Mar 6th

Review of Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Posted in Reviews

Title: Fate of the Tearling Author: Erika Johansen Publisher: Harper Date Published: November 29, 2016 Where I got the book: ARC won in a Goodreads giveaway *this is no way affects my review* Where You Can Get Book: AMAZON Synopsis from Goodreads: In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager…

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Title: Fate of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper
Date Published: November 29, 2016
Where I got the book: ARC won in a Goodreads giveaway *this is no way affects my review*
Where You Can Get Book: AMAZON
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

I really enjoyed the first two books of The Queen of the Tearling Trilogy and the way they married the feel of an epic fantasy novel with dystopian elements. I love Kelsea Raleigh–the way she’s portrayed and her believable growth from altruistic young woman to someone who’s willing to put aside their morals to do what needs to be done. There’s a progressively dark feeling to these novels.

I still love the setting. We remain in the world Johansen built, but its beginnings are fully fleshed out in The Fate of the Tearling. We get to see how their society used to be run and where everything went wrong. Seeing more of Mortmesne was particularly interesting. I have always enjoyed Johansen’s ability to give you something you have a preconceived notion of and then tear it out from under you. She frequently makes you think of things in a new way, and the Mortmesne plot lines are a good example of that.

I wasn’t a fan of The Fate of the Tearling’s storyline, however.. I liked where the story was heading when the second book ended but found myself frequently upset about how she navigated the plot in this book. I thought the Red Queen’s redemption arc was completely off the wall. It felt so out of character for the villain we had come to know. I felt that they broke her, in a sense. She came off weak. I enjoyed learning more about Row. I liked that he was given a face and backstory, but the confrontation with him felt highly unsatisfying.

I felt the narrative had difficulty carrying the multiple points of view from so many different characters. I found myself missing the rapport and witty banter between Kelsea and her guards. It took away a big part of what I enjoyed in previous books. I also felt there was too much of the dystopian element in this book. I liked getting answers and seeing a more complete history of the world, but I had such a hard time keeping track of everything that it was hard to enjoy the story. There were just too many varying points of view, and it made the narrative feel inconsistent.

Another thing I disliked were the new developments in Kelsea and Pen’s relationship. Although I don’t require romance to enjoy a story, it’s a big draw for me. I had liked where their relationship was heading, and the events of this book were frustrating with regards to them.

The Fate of the Tearling left me wishing she had written a prequel instead, so I could have fully immersed myself in the characters and storylines I had come to love throughout the series. I detested the ending. It felt as though she took everything she had spent three entire books building and blew it all apart. I like that she had the courage to go in that direction but the narrative turn seemed weak. It felt like a cop out and I found myself a little confused, wondering what precisely had happened.

I wish the series had ended with a little more hope. Perhaps that isn’t realistic, but I don’t really read fiction for realism. All in all, I did enjoy the book and it was largely well written. I just wish that the narrative had been more consistent, that more page time could have been dedicated to the storylines and characters of the present, and that the ending had been more satisfying.

The Beast is an Animal Presented by Irish Banana Tours!

Posted in Reviews
Title: The Beast is an Animal Author: Peternelle van Arsdale Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Date Published: February 28, 2017 Where I got the book:...
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Mar 3rd
9780373212194.indd

LIFEBLOOD Blitz Presented by Irish Banana Tours!

Posted in Features
LIFEBLOOD by Gena Showalter just released yesterday and I am super excited about it! I read Firstlife a few months ago and I really liked...
Read More
Feb 28th

ARC Review of City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Posted in Reviews
Title: City of Saints and Thieves Author: Natalie C. Anderson Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Date Published: January 24, 2017 Where I...
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Jan 23rd
Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten 2017 Debuts I Am Excited For

Posted in Top 10 Tuesday
First Top Ten Tuesday of the New Year!! I haven’t blogged in a really long time so I am super excited to post a TTT...
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Jan 3rd
Mar 6th

Review of Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Posted in Reviews

Title: Fate of the Tearling Author: Erika Johansen Publisher: Harper Date Published: November 29, 2016 Where I got the book: ARC won in a Goodreads giveaway *this is no way affects my review* Where You Can Get Book: AMAZON Synopsis from Goodreads: In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager…

Read More

fate-of-the-tearling

Title: Fate of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper
Date Published: November 29, 2016
Where I got the book: ARC won in a Goodreads giveaway *this is no way affects my review*
Where You Can Get Book: AMAZON
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

I really enjoyed the first two books of The Queen of the Tearling Trilogy and the way they married the feel of an epic fantasy novel with dystopian elements. I love Kelsea Raleigh–the way she’s portrayed and her believable growth from altruistic young woman to someone who’s willing to put aside their morals to do what needs to be done. There’s a progressively dark feeling to these novels.

