The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green- Blog Tour Review

thesmokethievesThe Smoke Thieves
By: Sally Green
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Viking

My Rating:
star

Summary:
A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

My Thoughts:
I have been so excited about Sally Green’s newest book, The Smoke Thieves. That summary! The cover! I just knew I had to read it as soon as I could. I am so excited to be part of the blog tour and share my thoughts about this book with you.

This book was written with multiple point of views which really helped to get a great look at the cast of characters. We follow several characters on their journeys- I believe my favorite was Princess Catherine. I enjoyed seeing the world from her view. Her father was overbearing and thought very little of her. She was a pawn for him to use to strengthen his own reign. It was hard reading about how she was treated by him and even her brother. Her one bright spot was her relationship with her hand maids and Ambrose, her body guard. Like her, I clung to these little moments she could find of happiness. As the story progressed she really grew and found her voice. I am so excited to see where her character goes in the next book.

Tash was such a fun character- she was essentially demon bait. She helped lure demons into a trap where they are killed and their essence was captured. When they die they release a smoke that if captured and then inhaled by humans has drug-like effects. Her scenes had a lot of action and she was very mature for her age. I got the impression she was very young but her rough life had her dealing with far more than her age  group should be dealing with. Her dialog with her boss as well as her scenes were some of the most fun in the book- though I did feel that she was a tad less developed as some of the others. I’m hoping we get a lot more from her in the next book.

March was a hard one for me to really connect to. He was out for revenge after his people were virtually wiped out. I felt that his people as well as himself were a bit less delved into. I want to know much much more. I did like seeing him have to grapple with his feelings versus the goals he had set for himself.

With comparisons to Game of Thrones you will  expect a sweeping fantasy with a lot of characters, lands and motives. Don’t expect the level of violence you’d find in Game of Thrones but there was a lot going on and I imagine as the series continues the stakes will be raised and there will be a lot more political intrigue.

Final Thoughts:
The Smoke Thieves will give fantasy readers characters they will love and a world they’ll want to know more about. I loved that Green added demons into the mix- not often do we get them in books. I hope eventually we’ll learn more about why the demons are around and if they have thoughts, feelings and plans.

Blog Tour Review for Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

ashprincessAsh Princess
By: Laura Sebastian
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary:
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she’s not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser’s warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who’s been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart’s sister, Cress.

Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she’s willing to sacrifice to become queen.

My Thoughts:
There are some books that just resonate so well with me and this is one of them. From the start Ash Princess hit me just right. I loved the world, characters and writing. I especially loved how dark this book was. I didn’t expect such an emotional read with beautifully executed scenes that are just so raw and really moved me.

I can’t imagine what Theo has had to go through- her country was invaded and she had to witness her family murdered. Then she was kept captive and forced to live among her enemies. Every time the Kaiser had reason to be angry with her people he publicly raged at Theo. She was forced to bear the brunt of his anger and also be his public demonstration of hate for her people. Every major gathering she was forced to wear a crown made of ashes. These scenes were so, so vivid and just wow. So powerful. I can’t imagine how angry and lonely she would be. I loved this aspect because instead of crumbling she had a spark of hope and fight within her. I loved watching that spark grow and seeing her form relationships even with those she should hate.

I felt all the characters were beautifully complex. The relationships were my favorite aspect. Since Theo has been raised with her enemies she can’t help but have made friends with the daughter of one of her captors. It is such a complex situation Theo finds herself in. I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do in her situation.

Be aware- since Theo lives with her family’s murders there are some brutal whippings and she withstands a lot of abuse at the hand of the Kaiser. It isn’t pleasant to read but I felt it was done very well. This book deals with a lot of heavy themes but I didn’t have trouble reading it and in fact I felt it was a very compulsive read and I couldn’t’ stop reading. I had to know what would happen next.

Final Thoughts:
I loved Ash Princess and I am desperate to read more of Theo’s story. I was so impressed with Sebastian’s writing and the inner struggles of her characters. This book wasn’t a happy read but it was beautifully done and very emotional.

 

Blog Tour Review- I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

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CoverI Have Lost My Way
By: Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Publisher: PenguinTeen

Summary:
A powerful display of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay.

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven’t been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they’re supposed to be.

Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, Gayle Forman’s newest novel about the power of friendship and being true to who you are is filled with the elegant prose that her fans have come to know and love.

Gayle FormanAbout the Author:
Gayle Forman is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author and journalist. She is the author of If I StayWhere She WentJust One DayJust One YearI Was Here, and Leave Me. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughters.

