Review: TELL THE WIND AND FIRE by Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.

my rambles

Special thanks to Clarion Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I put off reading this book for a looooooong time (longer than I really should have) because for some reason, most of my Goodreads friends’ reviews of this book were very low. I’m talking one-two stars. This made me really nervous, because, I would normally trust these people! So I finally worked up the nerve to read this book for three reasons: (1) The synopsis sounded really cool, and Sarah Rees Brennan is awesome, (2) I was going to be meeting Sarah like, the next day, and (3) it was a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, which I haven’t read, and therefore felt that maybe some low rating were due to retelling issues which wouldn’t affect me. Turns out, I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with those reviews. Therefore, the moral of the story is, READ THE DARN BOOK EVEN IF IT’S GETTING BAD REVIEWS. At least try, because hopefully like my case, you’ll end up loving it!

Well, let me just say that I wish I had read this book sooner, people. It turned me into an emotional, sobbing, wreck. SARAH REES BRENNAN YOU ARE VERY CRUEL. But that is all thanks to the ending. I’ll start with the beginning.

I loved how Sarah weaved magic into the storyline. Yes, some parts were a little confusing (about how the Light and Dark magicians need each other, the actual workings of the magic, etc.) but I dealt with that. But my favorite thing was the doppelgangers! The idea that they are created when a magician is trying to save someone on the brink of death was chilling. The fact that they are basically society’s rejects added so much emotion, especially when we get introduced to Carwyn (*HEART EYES ALL OVER*). There is all this stigma in both the Light and Dark cities about being a doppelganger, and them not being considered real people, or believed to not have souls, which was so interesting.

That leads me to talk characters. Lucie and Ethan were pretty “meh” characters to me. Lucie was a typical symbol of rebellion, Ethan was the “golden boy,” but I loved me some Carwyn… While Lucie and Ethan were pretty boring, Carwyn was completely the opposite. He was dark, brooding, definitely the “bad boy,” but he had lots of depth due to the fact that he was a doppelganger. He was also morally ambiguous, which makes for awesome characters. I really came to root for him to have a happy ending, even over the others, because of the things he reveals about himself, and his actions throughout.

There’s a romance between Lucie and Ethan (not a spoiler, don’t worry), which I found to be about as bland as the characters. It got a little better when we learned the history of how the two got together, but it was nothing special to me. I found Lucie and Carwyn’s almost relationship to be much more interesting. If you’ve read the book already, CHAPTER 18 AH!!! It hit me right in the feels. The complexity and the forbidden wrongness of Lucie helping a doppelganger made it much more exciting. And my oh my the sexual tension was coming off of Carwyn in droves!

The ending completely destroyed me, just as I knew it would, but was hoping it wouldn’t. Sarah wasn’t afraid to hit us very very hard in the heart. This will be one that you’ll want to emotionally prepare for.

While I was a big fan of the story, the writing was also wonderful. The dialogue she created for and between the characters *cough* especially Carwyn *cough* was really great, and of course, emotional.

All in all, Tell the Wind and Fire was a great story! But the highlight for me was Carwyn (if you couldn’t tell he’s totally my current book boyfriend), and the complexity his character brought to the story, and the world. If you’re a fan of sexy bad boys and urban fantasy, this is the book for you!

7xo

Review: SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS edited by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Days GIF.gifPublisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Anthology, Romance, Summer
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

*Unlike my review for My True Love Gave to Me, I won’t be writing about each story separately. I don’t feel like I have enough to say about each one individually. Instead, I’ll talk about the compilation as a whole, and tell you what my favorites were!

When I first heard that Summer Days and Summer Nights (SDSN from now on) was going to be a thing, I was thrilled! I loved Stephanie Perkins’ first anthology, and so naturally, I had to get my hands on the summer version.

SDSN ended up surprising me (in a good way) that I wasn’t completely expecting. Because it was a compilation of stories all set during the summer, I figured that it would be mostly contemporary. But I was SO wrong. This anthology has a story for everyone, probably every genre! There’s magical realism, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and then on top of that diversity and multiple LGBT stories! Add to that the stellar list of authors who contributed and you’re in for a treat!

I will say that while there was such a range of stories, and there were some of my favorite authors included, I didn’t fall in love with SDSN as much as the first anthology. There were just more stories in this one that I felt more “meh” about and less “AWWWW” about. I would have to say my favorites were “Inertia” by Veronica Roth and “A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith. “Inertia” was heartbreak yet beautiful, and “A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong” followed the same route. Coming in close behind were “Love is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron (a funny and unique story), “In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by the one and only Stephanie Perkins (you’re typical Stephanie Perkins story that you won’t want to miss), and “Sick Pleasures” by Francesca Lia Block (a darker, more interesting view at love).