I still love the setting. We remain in the world Johansen built, but its beginnings are fully fleshed out in The Fate of the Tearling. We get to see how their society used to be run and where everything went wrong. Seeing more of Mortmesne was particularly interesting. I have always enjoyed Johansen’s ability to give you something you have a preconceived notion of and then tear it out from under you. She frequently makes you think of things in a new way, and the Mortmesne plot lines are a good example of that.

I wasn’t a fan of The Fate of the Tearling’s storyline, however.. I liked where the story was heading when the second book ended but found myself frequently upset about how she navigated the plot in this book. I thought the Red Queen’s redemption arc was completely off the wall. It felt so out of character for the villain we had come to know. I felt that they broke her, in a sense. She came off weak. I enjoyed learning more about Row. I liked that he was given a face and backstory, but the confrontation with him felt highly unsatisfying.

I felt the narrative had difficulty carrying the multiple points of view from so many different characters. I found myself missing the rapport and witty banter between Kelsea and her guards. It took away a big part of what I enjoyed in previous books. I also felt there was too much of the dystopian element in this book. I liked getting answers and seeing a more complete history of the world, but I had such a hard time keeping track of everything that it was hard to enjoy the story. There were just too many varying points of view, and it made the narrative feel inconsistent.

Another thing I disliked were the new developments in Kelsea and Pen’s relationship. Although I don’t require romance to enjoy a story, it’s a big draw for me. I had liked where their relationship was heading, and the events of this book were frustrating with regards to them.

The Fate of the Tearling left me wishing she had written a prequel instead, so I could have fully immersed myself in the characters and storylines I had come to love throughout the series. I detested the ending. It felt as though she took everything she had spent three entire books building and blew it all apart. I like that she had the courage to go in that direction but the narrative turn seemed weak. It felt like a cop out and I found myself a little confused, wondering what precisely had happened.

I wish the series had ended with a little more hope. Perhaps that isn’t realistic, but I don’t really read fiction for realism. All in all, I did enjoy the book and it was largely well written. I just wish that the narrative had been more consistent, that more page time could have been dedicated to the storylines and characters of the present, and that the ending had been more satisfying.

Mar 3rd

The Beast is an Animal Presented by Irish Banana Tours!

Posted in Reviews

Title: The Beast is an Animal Author: Peternelle van Arsdale Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Date Published: February 28, 2017 Where I got the book: ARC received from publisher Available for Purchase From: AMAZON | Quail Ridge Books (indie) | Flyleaf Books (indie) Synopsis from Goodreads: A girl with a secret talent must save her…

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Title: The Beast is an Animal
Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date Published: February 28, 2017
Where I got the book: ARC received from publisher
Available for Purchase From: AMAZON | Quail Ridge Books (indie) | Flyleaf Books (indie)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

The Beast is an animal
It has a pointy chin
It eats you while you sleep at night
Leaves nothing but your skin”


What an incredible debut!! The Beast is an Animal is a fascinating mix of thriller and fantasy. It is written similar to a fairytale but with much better character development and connection. I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything quite like it and I’m so glad I was able to read it. The cover is SO GORGEOUS!! I love the beautiful image and the mystery invoking colors!

The story begins with a legend; a fairytale used to scare people into compliance. Or the real story behind that legend. Then we meet Alys and follow her through the trials and tribulations of her younger years. We meet friends and enemies as Alys learns to survive and encounters supernatural forces that teach her more about who she is. I love the plot. It creeps along slow and scary at times and then fills with action and new information. It has the perfect timing for the atmosphere it creates. The ending was supremely satisfying, which is something I’m very happy about as I’ve been disappointed with a lot of endings lately.

I absolutely love the setting and world-building. Defaid is a supremely creepy, terrible place. Think of it as a cult like village filled with mean, judgmental religious people. The fforest(I LOVE THIS SPELLING!) is equally creepy and beautiful. The descriptions are so well done I had a detailed mental picture as I read. The lake community was also beautiful and well described. It was just as I imagine a Roma or Traveler camp would look like. It was filled with loud, friendly people and set next to the water. I think the setting/world-building went a long way towards making the thriller/fantasy feel of this book successful. If she hadn’t done such a wonderful job describing it and making everything fit well, the plot may not have been so epic and perfect. The magical elements are also really cool. They are raw and, pun intended, animalistic. They definitely fit the plot and the world very well. I’d actually really be interested in seeing another book featuring the same Beast.