My Thoughts:
This was my first Gayle Forman book to read! Shocking I Know. I’m not sure how I’ve gone so long without reading her work. I Have Lost My Way was such a beautifully written, sad yet hopeful story.

The book was from three point of views- Freya, Harun and Nathaniel. I honestly connected most with Nathaniel’s story. I really felt for him and what he went through as a child. The history of each character was revealed as the book progressed and it was so powerful. You start seeing everything clearer with each page. Forman put so much heart into each of these character’s stories.

All the characters are diverse and Forman did, I think, a really good job. I loved seeing each character’s take on things and their internal struggles. I do think Nathaniel was the easiest for me to relate to since he suffers from depression and I do as well. I loved being able to see the world out of the other character’s view points. Freya, who had lost her ability to sing,  felt that was the only thing making her worthy- Harun was Muslim and trying to figure out how to come out to his family. The relationships these three develop over the course of the story was so beautiful and inspiring. They each lifted each  other up and brought out the best.

This was a very quick read (I read it in one sitting) but to me it ended a tiny bit abruptly- I wanted to read more about the character’s stories. Some huge things happen towards the end and you don’t get a clear picture of what each character will do next. I did like that the way it left off allowed for me to muse about what might happen next and dream for the character’s futures. Just like life- there was no nicely wrapped up conclusion.

This book was a perfect quick read that was full of heart. It was very emotional (suicide had a large part in the story) but also so hopeful. It isn’t the type of book that makes you feel poorly when you finish- it made me feel hopeful and think about my relationships. I will definitely be reading more books by Forman.

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE

3/19 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Playlist

3/20 – Alexa Loves Books – Gift Guide

3/21 – Buttermybooks – Outfit based on the book

3/22 – My Friends are Fiction – Review

WEEK TWO

3/26 – YA Wednesdays – Music Monday tie-in post with Songs for each character

3/27 – Oh the Book Feels – Creative Pinterest Board

3/28 – The Fandom – Creative Content

3/29 – Book Reporter – Review

WEEK THREE

4/2 – Forever Young Adult – Review

4/3 – Home of a Book Lover – Review + Playlist

4/4 – Simply Kelina – Review

4/5 – Just Add a Word – Review

Blog Tour Review- Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

 unnamedI am SO excited to be participating in the blog tour for Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton. I love these books so much! Today I’m reviewing the last in the series. But first…

ABOUT THE BOOK:

HeroAtTheFall_JK.inddHero at the Fall
By: Alywn Hamilton
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:
When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice.

Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.

AUTHOR BIO:

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and lived between Canada, France, and Italy until the was three, when her family settled in the small French town of Beaune. She studied History of Art at King’s College, Cambridge, graduated in 2009, and lives in London.

MY THOUGHTS:

This book was a rather lengthy read but I sped through it in no time (a couple of days). I fell in love with the first book, Rebel of the Sands, and have been eagerly awaiting this finale. I had no clue where Hamilton would take and end the series and I’ve got to admit I was scared! Would the characters be ok? Would my ship sail?

Amani was just as awesome as always in this book. She has really grown as a character and you can feel the weight of her worries baring down on her shoulders. She makes really tough choices in this book (I was at the edge of my seat seeing what she would do). I loved that her actions had consequences. This book was full of action, suspense and heavy stakes.

What made it a faster read really were the characters. They all had such well developed personalities and their interactions with each other really is my favorite aspect of this series. The friendships are gorgeously rendered and upped the tension so much! How would they all make it out safely? And, of course, Amani and Jin. SIGH. I love these two so, so much. They really bring out the best in one another. I love having read how they have grown together as the books have progressed.

Another thing I LOVE- the setting! Each book adds more and more to this world and in this on we have a LAND SHIP sailing over the desert! I loved this part SO much. I mean, how often do we get to see that? The descriptions were all so vivid and it played out in my mind like a movie. Pure perfection really.

