Blog Tour: Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare Moodboard

Hello everyone!

I’m excited to be featuring a moodboard for the historical fantasy, Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare – coming out February 20, 2018 (this week!!) from Imprint. It’s a fun adventure taking place in 19th century Italy and a bit reminiscent of the atmosphere of steampunk books. There are talented characters who are involved in alchemy, scriptology (ooh), and engineering, alternate-history inventions, and a grand mystery. You can check out my review for it over here at Happy Indulgence!

Ink, Iron, and Glass
Author: Gwendolyn Clare
Series: Ink, Iron, and Glass #1
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Can she write a world gone wrong?
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation, where her mother―a noted scriptologist―constantly alters and expands their reality.
But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of young scientists with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

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Be On The Lookout! | Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

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Be On the Lookout! is a feature highlighting magnificent books that I’m trying to convince people to preorder, add to their TBR, or just be on the lookout for. It’s mainly a way for me to fangirl about the merits of a book outside a review, and hopefully make more readers aware of books that are not to be missed!

I’m really happy to be here for a shout out of an awesome #OwnVoices book for Korean representation: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh! It’s action-packed from beginning to end, with amazing characters that you’ll just grow to love and awesome robots that are both daunting as they are amazing. I literally can’t shout enough of my love for this book to the sky! Pacific Rim + Kdramas = Rebel Soul, which comes out September 15, 2017.

BONUS: If you preorder the book, you get a postcard (with REALLY REALLY COOL art of the characters) and get entered in a giveaway for character-themed packages! Trust me, these packages are super cool. Face masks, Gundam suits (omg), and all sorts of awesome tidbits that the author got from Korea.

Find the details on the Axie’s website here!

34931621After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.

 

Rebel Seoul BOTL

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Book Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

27015399A Promise of Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thanks so much Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the review copy!

I can certainly promise you that A Promise of Fire delivers both a magnificent fantasy that’s filled with fire and other elements, as well as a scorching romance. Bouchet’s writing is equally hilarious and captivating, from the magnetic characters to the intriguing world that she builds in this book. Either way, I’m highly looking forward to the rest of this trilogy, and see what other adventures lay in store for these wonderful characters!

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Victoria Aveyard – Red Queen

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The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

I began the book with no expectations, but as the story progressed, I found myself disliking it more and more.

Let’s start with our main character, Mare. I still cannot get over her name.
Mare /noun/ – the female of a horse or other equine animal.
Every time someone said her name, or a love interest breathed it, all I could think of was a blushing girl horse. Sorry Mare. (hehe)

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Mare is a Red in a society where Silvers dominate over Reds. (Sound familiar? Considering Red Rising had the similar premise of Reds living under the thumbs of the Golds.) While Silvers have cool powers like telepathy, water-bending, and telekinesis (as well as silver blood), Reds have plain ol’ red blood and no powers. They’re the servants, workers, and laborers of the society while Silvers are the elites, nobles, and royalty.

When you have this kind of oppression, there’s always the scent of revolution, eh? That’s exactly what happens – Reds banding together to go against the elitist Silvers.

“‘We are the Scarlet Guard and we stand for the freedom and equality of all man…”

All this stuff was pretty interesting! But then we get to the drama the main character gets into. In the blurb, it explains that Mare (neigh) gets a job at the Silver Palace. Her connections come from a one-chance meeting with the… DUN DUN DUN!! Crown prince of the land – Cal. How surprising.

Mare attends the Queenstrial as a servant, where different Silver females compete in a “pageant” to become the bride of the crown prince. Through a bunch of unlikely events, she ends up showing her really cool powers in front of all the Silvers participating and watching. But hold up a minute – Reds aren’t supposed to have powers? Now the royal family gets involved to cover the mess. And this is where I sigh deeply.

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To save face, the king orders Mare to pretend to be the long-lost daughter of a Silver war hero who grew up like a Red as a means of propaganda. She is also betrothed to the second prince (half-brother of Cal), Maven. I was barfing so hard when the queen was talking about how speciiiaaaaaal Mare was.

“‘You are a miracle, Mare Barrow, an impossibility.'”

What is it with main characters always having a bitchy rival in books?? Why can’t we all be friends? Case point: a supporting character named Evangeline who is betrothed to one of the love interests, Cal.

“A smile ghosts over her face when her eyes fall on me. I don’t miss the feral flash of teeth.” 

Why are their teeth always feral? Other than being a bitch, Evangeline and the other Silver nobles had no depth. Considering the fact that Mare and Evangeline were “rivals” throughout the book, I would’ve liked a little bit more details to know about Evangeline other than being aggressive, bitchy, and violent.

This drama goes on forever. And ever. It was halfway through the book and she’s still talking about liking one brother over the other and how to act like a Silver because “ohhh a Silver would never say sorry.”