The characters were very interesting. I really liked Alys. She was a strong female main character with believable faults. When you have a book encompass both younger years and adolescent, it can be hard to show realistic changes while still keeping the things that make that character who they are. This was very well done with Alys. She never lost her need to roam but as she grew older, she learned when she could roam and where she could go. I liked her conflict within herself as well as how she interacted with all the people she meets. It felt very real and always true to character. The soul eaters, while we saw less of them, were really fascinating and vital to the book. I loved the Beast! As I already mentioned, I’d like to see more of him! Alys’ parents were also very well written characters. Most of the secondary characters in this book get less page time and less interaction, but are somehow still really well developed. It was such a joy to read a book like this. Pawl and Beti might be my 2nd favorites. They were so important to Alys’ story and their character arcs took such an interesting twist! We don’t meet Cian till over halfway through the book, but I still liked him. He is a very simple character. He doesn’t have much artifice about him and has simple lines. Somehow I still really loved him! I hope it doesn’t sound silly, but I really have never seen so little into the hearts of so many secondary characters and still enjoyed them so much. It gave me such a connection to Alice and let my mind focus more on the plot and the atmosphere without making those secondary characters seem flat, or less than. This really is a testament to the talent of the author. I think the only thing I really wished for was more of the Beast. He had a much smaller part than I expected, it didn’t change how great this book is, but I still really wanted more of him.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough! It was an incredibly impressive debut. It was so very unique and fascinating. If you love fantasy, then I don’t think you can go on without reading The Beast is an Animal, it is just too good!

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Feb 28th

LIFEBLOOD Blitz Presented by Irish Banana Tours!

Posted in Features

LIFEBLOOD by Gena Showalter just released yesterday and I am super excited about it! I read Firstlife a few months ago and I really liked it. The plot is super unique and fast paced. The idea of having a Firstlife and an Everlife and that Everlife being run by two opposing factions that both need…

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9780373212194.indd

LIFEBLOOD by Gena Showalter just released yesterday and I am super excited about it! I read Firstlife a few months ago and I really liked it. The plot is super unique and fast paced. The idea of having a Firstlife and an Everlife and that Everlife being run by two opposing factions that both need Ten. It was really exciting! I loved Ten; she is definitely a strong female main character. The boys are also extra swoon-worthy. If you haven’t read Firstlife, you should get on that! Click on the links below to grab a copy of LIFEBLOOD as well! This is one series you definitely need in your life right now!

ABOUT LIFEBLOOD:
My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten’s competition is Killian, the boy she can’t forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she’s never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

ABOUT GENA SHOWALTER:

gena-showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories”, while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Jan 23rd

ARC Review of City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Posted in Reviews

Title: City of Saints and Thieves Author: Natalie C. Anderson Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Date Published: January 24, 2017 Where I Got It: From Publisher at YALLFest 2016 Purchase via our Amazon Affiliate Link City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson was one of my most anticipated releases of…

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Title: City of Saints and Thieves
Author: Natalie C. Anderson
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Date Published: January 24, 2017
Where I Got It: From Publisher at YALLFest 2016
Purchase via our Amazon Affiliate Link

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017 and more than lived up to my hopes. The back of the book describes it as fast-paced and I certainly found myself unable to put it down. The setting is rich and the plot is gripping, but what kept me reading more than anything was the brilliantly characterized people of Anderson’s deftly crafted story.

City of Saints and Thieves takes place in Sangui City, Kenya–a city the author created, inspired in part by Mombasa and Nairobi. The story begins at the beginning of Tina’s quest for vengeance against the man she believes killed her mother, Mr. Greyhill. Years prior, Greyhill took them in after they fled from Congo as refugees, giving Tina and her sister safe haven as well as employing their mother. After her mother is found shot in his study, Tina takes her sister and flees. She takes Kiki, her sister, to a school run by nuns and Tina herself takes to the streets. There she becomes involved with the Goondas gang and discovers her penchant for thievery. As she trains and performs other tasks for the gang, she bides her time–her ultimate goal is to punish the man responsible for her mother’s death.