If you haven’t read these books DO SO SOON. Hero at the Fall releases March 6th so it is the perfect time to start these books (or reread or continue)

HERO AT THE FALL TOUR SCHEDULE

REBEL AT THE SANDS SCHEDULE
 
WEEK ONE
1/30 – Spinatale Reviews – Review
1/31 – Library Ladies – Review
2/1 – I Fangirl about books – Review
2/2 – Aimee, Always – Quote Wallpaper
 
WEEK TWO
2/5 – Opalsbookjems – Review
2/6 – Mundie Moms – Review
2/7 – As Told By Michelle – Review
 
TRAITOR TO THE THRONE SCHEDULE
 
WEEK THREE
2/12 – YA and Wine – Review
2/13 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – “5 Reasons to Read the Series”
2/14 – ReadingAnyone – Review
2/15 – The Clockwork Bibliophile – Booklook + Photo Feature
 
WEEK FOUR
2/20 – The Lovely Books – Review
2/21 – Never Too Many To Read – Creative
2/22 – Sisters Who Read – Creative Post
 
HERO AT THE FALL SCHEDULE
 
WEEK FIVE
2/26 – Writing is Hard – Review + Social Media Promo
2/27 – Mike the Fanboy – Fun Recap of Series
2/28 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
3/1 – The Young Folks – Review
3/2 – Lisa’s Lost in Lit – Creative
 
WEEK SIX
3/5 – The Reader Bee – Review + Bookstagram Post
3/6 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Review + Creative Insta Post
3/7 – A  Book and A Cup of Coffee – Playlist
3/8 – Fiction Fare – Moodboard
 
WEEK SEVEN
3/12 – The Eater of Books – Moodboard
3/13 – Love Is Not a Triangle – Review + Bookstagram Picture
3/14 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Creative Content
3/15 – Forever Young Adult – Review

Falling Kingdoms Blog Tour- Author Guest Post

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I have been a long time fan of Morgan Rhodes and the Falling Kingdoms series. These books have been so much fun to read and just look at those covers. I am so excited to have Morgan Rhodes here on my blog today.

About the Book

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An epic clash between gods and mortals threatens to tear Mytica apart . . . and prove that not even the purest of love stands a chance against the strongest of magic.

MAGNUS and CLEO are forced to test the strength of their love when Gaius returns to Mytica claiming he’s no longer the King of Blood but a changed man seeking redemption. LUCIA, pregnant with the child of a Watcher, has escaped the clutches of the unhinged fire god. Her powers are dwindling as she goes forth to fulfill a prophecy that will keep her baby safe . . . but could mean her demise. JONAS treks back to Mytica with a plan to overtake Amara, but fate takes hold when he runs into the beautiful Princess Lucia and joins her on her perilous journey. AMARA has taken the Mytican throne, but with no way to unleash the water magic trapped within her stolen crystal, she’ll never be able to seize glory and get sweet revenge. And what kind of darkness will descend–and who will be safe–after Prince Ashur reveals the dangerous price he paid to cheat death?

Author Guest Post

Throughout the series so many of your characters have changed allegiance and grown in so many ways. Has there been a specific character that has surprised you the most as you’ve written the series? Which one and why?

If we take the one character I believe has grown up the most over the six books of the Falling Kingdoms series, I would have to pick Princess Lucia Damora. The adopted (aka: kidnapped from her birth parents) daughter of King Gaius, the “King of Blood”, Lucia is the subject of a prophecy that she’s a sorceress. The king wished to use her magic to strengthen his reign. When we first meet Lucia, she is overprotected and naïve and has no clue about these rumors

Through many painful lessons, Lucia goes on a journey where she went from denial to acceptance of her magic; from hate and blame over those she feels have betrayed her; and to the knowledge that if she isn’t part of the solution, she’s part of the problem. Lucia has made a lot of mistakes throughout the series, and is an excellent example of “power corrupts.”

The only question remaining is, in IMMORTAL REIGN, the sixth and final book in the series, will Lucia finally step up and use her magic for the greater good?

Tour Schedule

WEEK ONE (Book One: Falling Kingdoms and Two Book: Rebel Spring)
January 8  Adventures of a Book Junkie  Intervieww
January 9  The Book Nut  Review and Playlist
January 10  Quirky and Peculiar  Review
January 11  I Fangirl About Books  Creative Post
January 12 Lovely Loveday  Author Guest Post
WEEK TWO (Book 3: Gathering Darkness)
January 15  Glimpses of my Books Cover Art and Author Gust Post – her inspiration for the character Magnus Damora?
January 16 Book Briefs Book Review
January 17 In Wonderland Review
January 18 Star-Crossed Book Blog Review
WEEK THREE (Book 4: Frozen Tides)
January 22 Ex Libris Interview
January 23 Ensconced in Lit Review
January 24 Step Into a Book World Review
January 25 Ria Reads Review
WEEK FOUR (Crystal Storm)
January 29 My Friends are Fiction Author Guest Post
January 30 Adventures through Wonderland Review + Instagram
January 31  A Thousand Books to Read Interview
February 1 A Page with a View Review
February 2 Never Too Many To Read Book Spotlight and/or Review