It wasn’t until the latter half that things took a turn to an awesome fantastic amazing level. 

When Mare joins the Scarlet Guard? Ohhh, everything gets intense from there on. New loyalties are made while betrayals appear left and right – whether planned or not. From this point, the readers get to understand the two love interests better. Cal – the devoted, soldier who has grown to put a mask on – is pitted against Maven – who is always second, always thought after his older brother, always in the shadow – in not only romance but the political tension happening in the palace. 

Speaking of romance – what romance? More like deceptionbetrayal, and manipulation. While the beginning of the book had a good start to a cheesy, lame romance that would dominate over the revolution plot, the end of the book really makes you think about each character’s motive and how they used other people’s emotions to control them.

“Anyone can betray anyone.”

This is a great quote in terms of the situations in the book, but something that bothered me was how Mare always said it after she thought about betraying someone or gets betrayed. It got so annoying. She said this exact quote seven times in the book! After the third time, I was ready to throw something. We. Get. It. No need to remind us every single freaking time you think about the “b” word.

In the end, Mare’s character develops considerably, especially after she joins the Scarlet Guard. Even though I disliked her at first for being so “spechialll,” she is not a Mary Sue. She fails when she tries things, and more than once. She does not magically learn how to use her powers and magically becomes an expert at it. Sometimes Mare does not know what is wrong, and what is right. Throughout the book, she starts to realize more about Silvers and their apathy towards life, as well as their true fear for a rebel organization that could threaten their existence.

While the beginning of the book set it up for a romance story set during a revolution that would have faded into the background, the second half turned a total 180 and set readers up for a rebellion that would completely change the society. The characters are not nice. By characters, I’m not even talking about the air/hot-headed Evangeline and Silver nobles. They lie. They betray each other. They keep secrets. They manipulate. Everyone is looking out for their own interests, based upon their situation. In the end, it all boils down to what they think is right, until they’re pitted with the question – what really is the right thing to do?

God I was so conflicted when I finished the book. I wanted to hug someone and cry at the second half. The first half made me cringe and cry too, but for a totally different reason. In the end, I’ve decided that I would rather have a book I dislike in the first half and like in the second than the other way around. Because right now, I’m totally up for the second book. Hit me up!

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Rating: 4/5
(I wasn’t going to give this… but the second half was just too enjoyable to rate so low.)

Rachel Caine – Prince of Shadows

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A thrilling retelling of the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.


In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and—if they survive—marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona—and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona…

…And will rewrite all their fates, forever.

I’ve never read a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and I think this was really well done!

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This is from Benvolio’s POV, where he’s the Prince of Shadows and kinda like a Robin Hood for Verona. I’ll admit, this part of his character wasn’t that interesting, although that may have been because it wasn’t touched upon much. The story keeps up with the events of Romeo and Juliet really well and there’s a REALLY COOL TWIST (well, i thought it was cool) that has some supernatural elements to it that was kinda random but fit the story well so all is good.

Like in the play, the story starts out with Romeo complaining about Rosaline and Benvolio telling him to forget about her while Benvolio himself develops an infatuation with her when he retrieves Romeo’s letters.

Now in the play we don’t see Rosaline’s character, and all we know is that she rejected Romeo’s suits and that she’s Juliet’s cousin, but in the book she’s really sensible, rational, and overall a cool character.

We get to see Romeo and Juliet’s romance, albeit bits of it. For example, at the masquerade party, Benvolio sees the couple together but THEY’RE NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS so they don’t get touched on much. Yay.

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Seriously though, they really pissed me off in the play. Lol anyway, Mercutio (my all time fave character) made me so heartbroken in this retelling! He was probably the most changed in the story from the original. In the beginning he was his jocular self, but after a certain (kinda BIG) event happens everything spirals from there. He gets all dark and brooding and yeah, he was always emotional and volatile even in the play, but he gets REALLY moody after that event. It was so sad, my bae.

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But it was SO GOOD too because it contributed to the plot! And in a really awesome way! I loved how everything fit together!! There was a reason Romeo and Juliet fell in love so quickly, and urghkdja;l;fjks I just thought it went along with the original play so well (until it didn’t, but that was in a good way).

Alright so there was a part toward the end where the main couple (that’s Benvolio and Rosaline. While I admit it’s mostly infatuation, there’s something else at work there and it really explains the insta-attraction well imo but can be a little confusing too) are trying to save themselves that was like “Wot” but it worked out in the end.

Ah the ending was so cute even though Romeo and Juliet died still haha.

Recommended for people who like Shakespeare fanfiction (The author didn’t butcher anything really bad tbh) and maybe people who like Historical Fiction? The thing is, there isn’t much about the book other than it being a cool retelling with twists, so if you’re not that into retellings or if you’re looking for an original book maybe you should look away.

Rating: 5