Birthday Giveaway!

Hey everyone, my birthday’s coming up and I’ve decided to spread the book love! For this giveaway, two winners will receive a book of their choice from Book Depository, as long as it’s under $20. Please make sure that Book Depository ships to your country, if you win and it doesn’t, I’ll have to pick a new winner.

My birthday is on June 14th, so the giveaway will run from now until the 15th.

Thank you to everyone that’s participating and good luck! Feel free to message me with any questions.

Enter to win here: Rafflecopter giveaway

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Waiting on Wednesday: Trutchwitch

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

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21414439Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

Author: Susan Dennard

Publisher: Tor Teen

Publication Date: January 5th, 2016

Summary: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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Ever since Susan Dennard started writing The Starkillers Cycle with Sarah J. Maas, I’ve been crossing my fingers in hopes that she would write a new fantasy or sci-fi book soon and it looks like I got my wish. This book sounds absolutely awesome and like something I would have a great time with. It sounds a little bit like Graceling with people being born some sort of skill that gives them extra powers, but that seems to be where the similarities end. One of the things that sounds most appealing to me is that this book seems to heavily focus on the friendship between Safi and Iseult. Too many books today focus on romance or the friend that’s just there to make the main character look better, and I’m more than ready to read an amazing fantasy book about two girls that want to fight and travel together for freedom. I’m really excited and I hope that Susan Dennard delivers a story full of adventure, a well developed fantasy land, maybe a smidgen of swoon-worthy romance, and an unbreakable friendship between two women.

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) 18798983

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Summary: A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

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Going into this book, I knew absolutely nothing about A Thousand and One Nights, the story that this book is apparently based off of. To be honest, I think I remember watching a Scooby Doo episode called Arabian Nights, where Shaggy is disguised as a beautiful woman and tells the Caliph stories to postpone the wedding until Scooby can rescue him. That’s literally the only thing I knew about that story going into this book. So while I’ve heard some complaints about this book following the story too closely and not being original enough, I personally found it very interesting and not like anything I’ve really read before.

In this book, we get Shahrzad, a bold and brave young woman who volunteers to marry Khalid, the young Caliph who takes a new wife every day and kills her the next morning. No, Shazi doesn’t have a death wish, she just has a burning desire for revenge. With a plan to survive the night, she makes it her mission to find Khalid’s weaknesses and destroy him for killing her best friend and dozens of other young girls. Our heroine was one of the real shining points in this book. She was clever and witty, brave and daring, and a force to be reckoned with. I really respect a woman who holds her own in a time period mostly dominated by men, and does so in a way that feels natural. I loved her honesty and sharp tongue, and the way she constantly spoke her mind and stood up to people. Besides Shahrzad, Khalid really stood out in his own way and had a lot of depth and layers that I wasn’t expecting. The two of them were constantly bantering and challenging each other and I loved every second of it.

The romance in this book was definitely full of internal conflict and I loved that because there was real foundation behind Shazi and Khalid’s fears. Shazi comes to avenger her best friend, only to fall in love with the boy who killed her, along with countless other girls. He is, without a doubt, a murderer, and there’s no way to ignore that and possibly no way to ever forgive it. And for Khalid, Shazi is the only girl he has left alive, something he is very uncertain about and brings a whole new set of problems. I really felt sympathy for both of them because the situation seems hopeless. No matter how much Shazi might love him or suspect he had a reason for killing all the girls he did, it doesn’t change the fact that he still did it and part of her might always hate him for it.

The only reason that I didn’t give this book five stars was because I would have loved a bit more magic. In this world, magic seems to be rare, but possible. To be honest, I’m not one hundred percent sure because we don’t get to learn very much about it which was a bit of a disappointment. Magic obviously plays an important role in this story, yet is hardly ever directly addressed. The world as it is, is very interesting and beautiful but by incorporating magic, it was made just a little bit more exciting and mysterious. However, by not really bringing the magic into the world in an understandable way or even bothering to really explain the rules of it, it definitely feels lacking. One of my hopes for the next book is that the magic is really explored and developed more.

This was a beautifully written tale of sacrifice and revenge, of what it means to be a monster and what it takes to love one. This book felt so unique and refreshing compared to a lot of YA books I’ve read lately, with diverse characters, a gorgeous world, and a story that made me feel all the feels.

RATING: 

Review: Crimson Bound

Title: Crimson Bound 21570318

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publication Date: May 5th 2015

Summary: When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

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This fairy tale retelling craze shows no signs of stopping and I couldn’t be happier. So when I saw that this book was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, I almost started screaming out of excitement, mostly because it’s a fairy tale that I don’t often see getting any attention.

