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

whimisicaljourneypic

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.

Snapseed

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

Blog Tour- Review for Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk + Giveaway

Blog Tour Banner

I am excited to be reviewing Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk today! I love gladiator stories and a fierce female lead. This book has both in spades!

About the Book

30975382

Blood and Sand
By: C.V. Wyk
Release Date: January 16
Publisher: Tor Teen

FORGED IN BATTLE…
FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA…
A LEGEND WILL RISE

The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic—and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus…

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire—an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves. 

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end—and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

The story continues in Fire and Ash, coming in 2019 from Tor Teen.

My Review:

I am so excited that more books are being released that feature gladiators and Roman times! This historical novel reads less historical and more fantasy to me (pacing and depth of world etc). It was fast paced and a quick read. I immediately was captivated by the characters, especially Attia. She was amazingly fierce, determined, and relatable. She was groomed to take over Thrace but instead is captured and sold as a slave. Instead of giving up she used her strengths to start a change. Got to love that!

Wyk did an impeccable job describing ancient Rome and the people living in it. Her descriptions were well done and she didn’t hesitate to write about the violence of this time period. The action sequences were really well done and I could really see this book as a film.

The bond between Attia and Xanthus was perfect-I loved that they slowly warmed up to one another (slow burn is my ultimate favorite thing). There wasn’t an instant connection between these two. Both didn’t want to really see good within the other but eventually they really related to one another. I thought it was beautifully (and realistically) done.

The side characters weren’t ignored- you really cared for them and feared for their futures. This made the choices Attia made more realistic since not only would she be impacted but the people around her would be too. Since you cared for each character it was really a tense read in parts.

I honestly don’t know too much about Spartacus (I haven’t watched the show or researched the story) so I can’t tell you how well this accomplished the retelling aspect. But, I can say that no prior historical knowledge is needed to become immersed in this book and characters. And, you might even find yourself Googling Spartacus after you read it.

Giveaway:

Tor Teen has provided 3 Hardcovers to be sent to 3 winners in the US or Canada. You must be 12 years or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Jan 8 “ Mary Had A Little Book Blog

Jan 9  Novel Knight

Jan 10  The Book Nut

Jan 11  Short & Sweet Reviews

Jan 12  Rabid Reads

Jan 15  Brittany’s Book Rambles

Jan 16 Powder and Page

Jan 17 Arctic Books

Jan 18 My Friends Are Fiction

Jan 19 Itching for Books

Jan 22 Pretty Deadly Reviews

Jan 23 Chasing Faerytales

Jan 24 Bumbles and Fairytales

Jan 25 Ageless Pages Reviews

Jan 26 Gizmo’s Reviews

Blog Tour- Review of A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

33629245A Poison Dark and Drowning
By: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House

There are spoilers for A Shadow Bright and Burning in this review.

Summary:
The magicians want her to lead. The sorcerers want her to lie. The demons want her blood. Henrietta wants to save the one she loves. But will his dark magic be her undoing?

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the bloodthirsty Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own.

So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series but this one was even better! It had more action, a thickening plot and I really loved most of the character interactions. I feel that Henrietta is really coming into her own more and more and her interactions with Blackwood are some of my very favorite scenes.

The ability Cluess has to write her actions scenes is really remarkable. I was completely enthralled and they are all so easy to visualize as you read. These books really need to be a movie or TV series. The descriptions I see saying this is a mix between Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter actually fit to me- how often does that actually happen?

There is only one tiny complaint I had with this book and that’s Henrietta’s relationship with her childhood friend, Rook. For some reason I just can’t feel the chemistry between these two and I just don’t see any spark. I think it’s because I’m so heavily shipping her with another character. Rook just seems like a hollow character and I feel that as the series progresses his personality declines- perhaps that is the point? I really did love him at the start of the first book but more and more I don’t care about his outcome.

I really felt that the writing was even stronger in this sequel than the first and there are some really dark moments that I just loved. Things felt really tense and I didn’t know what to expect exactly. I am looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in the third book.

IMG_0082