’t believe in her art, her classmates pick on her, and her favorite uncle is having a baby who will no doubt replace her. But through her journey in India, she discovers the importance of family, freedom, and the truly important parts of life, wrapped in love and care. The small incorporation of Indian culture was awesome to see (those huge DOSAS! YUM!), and the authentic voice of this #ownvoices book will speak to a reader’s heart. Any first or second-generation teen searching for their own heritage and person needs to pick this book up. Continue reading