One of the main things that first drew me in, besides the gorgeous cover and Little Red Riding Hood influences, was the undoubtedly strong heroine. Rachelle was a very realistic character to me, in the way that she treated the whole situation she was in, knowing that she deserved the way she was treated but still hating everyone for it all the same. I found that despite her allowing herself to get mentally messed with and manipulated, she knew how to pick her battles and what things were worth fighting for. However, whenever you have a character who is very angst-ridden, it’s hard to keep it from feeling forced and overly dramatic, which was something I think was a bit of a problem. But I just enjoyed how refreshing to was to have a heroine that viewed herself and others in a very honest, if sometimes harsh sort of way. Besides that, I obviously loved that she was a tough lady and knew how to hold her own, serving up some cold hard butt kicking when needed.

As far as the story went, I found it interesting and engaging. In Crimson Bound, Rachelle is a bloodbound, gifted with certain abilities, and searching for a sword from ancient stories that can destroy the Devourer. She is forced to be a bodyguard to the King’s son Armand while continuing her quest to find a sword, with the deadline for the day the Devourer will return and bring about Endless Night looming over her head. One of my favorite parts of this book was actually the ancient story of the first time the Devourer was defeated by siblings, Zisa and Tyr. I loved the style in which the story was told and the dark undertones. I found it to be really haunting and expertly woven into the actual story. My main problem though was that this book really had a lot going on. The world was so interesting and so many elements and characters were woven in, making it really feel crammed and overwhelming at times. I almost wished the author had cut out some of the less interesting thing and focused on giving more information and time with the more intriguing aspects.

The romance wasn’t an overwhelming part of the story, which I really appreciated, and I found that I did really like this “love triangle”. I’m love triangle in quotation marks because it’s not really a traditional sort of love triangle. Rachelle’s relationships are two very different things with two very different men, but they are both meaningful to her and kind of represent different parts of herself. I found that very refreshing, especially the honest way that she looks at both of them and their relationships.

Crimson Bound was a really refreshing and interesting story, full of unique characters and a creative world and mythology. I was very disappointed to not really notice much that tied in with the story of Little Red Riding Hood, something I was excited to see influencing and directing this book. Despite that, I did really enjoy this story and found the writing really engaging and I was definitely pulled into this world. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to fairy tale retelling lovers specifically, I would recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy and strong heroines.

RATING: 

Waiting on Wednesday: Six of Crows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

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Title: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)    22294935

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Release Date: September 29th, 2015

Summary: Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven in this brand-book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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For any of you that have read The Grisha series, you know that Leigh Bardugo can seriously deliver an interesting world full of complex characters and a plot to keep you on your toes. So if that wasn’t enough, this book also like something I would absolutely adore; a heist being pulled off by a group of misfits. How could that possibly get any better? Oh wait, how about we put it in the same world as The Grisha series and include a bunch of other awesome stuff, like revenge, spies, horrible boys (or maybe just one in particular), and no doubt tons of witty banter between this cast of characters. If you still aren’t sold, just scroll up a little more and take a good long look at that cover again. That’s what I thought.

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) 16096824

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Summary: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I knew Sarah J. Maas was going to deliver an amazing story. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a huge ridiculous fangirl when it comes to her work, whether it’s the Throne of Glass series or The Starkillers Cycle she’s working on with Susan Dennard, I adore anything that comes out of her genius mind. This book was no exception.

The main thing I adored about this book was the cast of characters. We have Feyre, our main character, who is stubborn and full of bitterness and hate, and genuinely a good person on the inside, even if she doesn’t see it. She goes through so much growth over the course of this book, learning to find happiness for herself and to love, despite her hard life. Then we have Tamlin, the fae who kidnaps Feyre, but isn’t all that he seems. Living in the shadow of his father and facing a responsibility he doesn’t want, Tamlin lives a lonely and cursed life… Until he brings Feyre into it. Living on Tamlin’s estate, we also have his friend Lucien, another fae with a missing eye and enough snark to make up for it. And later in the book we run into Rhys, a dark and mysterious fae with an unknown agenda and a ridiculous amount of sex appeal. I wouldn’t mind having one of him all to myself, just saying. All of these characters interact in such realistic and honest ways, forming friendships and bonds and you genuinely become invested in them.