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the other stories. They were definitely wonderfully written, and great love stories, but the ones I already mentioned held my attention and stayed with me longer than the others. The couples were more “shippable” and brought out more emotion in me, I’ll say.

While I did have favorites, I still think that SDSN is the perfect book to bring with you for a leisurely day at the beach, or spread out reading throughout the summer. I found myself enjoying the stories I let steep for a bit better than the ones I read one after the other. If you’re a romance fan, you definitely should pick up this adorable anthology that pays homage to the summer, and of course, love!

3.5 hearts

xo

Review + Author Q&A: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi

Review

25203675Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 342
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

my rambles

Special thanks to the St. Martin’s Griffin for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour and providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

What a book! I could tell from the moment I heard about The Star-Touched Queen that it was going to be a book that I’d love. And it was. Roshani Chokshi crafts a beautiful love story of epic proportions, set in a unique and magical world like none other.

The story of Maya is one that unravels slowly, much like the threads in tapestry of fate. We meet her as a girl from one life, but as the story continues, we get to delve into her many reincarnations, and discover her deep connection with Amar. The decisions the two make will break your heart and then weave it back together again.

The incredible magic of the Otherworld, Naraka, the Night Bazaar, and all of the beings within make for a world that is fascinating, frightening, and amazing. In great contrast to Maya’s original home, Bharata, with it’s lush middle-eastern and Indian culture, and their superstitious beliefs in horoscopes and legends.

Fast-paced and never not exciting, The Star-Touched Queen will take you on an adventure that you won’t believe. Filled with magic, romance, incredible descriptions, and rich writing, this book will not disappoint. Fans of The Wrath and the Dawn and A Court of Thorns and Roses will love delving into this wonderful story!

7


Q&A with Roshani Chokshi!

What/Who were your biggest inspirations for the characters in The Star-Touched Queen? Which character in The Star-Touched Queen did you personally relate to the most and why? For Maya and Amar, they were inspired by the Hades/Persephone. But I imagined those two mythological characters a little more differently. In Maya’s case, I knew that ambition was her defining trait, but I wasn’t sure whether that would manifest as seeking emotional or material fulfillment. Turns out, it was a bit of both. Kamala was inspired by my love of fiendish side characters like Mogget from Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and is probably the character I relate to the most. Her sense of humor can be a little abrasive. But she’s fiercely loyal to her friends. Other people in TSTQ were inspired by a collection of people whom I met/knew/heard of growing up.

Continue reading “Review + Author Q&A: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi”

I disappeared for a while there, didn’t I?

HI PEOPLE! I can’t tell you how great it feels to be typing a blog post right now. I took a hiatus without really meaning to for almost a month. I told myself I would be reading and posting, but the reality was I haven’t read a book for pleasure since I wrote that last review. It was crunch time for APs, including AP Art, which was a whirlwind. I will honestly admit that I didn’t really feel like reading anything either. Instead, I binge-watched all six seasons of Gossip Girl. You know, productive.

But now I can officially say that I’m finished with APs FOREVER, and am basically just doing busywork for the rest of my classes until graduation! AH! What that means for us: I HAVE TIME TO READ AGAIN!! I’m out of what I’m calling my life-slump, and back into reading, which of course means, blogging, too.

I started reading The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi yesterday, and will have a review and Q&A with the author as a part of the blog tour on Friday. I’m soooo excited because I’m really loving this book! I’ll also be catching up on other review copies I’ve sadly neglected.

I’ve gotten a ton of books in the month I’ve been gone. Most of them were eARCs that I just recently got approved for that I requested a looooong time ago. Others were physical ARCs that were unsolicited. And a few were book-retail-therapy during exam week. I’ll definitely be posting a haul very soon, but first…

This Saturday I will be at the Rochester Teen Book Festival again, and am planning on buying lots of books. I’ll be holding off on that book haul until after that. I’m really looking forward to it as I’m going with my friend, and there are tons of amazing authors going to be there (I’ll recap, don’t worry). Also, I’m currently planning to meet up with fellow book blogger Jamie @ Books and Ladders, which I’m super excited about!

So, life is good. I’m at the homestretch for school, and I’m ready for some relaxation and reading in the summer sun! You will definitely be hearing more from me very soon! Thanks to everyone for sticking with me through it all, and HELLOOOO! to all my new followers!

xo