Tina is a strong character, powerful and angry but nuanced as well. The story is told from her first person point of view, at times terse but also beautifully written. While the story contains elements of romance, at no point does it cause her to lose sight of her goals or become less her own driven, intelligent person. She fights fiercely for revenge, for knowledge of her family’s past, for those she loves; she also has great emotional depth and isn’t portrayed as one dimensional. We follow her through the streets of Sangui City, to the rich neighborhoods that overlook it, and even back to her homeland of Congo. She’s on a journey to seek not only vengeance, but the truth–which ends up being far more complicated than the reader can imagine.

On this journey, she’s accompanied by two others: Boyboy and Michael. Michael is Greyhill’s son as well as Tina’s love interest, and I have to admit that I didn’t care for (or about) his character all that much. Boyboy was brilliant, however, and one of my favorite characters. He is Tina’s go-to guy for jobs that require technological know-how as well as one of her closest friends. In addition to being just as nerdy as one would expect given his role, he’s a flamboyant gay man. His characterization is unique and authentic. At times he provides a little levity, at times he delivers emotional depth. He is loyal, intelligent, funny, and is an integral part of Tina’s story.

While she played a smaller part, Catherine is probably the character who stuck with me the most after reading. I won’t speak too much about her to avoid any content that might be construed as a spoiler, but I would have loved to see more of her in the story–and I did love her role in how the climax resolves.

I highly recommend City of Saints and Thieves to all readers. There is definitely some content that could be disturbing to readers–war, sexual assault, and the brutal effects of colonization and greed are all themes explored. I didn’t find any of these things to be excessively graphic, however, and I believe the were important to the authenticity of the story. I also found that while these things are important to the story, Anderson doesn’t portray a one-dimensional, monolithic Africa that we frequently see represented in Western media. There is struggle and suffering, but also an exploration of the rich culture of Kenya and Congo, with characters who use modern technology and go about their daily lives like anyone else in the world–something that often isn’t addressed in depictions of Africa that we’re exposed to. City of Saints and Thieves was a brilliantly written book, full of twists and turns, emotional ups and downs, and well fleshed out characters. I hope I’ve convinced you to pick up a copy and give it a try!

Top Ten Tuesday
Jan 3rd

Top Ten 2017 Debuts I Am Excited For

Posted in Top 10 Tuesday

First Top Ten Tuesday of the New Year!! I haven’t blogged in a really long time so I am super excited to post a TTT today. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Go check out their Top Ten and others on their site today! The following is…

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First Top Ten Tuesday of the New Year!! I haven’t blogged in a really long time so I am super excited to post a TTT today.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Go check out their Top Ten and others on their site today!
The following is my list of Top Ten 2017 Debuts I Am Excited For.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
Honestly, Nic Stone’s review on Goodreads tells you better than I can, why you should read this book! Seriously though, sounds like some A+ anti-capitalist dystopian adventure with an ethnically diverse cast. Enough said!

27 Hours by Tristina Wright
From Goodreads, “27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.” Gay romance and space adventures?! I’m so down for that!

wintersong

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Retelling of The Goblin King!!! That is all you need to know!

empress-of-a-thousand-skies

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Action packed science fiction novel with diverse characters?! Sign me up folks!

Garden of Blood and Dust by K.K. Perez
From Goodreads, “A YA fantasy inspired by the legend of Elizabeth Bathory, the world’s first female serial killer, pitched as a cross between Maleficent and American Horror Story.” Done. Sold. You mention Elizabeth Bathory and Maleficent in the same sentence and I’ve already signed up! As soon as it becomes available for pre-order it will be IN MY CART!

royal-bastards

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
A group of noble teenager bastards and a princess trying to thwart a plot and avert a civil war? Sounds delightful!

gilded-cage

Gilded Cage by Vic James
Aristocrats, revolution, magic, and romance!! I’ve been waiting for this book for ages!

daughter-of-the-pirate-king

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
A female pirate captain!! This swashbuckling adventure should definitely be on you TBR!

blood-rose-rebellion

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
I’m a big fan of the historical fantasy genre and this book has the potential to be my favorite yet! We’ve got magic, Victorian society, Austro-Hungarian society, and what seems to be a look at the Roma in Hungary? Not going to lie, I’m really hoping for some good, honest Romani rep!

caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
A novel with romance, fantasy, and sisters?! I’m definitely here for that!

Are any of these books on your 2017 TBR? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!