Thursday, June 14, 2018

Royals by Rachel Hawkins {review}


Royals
by Rachel Hawkins
♦publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
♦released: May 1st, 2018
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Royals, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

{Amy's Review}

The moment Daisy arrives in Scotland, it is quite apparent that she doesn’t fit into the posh, regal life of the royal entourage.  The lavish parties, drinking binges, pristine clothes, and proper posture are enough to make her yearn to run back to America, but that just isn’t an option.  And when the prince’s rogue younger brother Sebastian decides to make his advances on Daisy, everything goes awry.  Now, Daisy is a tabloid sensation and she can’t find a way out, until the royal family appoints Miles, to help undo all the wrong doings.  However, Daisy is not a cookie cutter display of charm and rules. Even in spite of all her trying, she still finds a way to shatter expectations and do things her own way.

Everyday teenager meets royalty in Rachel Hawkin’s royal mashup, Royals.
A contemporary, easy read without a lot of angst, Royals is the perfect book to take on vacation, read on the plane, or to dive into when you are getting over a difficult book hangover.  A fun jaunt through royal escapades, grand excursions, and a little kissing, all while dodging the paparazzi. With excerpts from gossip blogs and tabloid headlines, readers will feel they have fallen right into the flip side of a reality T.V. show. Rachel Hawkins' full line up of characters will whisk you away to other side of the pond, where royal mishaps are just the way of life. Daisy, with reason, is not happy about the disruption to her life, but her strong willed nature is just enough to turn everyone on their heads, while also putting a playboy royal in his place. A likely romance does develop, but in a proper amount of time and not in a cliched rush. This book is just what it is premised to be- a fun, quick read on how those born to royalty live a perceived untouchable life of wild parties, drinking, and secrets. Light hearted, and just plain entertaining, this book is written for its true audience- teens, which makes me adore Rachel Hawkins even more. 

This book is a fun filled afternoon of wishful dreams and tabloid spoilers, but isn’t to be confused with historically accurate royal lines.  Rachel Hawkin’s take on all the things that can go awry if your sister turns royal is just plain amusing, and definitely should be enjoyed with a cup of tea, some Walker’s shortbread rounds, and maybe your favorite pair of plaid socks.




•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•



Rachel Hawkins is the author of Rebel Belle and the New York Times bestselling series Hex Hall. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English for three years before becoming a full-time writer. 


 TWITTER  •   TUMBLR



Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Sky Without Stars
by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

hitting shelves April 2nd 2019  
from Simon Pulse
In the tradition of The Lunar Chronicles, this sweeping reimagining of Les Misérables tells the story of three teens from very different backgrounds who are thrown together amidst the looming threat of revolution on the French planet-colony of Laterre.

A thief.
An officer.
A guardian.

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .


When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

My thoughts:  Again, I know this one is sooo so far off, but holy beans, I saw that cover and was instantly insane for this book! Then I spied that synopsis---all I needed was that comparison to Lunar Chronicles and Les Mis and I was 100% sold. WANT. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel {cover reveal}

Last year I was completely taken with Meg Kassel's stunning debut, Black Bird of the Gallows. Did you read this one?? If not, pick it up asap!! It's such a great unexpected and chilling tale which feels nostalic and familiar in some ways but the threads of the story twist off in such surprising ways! I loved it. You can check out my feature of Black Bird of the Gallows here on Instagram.  But today, I taking part in the cover reveal of the gorgeous cover for book 2!! 

Feast your eyes on this beauty: 

Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Entangled Teen

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.



• About the Author •

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson's School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.


Author Links:   Website  •  Twitter   •   Instagram  •   Facebook 

Find the book:  Goodreads • Amazon BookDepository • Indiebound


Cover Reveal Organized By:

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.


The Hummingbird Dagger
by Cindy Anstey

hitting shelves April 16th 2019  
from Swoon Reads
A brother and sister are caught up in a deadly mystery after they take in a young woman who lost her memory in a near-fatal carriage accident in this YA thriller from the author of Love, Lies and Spies.

1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn't think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family's manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister Caroline, Beth—as she takes to calling herself—slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the nefarious circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.

My thoughts:  Oh, I know this one is ridiculously far off, but I'm already crazy with anticipation! Love the sounds of the creepy Victorian London mystery and I have to admit that I was first drawn to this one by it's gorgeous cover---it gives me some major Jackaby feels! I can't wait to immerse into all the danger and lost memories and nightmares...this sounds incredible!

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan {audiobook review}



The Astonishing Color of After 
by Emily X.R. Pan
♦publisher: Little Brown BYR
♦release date: March 20th, 2018
♦hardcover, 462 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand alone
♦source: Audible
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

{Becky's Review}

There will always be those books, I think, that effect and touch us so immensely that it's just sort of impossible to put thoughts into coherent words for the sake of a review.  I don't come across them often, but when I do?  Amazing, and I immediately set about getting everyone I can to read it, too.  The Astonishing Color of After was one of those rare finds for me. It's taken me a while to start this review, I just can't seem to find the right words, and all the ones I do think of just somehow don't seem adequate: stunning, heartbreaking, sorrowful but healing, thought provoking, emotionally authentic, awe-inspiring. So much more. And speaking of inspiring---it was creativity inspiring, insight inspiring, hunger inspiring (lol), and sparked a definite desire to travel and immerse myself in other cultures, to find out more about my family history, and to tell the people I love how much they mean to me.  Isn't it amazing the things that reading a great story can do to us?

