Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl From Everywhere

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: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

Author: Heidi Heilig

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: February 16th, 2016

Summary: Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.

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Everything about this book is drawing me in and I’m absolutely giddy with excitement to get my hands on it. To start with, there is no way that I could resist the idea of a ship that can sail anywhere, any time, even places that don’t actually exist; I’m already going crazy from all the possibilities. Think of all the places you could go, the people you could meet, the adventures you’d have! I really hope we get a bit of traveling throughout the book, instead of mostly just focusing on Honolulu because this idea is too great to not explore. And I just have this feeling in my gut that I’m going to really like Nix. A girl growing up surrounded by that much adventure has to be pretty cool, right? Then of course there’s Kash, the Persian thief that I just know I’m going to end up falling for. I’m more than content with being predictable as long as I can make googly eyes at every rakish scoundrel of a man I read about. My main question about this story right away is whether or not Nix’s father would actually essentially kill her to get her mother back… But I guess we will find out. The more I think about this book, the more I want it and chances are, I’m going to pre-order it the second I’m done with this post. No shame.

Review: A Vanishing Glow

Title: A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum Vol. I & II)  26631848

Author: Alexis Radcliffe

Publication Date: September 15th, 2015

Summary: It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.

Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?

Sweeping from the ancient cities at the heart of the nation to the dusty edges of the war-torn frontier, A Vanishing Glow tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and assassins, friends and lovers, who come together in a time of epic struggle. Here a brave officer risks everything to win back his estranged father’s respect; a brilliant young engineer attempts to atone for her sins; a war-weary commander tries to pick up the pieces of the life he lost; and a man touched by the gods struggles to prepare a nation for the coming of an ancient evil which only he can see. In the dying light of a once-prosperous society, amid twisting plots, suffering and betrayal, lost love and shattered dreams, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will taste the fruits of victory and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?

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I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Vanishing Glow was not a book that I had on my TBR list or had even heard of before, but when the author approached me to ask if I would read and review, and I read the synopis, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it. This book was an intriguing story of murder, secrets, steampunk and betrayal. At the beginning we are introduced to Jason, a noble travelling to meet his childhood friend and prince, and Nilya, a young girl with a knack for engineering who is trying to run from her past. Though they initally start out with no connection, their stories soon intertwine, providing a story with dual perspectives and cause and effect through two completely different people’s eyes.

To start with, I really have to gush over the huge cast of interesting and mysterious characters in this book. On Jason’s end, we have multiple shady politicians, idealistic Nole, a weary war veteran, assassins, reporters, a disapproving father and a mysterious man in a cloak who calls himself “Hood”. Then when we move over to Nilya we get introduced to her friend Verse, multiple other members of The Crimson Fist, an injured travelling companion, healing monks and a rejected husband-to-be. Although there is a huge cast, each character is well written and unique enough that you manage to keep them all straight, as they all have some role to play in the story, be it good or bad.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the world building, which was in my opinion, rather superbly done. The world itself was very dense, with loads of different noblity, armies and land, and while it’s hard to keep track of at first, you’ll get to the point where everything clicks. I loved how the steampunk elements were incorporated into the world and how believable I found them. And one of the main points of conflict in this story is the political struggle between all sorts of people, so we are getting multiple views on the world and how they think it should be changed, which I think contributed so much to the world building. A smaller part of the world that I enjoyed was how open they are about their sexuality, even if in the end, the rules enforced about “joining” or having mulitple partners are still unfair. I loved reading about Nilya, who likes women, and that it isn’t unacceptable that she has been with them. One of the bigggest benefits of having Jason and Nilya’s POVs is that we get to see how different actions or decisions effect nobles versus commoners, which I really enjoyed. The contrast between Jason, who is trying to fight for the good of all the people, and Nilya who is trying to save herself and find some sort of redemption along the way, I found to be a really great portrayal of the many battles people fight and how different things are worth fighting for to different people.

The plot, though slow at some times, keeps you engaged in so many different ways. We get a great blend of mental and political battles mixed in with violence and actual fights. There are several occassions throughout the book where the tension is so thick that I had to stop myself from biting my nails or covering my eyes. And although I found certain parts to be more predicitble, it balanced out well because some parts came out of no where and made me pause to collect my thoughts because it was the last thing I had been expecting. I enjoyed that lots of things constantly went wrong or got messed up, only for the characters to form a Plan B and keep moving forward.

There were only a few things I didn’t love about this book, hence the four start rating. First of all, Jason wasn’t my favorite character of all time, although I did find him very realistic. I struggled to understand some of his decisions and views on certain things and occassionaly found myself wanting to give him a good thump on the head. Also, a few parts with him were rather slow, and while I liked that it contributed to character growth or world building, I found it hard to get through.

