ARC Giveaway- The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

 

TheGlitteringCourtARC

I am SO excited to be sharing this giveaway, hosted by the generous folks at Penguin, with my readers today. I think it’s safe to say we are all thrilled and excited to see another book from Richelle Mead and that summary–perfect. I am so grateful that I’ve gotten an early copy of The Glittering Court and, of course, I had to drop everything to start it. I’m about 70 pages in and it is soooo wonderful.

About the Book

TheGlitteringCourtThe Glittering Court
By; Richelle Mead
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Razorbill

Summary:
Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . .

Giveaway

This giveaway is US only and will run from now until 3/11. There will be 4 winners. Each winner will receive and ARC of The Glittering Court and a necklace.
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Review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

RebeloftheSandsRebel of the Sands
By: Alwyn Hamilton
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Print ARC
Source: Friend

My Rating:
star

Summary:
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

My Thoughts:
Rebel of the Sands was crazy good. I sat down with it and thought I’d read a chapter but ended up reading about 3/4ths of the book in one sitting. It was captivating, action packed and had perfect moments of swoon. I adored the characters and their dialog and interactions were very well done.

I didn’t know exactly what I was getting when I started this one…I’d heard it was fantasy? But also the back and summary bring up desert and guns so I wasn’t sure of the genre or atmosphere. It turned out to be this incredible mix of classic Wild West and the Middle East. Not only do we have shoot-out gun fights and train chases we also get epic sand storms, desert treks, djinni myths and a rebel prince. Sign me up for ALL the things.

The main character, Amani, was trapped in her small, desert town. A town in the middle of the desert that viewed women as lesser than and incapable of doing much more than being a wife and mother. Amani’s own mother and step father were dead which left her living with an aunt and uncle who cared little for her welfare. Amani wasn’t having any of that though. She wasn’t going to allow anyone to map out her future or stop her from doing the things she was passionate about (like shooting). I immediately connected with Amani and really loved her spirit, fierce nature and sense of self. She had a goal and nothing was going to stop her.

Beyond Amani, all the other characters were well developed. I know for a fact Jin will be a crowd pleaser. I fell in love with his sharp wit, humor and generally everything about him. His chemistry with Amani was impeccably created and just *swoon* perfection. Jin was so much more than a love interest though. This character was just as thought out as Amani. I can’t go into his past in detail because spoilers but I adore him and need to read oh so much more about him in the next two books.

Even characters that played a very small role were capable of pulling at my heart- I was so impressed that Hamilton conveyed a friendship between Amani and a boy from her town so well that I was feeling emotional in certain parts of the story. I am usually fairly hard hearted especially with characters that aren’t on the page long but not so in this book. I felt some serious love and hate quickly and deeply.

Beyond the characters, the world was exquisite and so creative. Hamilton created so many myths and a depth to the world’s history that I was completely captivated. I honestly couldn’t tell what was created by the author and what might actually be true myths. The entire story was a brilliant concept and wonderfully executed. Hamilton’s writing was so well done I had no problem imagining all of her settings and the action sequences were epic. I could imagine it all playing out like a film (you have train chases, shoot-outs, desert treks, sand storms and more). I am really blown away with the scope of this novel.

Final Thoughts:
I am completely obsessed with Alywn Hamilton’s debut, Rebel of the Sands. This novel mixed a wild west aura, middle eastern culture along with original myth to create a fantasy world rich in depth and completely captivating. This was one of the strongest debuts I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read more from Hamilton and this series. I am in love.

Review of My First Coloring Book for Adults

Vampirecoloringbook Vampirecoloringbookfront

The Vampire Combat Field Guide: A Coloring and Activity book for Fighting the Bloodthirsty Undead
by: Roger Ma
Publisher: Berkley Trade Paperback
Release Date: October 6, 2015

My Thoughts:
I was very excited to be approached to review this coloring book since, well, it’s a coloring book of VAMPIRES. And the title alone made me laugh. When I received this, I immediately jumped in to color and was a tad disappointed with the lack of detail in the images. I wanted them to have more background and be less sketchy.