I listened to this one on audiobook, and I highly recommend this route.  There is a lot of mandarin chinese in this book and it is absolutely beautiful to hear it spoken as it's meant to be. The narrator and tone is pitch perfect and I felt like Stephanie Hsu did an amazing job with so many different characters of all ages and sexes and ethnicities. 

Leigh and her best friend, Axel are sharing their first cautious kiss at the same moment her mother is home commiting suicide after a long struggle with depression. While stricken with her grief and guilt, she begins to see a beautiful red crane and convinces herself that the bird is her mother. A chain of events leads her to Taipei, where her mother grew up and where her estranged grandparents still live. On her journey to find the bird, she is led to all of the places that were special to her mother and gets to know her in a way she never had before. Along the way, she learns more about herself as well, how to handle her relationship with Axel, how to fight for her art against her father that doesn't seem to understand her love for it, how to work through her guilt, and how to feel comfortable in her own skin when she feels like she is halfway between two worlds. 

The writing is incredible in this. I loved the way Leigh sees emotions and moments as colors in her artful mind---I seriously want to reread this one, taking note of each color mentioned and looking them all up. Loved that her and Axel were so close that he wouldn't ask her how she was feeling, he would ask her "What color?". (In a side note, see here for something very strange that happened to me when I was listening to this one day. It was pretty amazing!). The things Leigh goes through in her friendships seemed very genuine, very real to every day teen life and I loved that---it was such a great balance to the intense things she was going through with her mother. Her journey and the incredibly detailed descriptions of her experiences in Taipei, the people, the language, the sights, the food (especially the food, such glorious descriptions!)--it all just brought this story to extremely vivid life. There's also a bit of magical realism that adds so much to Leigh's story. I couldn't help but feel every emotion right along side Leigh as the story jumped from past to present bringing her mother's and her own life completely into focus. It's been a while since I both laughed out loud and cried so, so hard at one book. But this one had me by the heart and didn't let go until the last pages and beyond, with the authors very heartfelt afternote. I think it's pretty clear how much I loved this story, and I hope every reader finds time to pick this one up. 



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•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•



Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top twelve books of the season. Emily currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA in fiction from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She was the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine, a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi, and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology


WEBSITE  •  TWITTER  •   INSTAGRAM

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Audiobook:  Audible   

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Book Birthdays {May 18, week 5}


It's Book Birthday time!!

In this weekly post, I talk about a few of the books I'm excited to read that are hitting shelves this week.  Are you with me on any of these? Are there books coming out you're running to the store or stalking your mailman for that I haven't mentioned here?  Hey, feel free to comment and sell me on them! :D
And don't forget to enter down below for a chance to win ANY May YA book your little heart desires! 🎁




by Rae Carson
Confession---I love that they have some of our fave YA authors penning Star Wars backstories. The newest one is, of course, timed perfectly with the release of SOLO (which I haven't seen yet, but so nervous, guys---Han Solo was my childhood!!♥♥♥), and written by the amazing Rae Carson. WANT. 
{Disney Press}
Amazon  •   BookDepository





by Stephanie Garber
This one needs very little explanation. I loved Caraval with all it's mystery and danger and magic. So ready to step back into the world!
{Flatiron Books}
Amazon   •   Book Depository






by Jay Kristoff
I've actually only read one Kristoff books (Nevernight), but his world building amazing and I love that pulls no punches on shock value. S0 I'm excited to see him create a story about a floating junkyard, robot gladiators, and android love LOL. 
{Knopf BYR}



 




by Kasie West
Kasie West books always look like the best way to start out summer to me. :)  I hear such great things about her writing and this story looks especially cute. Will have to great some sweet tea and a blanket and head outside to try this one out!
{Scholastic Point}




Last day to enter for a May release!! Which May book would you choose if you win??

*       *       *       *       *  

Enter to win any YA book published in May 2018!

(note: this is the same giveaway entry form in all book birthday posts for the month.)
One winner will win a YA May 2018 release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends May 31st
, 2018 at 11:59 PM
• Must be 13 or older.
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through BookDepository.com or Fishpond.com up to $20 value.
•Extra entries can be earned by commenting on 
any BOOK BIRTHDAY POSTS or  REVIEWS, and can be done once per post. Come back throughout May whenever you comment on our reviews and get your extra points!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Sangu Mandanna

hitting shelves September 4th, 2018  
from Sky Pony Press
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. 

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. 

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart. 

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

My thoughts:  So, as fellow readers, I know you understand when I say there are some books that just stay with you forever. Even now, 6 years later, I still consider The Lost  Girl by Sangu Mandanna one of my favorites (my testament to that here in my review). SO needless to say, the waiting and wishing for another book from this author has been constant and torturous and now it will finally be coming true!! AND its a space opera!! This sounds so incredible, and I simply can't wait. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?