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

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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”

Mini Review: NO LOVE ALLOWED by Kate Evangelista

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Series: Untitled, #1
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

my rambles

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

Uh, fake relationship that turns into more? Count me in!

I’ve had pretty good luck with Swoon Reads’ titles, and No Love Allowed was no exception. It’s the perfect book to get you in the spirit of summer. Light, fun, and adorable! The whole story starts after a crazy proposition and a spontaneous decision are made: Caleb asks Didi to be his fake girlfriend, and she accepts. While the general storyline was a little predictable and cliche, I liked this book for its characters, particularly Didi. She was a little spunky, and a lot likable! One of my favorite things about her was that she was relatable to me in that she’s an artist, a painter to be exact. I enjoyed that her love of painting actually played a role in the story and in shaping her character, instead of just being a hobby of hers.

I don’t think I’m spoiling you by saying that Didi and Caleb totally fall for each other (*cough* predictability). As I mentioned before, I found their relationship to be the predictable part of the story. They were really cute together, though. Didi and Caleb were masters at flirting and banter! There were aspects of the book that caught me by surprise, such as Didi’s mental illnesses. I enjoyed the incorporation of the more serious storyline into an overall lighthearted book.

Yes, it was cliche (the whole fake relationship, Caleb being mega-rich and Didi being pretty poor), but it’s a fun and super cute story! Perfect for a quick summer read, No Love Allowed is a romance that will make you smile.

7

xo

Review: DREAMOLOGY by Lucy Keating (+Giveaway!)

DREAMOLOGY

A huge thanks to the FFBC for hosting this tour for Lucy Keating’s amazing book, Dreamology! I am thrilled to be participating!


Review

23466626Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 12th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

my rambles

Special thanks to FFBC, HarperTeen and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

Dreamology is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s completely unique and out of the box, while remaining entertaining, emotional, and utterly fun!

Told through dreams and reality, we get to see Alice and Max’s crazy relationship unfold in their dreams, and in real life. While I thought reading about the super surrealistic dreams was fun, I enjoyed seeing the couple work out their relationship in real life, together. The events unfolding in their real life pushed them together and forced them to work out their problems, and the fact for Alice that Max wasn’t completely like his dream self. I actually found myself loving real life Alice and Max better than their dream selves for that reason: they had flaws in the real world. It made me root for their relationship to last in real life even more.

The surrealism, magical realism, and fantasy aspects (I really don’t know how to categorize them), were some of my favorite parts. The melding of the magic into their real lives made the moments they shared more important and special. It was also written in a believable way, as Alice and Max aren’t even 100% sure of what they’re seeing.

Another thing I loved about Dreamology were the side characters: Alice’s best friend Sophie, and new friend Oliver. The two were both fun and added to lightness of the book. They were funny and adorable, great sidekicks to Alice and Max.

Different than anything I’ve ever read, Dreamology is refreshing and new, and will take you out of reality, and into the world of dreams. Part contemporary, part fantasy, Dreamology is a must-read romance that will lift you up like you’re in a hot-air balloon!

7


BUY THE BOOK!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lucy lives in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Williams College in the Berkshires, and still misses the East Coast very much.
When she’s not writing, Lucy can usually be found obsessing over the latest music, inventing new flavors of ice cream, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns

WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter | Instagram


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xo

Review: THE GLITTERING COURT by Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Series: The Glittering Court, #1
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via First to Read
Genre(s): High Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance from Richelle Mead, #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy.

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. . . .

my rambles

Special thanks to Penguin First to Read for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

The Glittering Court is the first book that I’ve read by Richelle Mead. While her Vampire Academy series has been on my radar forever, I’ve never been quite sure if it’s something that I wanted to commit myself to. I’m not a big fan of vampires. So when I first heard about The Glittering Court, I was intrigued. I loved the idea of a high fantasy set during a time period similar to that of the colonial Americas. Unfortunately I can’t say that I loved this book. I really wanted to! There were some aspects of the story that I really enjoyed, but other parts were lacking, leading me to have “meh” and mediocre feelings toward it.

As I said before, I loved the premise and overall storyline. But when I get down to the nitty gritty, there were some things that I just couldn’t ignore. The book seemed like it was never-ending. Sure it’s on the longer side, but I felt like the pacing was pretty slow throughout. That being said, the book takes place over quite a long period of time. I guess what was frustrating to me was the way the the “boring” parts of the story that were supposed to last a few months, were brushed off in probably 10 pages. While on the other hand, the action and more “exciting” parts that took place in minutes or hours were given more pages. I understand the want to avoid endless description of boring details, but it threw me off with the book’s timeline.

My other main problem with the book was the amount of “things” going on. There were lots of characters, and lots of storylines intertwining. Some authors can pull that off, but I just felt like many of the storylines were rushed and underdeveloped. The book covers such a range of time, characters, and settings. I think the story would have been less confusing if there was more development.

Continue reading “Review: THE GLITTERING COURT by Richelle Mead”