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s one of the most original and creative ones I’ve read so far and I really have to applaud Sarah J. Maas for that. She took just enough of the elements of Beauty and the Beast and incorporated it into the story to make it familiar and lovable for being so, but subtle enough that the rest of the story shines through. The story itself was beautiful and so heart wrenching, full of interesting fantasy elements, an evil curse, and an amazing romance. And can I just talk about this romance for a second? Because damn, I was feeling the feels. Usually it’s hard for me to go so investing in a romance in just one book and really feel the characters and their connection, but I had absolutely no problem with that. I felt like I truly knew Tamlin and Feyre and could feel when their feelings started to develop into something more. It was deliciously steamy but at the same time, so sweet and romantic that it made my heart ache.

Reading this book was overwhelming because it makes you feel so many different things, and it makes you feel them so strongly, you want to scream. In the first part of the book, you just want to know everything about all of the characters you can, becoming emotionally involved with them and their struggles. Then the romance sweeps in and you want more than anything for them to just admit their feelings and find time for their own personal happiness. At this point, as the characters grow and learn to accept each other and themselves, Sarah J. Maas swoops in and sends everything crashing down and fills your world with hurt. Now we have the quest and the mystery driving the story, and that all-consuming need to reach the end, just to know that everything will be okay. You hate the evil villain with all your heart that isn’t already consumed with love for Feyre and Tamlin and Lucien and Rhys, and you want to know the solution and the end, but at the same time, you’re so afraid to read because death and heartbreak could be lurking just around the corner. This book was an emotional roller coaster and all you can do is hold on for dear life and enjoy every second of it.

Without a doubt, this book was the best one I’ve read so far this year. It’s a tale of romance and breaking curses, of freeing yourself and finding the happiness you deserve. And maybe of dirty poems, drunk dancing, neck bites, giant flesh eating worms, and smoldering manliness in three scrumptious forms, AKA Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhys. Just trust me on this one and read this beautiful book, then come talk to me about it so we can squeal and cry and fangirl until our hearts explode.

RATING: 

Review: Ruby Red

Title: Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1) 8835379

Author: Kerstin Gier

Publisher: Henry Holt

Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Summary:

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

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This book is one that I’m constantly hearing tons of hype about and I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it for a long time. The cover is gorgeous, the story line sounds intriguing, and to be honest, this book was a complete letdown.

Ruby Red started off really great, with an interesting concept of time travel and a seemingly likable heroine. I loved that the whole family knew what was going on and the time travel thing wasn’t actually a secret; I found that to be really refreshing. However, that all disappeared in a poof of broken dreams when Gwyneth started making stupid decision after stupid decision. She randomly jumps back in time a few times, both times scared and put in dangerous situations and just decides to not tell anyone because she’s scared they are going to think she wants attention. Uh, okay? You clearly aren’t the biggest idiot ever.

On top of Gwyneth making stupid decision after stupid decision, she was honestly just a rather unlikable heroine. She never made a single smart decision and was weirdly comfortable with just not telling anyone anything. She doesn’t tell people when she sees ghosts or anything, instead being perfectly content to just let them think she is crazy and wonder who she is talking to, instead of easily being able to prove to them that she isn’t crazy. I just didn’t understand any of her reasoning behind making those sorts of choices.

Another problem I had with this book is the writing that constantly feels awkward and choppy. I’m not sure if that’s because of the translation or intentionally the authors writing style, but either way, I really have a problem with it. I found it difficult to read and hard to get into with the occasional little things that just threw me off or made me pause for a second.

All of these things could have been bearable, if it wasn’t for the ridiculous romance. After literally knowing Gideon for a grand total of one day, suddenly he is “her type” and she is swooning over him, despite the fact that that one day was spent with him being a total jerk to her. This might be one of the worst cases of insta-love I’ve ever had the misfortune of encountering. We learn absolutely nothing about Gideon so apparently a brooding, insulting, controlling douche is exactly the sort of guy Gwyneth is looking for because she wastes no time falling madly in love with him. And he of course, is totally enchanted by her despite his feelings for another because she’s so different from every other girl. Excuse me while I go gag.

The thing that I did actually enjoy about this book was the whole time travel aspect. I thought it was a creative idea to have all of these people connected through time and blood, and I also liked the idea that they have a way to control when they travel too. I also liked the laws of time travel, how when you jump back though time, you are in the same exact spot you were in before so you need to be careful about where you are when you jump back and forth.

I wanted to love this book, I truly did. But to be honest, I’m just so confused as to why this book gets so much hype. I didn’t find the characters well written or likable, the plot was predictable and the romance beyond cliche and unrealistic. I tried so hard to get into it and see what everyone else was seeing, but I guess I missed it.

RATING: