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”

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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!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Book Depository | Kobo


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: REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Series: Rebel of the Sands, #1
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via First to Read
Genre(s): Fantasy
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

my rambles

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

I’d been hearing so much about Rebel of the Sands, so when I saw a copy up for grabs from Penguin, I was sure to snatch it up. And I’m so glad that I did! Part middle eastern fantasy, part gunslinging western, this book was all magical badassery!

When I pick up a book set in the middle east, I almost immediately expect the writing to be amazingly rich. Something about the culture of the setting calls for a certain writing style that is detailed and equally as rich as the culture. That’s exactly what Alwyn Hamilton gives us. Her writing was so atmospheric. I could picture each setting and character vividly in my head. I felt like I was there with Amani.

Amani herself was an incredible main character. She brought the badassery to the story. Learning her background and motive for being a sharpshooter made her a character you rooted for. I loved following her through the desert, and seeing where the story took her. Jin, the mysterious foreigner, was another characters I adored. His quick wit was oh so charming! There is a smidge of romance between these two, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Quite the opposite, actually. It was slowly developed, building throughout the book. While the relationship is present, the story never strayed too long from Amani, the Sultan, and the rebellion.

The way that Alwyn Hamilton connected the dots from beginning, middle, to end of the story was very satisfying. The hints at rebellion, lost princes, and magic gave us just enough information to have a chance at putting the puzzle pieces together correctly. One thing that I wasn’t completely expecting: magical “creatures” and abilities! I don’t know why the thought never crossed my mind, but I did enjoy how that element was woven into the story, and eventually became a crucial part. That’s really all I can confidently share without spoiling the excitement of the story!

All in all, Rebel of the Sands did not disappoint! It kept me hooked, turning page after page, and immersed in the desert world. Definitely a new fantasy favorite!

8

xo

Review + Favorite Quotes: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour!

Blackhearts.png

I was thrilled when I got the email that I would be a part of the Blackhearts blog tour! Everything about this book sounded right up my alley. Spoiler, IT SO WAS! If you’re into a beautiful story and romance, this book is for you too! And, can we take a quick minute to appreciate that cover?


Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

my rambles

Special thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting the blog tour and to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. SO. MUCH. It has taken me a couple of days to compose my feelings in order to right a proper review. My mind seriously couldn’t put this book into words, and I’m still having some troubles, so bear with me here. Blackhearts is an absolutely beautiful story. Everything about it was just that: beautiful. The writing, the story, the characters, the romance, everything.

I’ll start with the writing. It was descriptive, but not too much so. The writing didn’t take away from the story, but enhanced it. A lot of historical fiction books tend to be long and drawn out, but that’s not the case with Blackhearts. It was an addicting read, but not in the “normal” page-turning sense of the word. I felt like I was taking my time experiencing the story while I was reading, when in reality I was flying through it. I think that speaks to the rich immersive quality of Nicole Castroman’s ability to write a story.

Continue reading “Review + Favorite Quotes: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour!”

Review AKA Fangirling: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Genre(s): Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

my rambles

WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS BOOK SOONER, PEOPLE?!? A Court of Thorns and Roses totally lived up to my expectations and the hype surrounding it. After reading and loving Sarah’s first two Throne of Glass books (Throne of Glass & Crown of Midnight), I was SO ready for more by her. I do have Heir of Fire sitting on my shelf, but something about ACOTAR was calling to me. Plus, pretty much everyone I trust when it comes to reviewing said I’d love it.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to focus on pretty much ANYTHING else while I was in the middle of it. For a fairly large book (okay, large for the average reader), I was able to finish it in about a day. I basically became a speed-reader, because I just COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN!

First of all, like Celaena, Feyre is SUCH AN AWESOME MC. Super badass. From the very first page we get to see her hunting and being awesome. She’s confident with herself. I also liked how prior to the main storyline, she was in a simply physical, I’ll say, relationship with Isaac. In YA we get a lot of female MC’s who make sex a really climactic point in the storyline. Whereas with Feyre, it happens, and it’s not a big deal, which was refreshing.

Of course we can’t forget the world and FANTASY! I loved the conflict between the Fae and the mortals. But I also loved how there was an aspect of inner turmoil within Prythian and between Hybern. I like it when fantasy has bits of political intrigue within their rulers, too. The Fae creatures themselves were awesome. I can’t speak to them all (because there’s a lot — this world has lots of depth), but I will say their distinct abilities are COOL. The other creatures are really interesting, too. I liked the idea of their being less-human-like Fae that are dangerous to the other Fae, as well. Does that make sense? It gets hard to talk about specific aspects without spoiling…

There is romance, too. I know that it’s been kind of controversial regarding the idea that it’s an unhealthy relationship between Tamlin and Feyre. But, I didn’t really get that feeling myself. I can see how others would feel like she was being held against her will, and that at one point was almost taken advantage of. But I think Maas wrote their relationship and story well enough to let the reader know that Tamlin wasn’t doing anything bad when it came to keeping Feyre captive. He tells her multiple times she can leave him, just not the Fae Realm. And regarding the hallway scene: he wasn’t himself then, and was overtaken by magic, so…

I quite liked Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship. Especially when you learn more about how it came to be, I found it really sweet, actually. There are a number of steamy scenes, too, if that’s you’re thing. But, while I loved Tamlin, I still felt like there was a little something missing from him. He didn’t seem completely developed. He was a little dry when he wasn’t expressing his great affections for Feyre or filled with passion!

There’s tons of action, too. Those were some of my absolute favorite scenes. BECAUSE UM, MORE FEYRE BADASSERY!!

I liked the ending a lot, and had it not been for Feyre’s final conversation with Rhys (more on him later), I would have called it pretty finite. BUT, SHE HAS A MOMENT WITH HIM THAT MADE ME GO WHATTTT!?!??!?!? And basically, now I need A Court of Mist and Fury ASAP. I can definitely see a setup for a possible love triangle in the next book, which I’m unsure whether I want or not.

I LOVE RHYS. BUT I LOVE FEYRE AND TAMLIN AS A COUPLE. Rhys is the sexy bad boy that I love, but I just wish there had been MORE of him in the book because then I’d definitely be all: GREEN LIGHT ON THE LOVE TRIANGLE. And shipping Feyre and Rhys all the way to the moon. When they did have scenes together, the sexual tension was on OVERLOAD. But, alas he was not very prominent until the last bit of the book. So I think I will continue to ship Feyre and Tamlin, and just keep Rhys for myself. Sounds good to me!

So all in all, I REALLY liked ACOTAR. About just as much as I like the Throne of Glass series so far. I did have my minor problems with Tamlin being sort of lacking in personality when he wasn’t making out with Feyre, but that didn’t affect my love of the book too much, CLEARLY. I STILL LOVE TAMLIN TOO. ❤

8

xo