Overall, this book was a huge and pleasant surprise and I’m very happy that the author approached me for a review. It was a great break from all of the YA I’ve been reading lately and I enjoyed the mature themes and complexity that A Vanishing Glow had in abundance. If you’re a fan of steampunk and plots full of death, deception, love and redemption, I would definitely recommend checking out this impressive debut novel.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Reign of Shadows

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: Reign of Shadows

Author: Sophie Jordan

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: February 9th, 2016

Summary: Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

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I’ve never read any of Sophie Jordan’s other books but I’ve consistently heard good things about them. This book in specific drew me in more than any of her other ones, mostly because I’m intrigued by the idea of a fantasy land takes shrouded in constant darkness. It sounds so spooky and mysterious, I love it. I also absolutely love the Rapunzel-esque premise with Luna being the lost princess stuck up in a tower. I hope that Luna is similar to Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, that sort of adorable sheltered girl with a heart of gold and a desire to see the world. I want her to have loads of spunk and bravery, but still cute and quirky. I have a feeling that Fowler is going to be a spy of some sort for the evil queen, and while I hope that it’s not actually that predictable, if it is, I still want it to be well done. I think this is going to be a really fun YA fantasy book with memorable characters and a swoon-worthy romance. Oh and did I mention that gorgeous cover? I might be suffering from a tiny case of cover lust too.

Review: Queen of Shadows (SPOILERS)

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) 18006496

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Summary: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, if not my most anticipated. The Throne of Glass series is one of my favorite series and one that I’ve amazingly never really had any sort of issue with, which is really saying something since I can be a huge nitpicker. When I got this book in the mail, I knew that it would be another successful read, an amazing continuation of this equally amazing series.

Queen of Shadows starts off with Aelin back in her city, scheming and planning against her old master, Arobynn, King of Assassins, to get back the Amulet of Orynth and the Wyrdkey inside of it. She finds out that the king has her cousin, Aedion, held prisoner and is planning on executing him on Dorian’s birthday. Oh, speaking of Dorian, he’s just withering away as the Valg prince takes over his mind and slowly destroys him. Oh and Chaol is leading part of the rebellion and decided to be a sulking, grumpy ball of misery. Things aren’t looking very good, to say the least.

One of the biggest things I heard about this book was that people decided to not continue the series and bad talk Sarah J. Maas for her decisions surrounding Chaol. I’m a huge Chaol and Aelin shipper so I was really disappointed to find that their reunion wasn’t all I had hoped and dreamed about. In fact, they basically went for each other’s throats, blaming each other for everything that had happened and destroying whatever relationship they had. After a while, it became apparent that they would never be rekindling their romantic relationship, and while I found that immensely disappointing, I also understood. I think that what a lot of people are missing is that Aelin and Chaol aren’t the people they were during ToG and CoM. They have gone through so many struggles and have had to change who they are to survive. Chaol was the man that Celaena needed when she was an assassin, but now she is Aelin, a queen and ruler, and she left that other girl behind. By the end of the book, Aelin and Chaol seem to be mending their friendship, but I think we can all agree that romance is out of the question, which I actually found myself supporting, simply because it wouldn’t make sense for the people they are now. I think everyone should give the book a chance and realize that even though things might not go the way we want them too, realistically, in series like this, changes are going to happen, and as long as they make sense and honor the characters, I’m fully support that.

While I’m on the subject of romance, I should probably address the fact that Rowan and Aelin are now romantically involved. To be completely honest, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this yet. A huge part of me feels like a traitor because I’ve always been completely on Team Chaol, but when I was reading this book, I found myself really supporting Rowan and Aelin together. Rowan is who and what Aelin needs and I adore their relationship. But the thing is, in HoF, I loved that they had such an intense connection without is being sexual or romantic, so I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that it’s become that now. It was refreshing to see such a beautiful relationship that went beyond friendship between a man and woman, while remaining platonic. I’m not surprised that they starting smooching it up, and I loved every second of it, but part of me will always miss what they had before. But my inner fangirl is crying over their devotion to each other and how stinkin’ adorable they are all the time.

As for the actual story in this book, it was full of so many twists and turns and intense parts that I could not put it down. I absolutely love reading books where the schemes feels so smart and there are a million layers to every plan, so kudos to Sarah J. Maas for managing to be so unpredictable and clever. I loved the revenge aspect with Arobynn and seeing their strange relationship in action, as well as the differences between Aelin and Celaena. There were so many different story lines going on, but each one was so vital and interesting, there was never a point that I was bored or uninterested. And that ending, HOLY MOTHER, I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening because my mind was so blown. I mean, I NEVER saw that coming.

Aelin was, as usual, absolutely amazing. The amount of growth she goes through in every book, as well as the obstacles she overcomes, continue to shape her into more of queen. The one thing that upset me about this book was how quickly she seemed to accept Dorian’s condition and how easy she made killing him seem. But Aelin will always be my number one bae. We also get more new characters in this book and my favorites had to be Lysandra and Nesryn. Those girls knew how to kick ass and take names, I mean, DAMN. And Manon, don’t even get me started on how much I love that witch, having her and Aelin fight each other was like a dream come true. Just watching Aelin’s court grow as she helped people and earned their loyalties literally had me tearing up at some points. I loved seeing how Rowan and Aedion never once judged her for any of her current and past actions, and their love and commitment to her was unwavering.

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for the next book in this series. Now that Aelin and her court are back in Terrasen and Dorian is king, and the war looming overhead, things are about to change for sure. I’m really excited for Chaol and Nesryn to go to the Southern Continent, and to see what Manon and her thirteen are going to do. Not to mention Elide working her way to Aelin with the Wyrdkey; I’m definitely going to cry when they are finally reunited. Okay, and am I the only one hardcore shipping Dorian and Manon together? Can we just all take a minute to enjoy the thought of Manon ruling beside Dorian? That poor boy wouldn’t know what to do. In all seriousness though, this was a solid fourth book in the series, exceeding my expectations and hurting my heart and soul so good.

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