I was pleased with the content and found it to be a funny read–and I learned a few things. I do feel slightly more prepared if there were to be a vampire attack. And, stocked with my color pencils, I’d be able to stake many vampires as they came for me.

So, in short, I do enjoy this coloring book for the laugh factor but for the actual coloring-meh not so much.

vampirecoloringbookpage

Blog Tour- Review and Giveaway of Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

BloodandSaltBlood and Salt
By: Kim Liggett
Release Date: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publisher: September 22nd 2015
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

Summary:
Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Review

Blood and Salt was an entertaining and original story that successfully utilized a setting with a massive corn field. That might be a random thing to mention but really…this corn field was so creepy and really well detailed-enough so that it was its own character.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Ash’s mother and her past in Quivira. Learning about the village’s past and traditions along with Ash and her brother was the highlight of the book for me. I felt that the author did an excellent job creating a history and myth that not only held intrigue but also an element of the creepy.

What would Quivira be without the characters? The secondary characters had such a crucial role in this story and book. I felt that they were all unique and I especially enjoyed Beth. Her lack of general knowledge about how the world operates was enduring as well as her openness to Ash and her brother.

Of course, with that line about Romeo and Juliet in the summary you know that romance had a large role to play. There were super natural reasons why these two are pulled towards each other which worked well for the story even though it was a bit of insta-love. These two did have chemistry together though I could have used a bit more than their instant attraction to draw them together. I know for a fact that they will be progressing and growing in the next book which has me very excited.

Another element I enjoyed was how Liggett incorporated magic within the story. Magic was used in a very subtle way but she presented it with a great aura and I could really imagine it being reality.

One caveat for the future reader–you might go into this book expecting a horror novel and the first chapter does have that feel but, for me, this book wasn’t all that scary. Creepy things happen but never once was I afraid to turn out the lights. The creepiness was more a general feeling as you read, and like my friend Crystal so eloquently said to me, “it had the feel of someone watching you” I think that’s a perfect description.

Final Thoughts:
Kim Liggett successfully created a wonderful novel that excelled at transporting me to a small village within a corn field. I was mesmerized with the history surrounding this village and its impact on the characters. I look forward to reading more hopefully sooner than later.

Giveaway

Thank you Penguin for providing a copy for giveaway. This is US only.

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Review of The Rose Society by Marie Lu

TheRoseSocietyThe Rose Society
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 13th 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: wonderful friend

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed the first book, The Young Elites but I think on a whole I enjoyed this novel more. I loved how dark it was and how Lu so eloquently wrote Adelina losing her grip and control. I flippantly say, “I love villains” but reading Adelina’s decline into the darker areas of her power was actually heart wrenching and difficult! I found myself hoping for her to fail more often than not. This was a very unique experience for me since typically I’m rooting for the main characters.

Though overall I loved this book the pacing did feel a tad uneven for me. There were areas (mostly in the beginning) that dragged the smallest bit but this could have been a mood thing for me. The mid- to end were breathtaking and gripping.

I think the biggest highlight of this series has been watching Adelina become the White Wolf. Her powers feed on hate and terror and so Adelina learns to love taking these emotions from others. Her subtle decline and loss of control were equal parts exciting and disturbing. There was what could be considered to some a slight love triangle. I hesitate to call it this though since it was rather complicated.

The novel was written from Adelina’s point of view and also a few chapters focused on another character (Raffaele, Teren and Mauve specifically). I think this approach worked well in regards to the story telling but it did throw me off a bit because of the change of point of view from first to third. This felt a tad awkward for me.

Since Adelina was on a journey to find new Elites this novel introduced a few new characters. I felt that they weren’t overly developed but what we did see was well done and added to the story well. I hope we learn a bit more about each of these new characters in the following book.

Final Thoughts:
I have really enjoyed this series thus far and felt that The Rose Society was a wonderful addition. I loved (though it was painful) reading of Adelina’s growth in her powers and loss of those things that kept her from delving into the darkness. I can’t wait for the next book.