Happy Book Birthday, REBEL OF THE SANDS!

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real life or fantasy

REBEL OF THE SANDS is a special book to me. I love it the way people love the Harry Potter books or Tolkein or Narnia. It was the first fantasy I read that said everything I needed it to, that was everything I needed it to be.

Amani, thank you for being rebellious and selfish and so unabashedly yourself. Thank you for being a feminist. Thank you for kicking major ass. Thank you for the sass. Thank you for feeling lost. Thank you for losing your way. Thank you for finding your way.

Jin, thank you for your perfect face (and chest). Thank you for being a feminist (swoon). Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your traitor eyes. Thank you for your devotion–which I guess could be loyalty, but don’t ruin this with logic. Thank you for your Jin-ness which I’m just realizing I don’t really know how to explain without divulging the entire plot.

Shira, thank you for being so unabashedly yourself, no matter how insufferable you can be.  *Shira-stan flag flies*

Shazad, thank you for your epic-nose breaking-badassness. Thank you for taking risks and fighting for what you believe in.

Ahmed, thank you for your ideals. Thank you for your belief in the people you love. Thank you for the rebellion.

Delila, Imin, Bahi, *smothers you all in hugs*

These characters are as precious to me as the Golden Trio or the Fellowship. This world is as beautiful as Hogwarts and Middle Earth, with myths and fairy tales weaved into the narrative and brimming with magic on every page.

The happiest of book birthdays to you, REBEL OF THE SANDS, and my friend, Alwyn Hamilton. You have crafted a magnificent story I have read over and over again with the same levels of enthusiasm each time, and I expect many readers will feel the same.


~ABOUT THE BOOK~

rebel of the sands coverTitle: REBEL OF THE SANDS
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Pub Date: March 8, 2016 from Viking Books for Young Readers/Penguin/Faber + Faber
Amazon: Buy it!
B&N: Buy it!
Waterstones: Buy it!
Book Depository: Buy it!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves 
or borrow it from your local library 🙂

Find Alwyn on tour around the US with other Penguin authors!

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

 

The Tsar’s Guard: THE CROWN’S GAME Soundtrack + Giveaway

Hello and welcome to The Tsar’s Guard Parade!

The Tsar’s Guard are a legion of readers who are super excited for the release of The Crown’s Game. Read on for more info about this amazing book, take a listen to some beautiful instrumentals that remind me of the story, and enter the giveaway! Oh, and if you want to join The Tsar’s Guard, all the info is on Evelyn’s website (linked below!) and you should cause it’s awesome (secret emails!).

CrownsGame hc cAbout the Book:

Title: THE CROWN’S GAME
Author: Evelyn Skye
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

About Evelyn:
Evelyn Skye head shot high res

Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at http://www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram


 

~The Crown’s Game Soundtrack~

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*Picture this: Dueling magicians whose arena are the streets you take to school and to work, the bridge in the park you walk on a romantic evening stroll with your love, on a mysterious island that appears out of nowhere…

tsar's guard magician

*Picture this: A young girl leaves her village and journeys to the big city with only a token from her loving father. She is alone. She has a mission. She is powerful. And she will not lose.

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*Picture this: A boy sees a girl battle lightning. This boy soon realizes their fates are entwined in The Crown’s Game. The Crown’s Game can only have one victor.

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*Picture this: A young prince is trapped by duty and responsibility. His sister is more suited to the life planned for him. His mother is ill and his father hides dangerous secrets. He longs for a girl he saw best lightning, but destiny is a hard thing to escape.

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*Picture this: At a masked ball, a prince can finally meet the lightning girl he’s been longing for. Two dueling magicians can finally share a dance.

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*Picture this: Two young magicians enter a game that can only have one victor. Two young magicians are intrigued by each other anyway.

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*Picture this: A final showdown on a magical island that two magicians have made for each other. 

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*Picture this: Two young magicians keep their promise to the Crown’s Game, and a young prince faces his destiny.

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Enter the Giveaway! 

1 winner will receive an ARC of THE CROWN’S GAME. International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

^^^ clicky 🙂
Here’s an image I really loved but wasn’t sure where to use.russia winter tsar's guard


 

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Find the complete Tsar’s Guard Parade Schedule at Evelyn Skye’s website!

ARC Review: MAP OF FATES (Conspiracy of Us #2) by Maggie Hall

Check out what I thought of the second book in the high stakes CONSPIRACY OF US series!

map of fates coverTitle: Map of Fates
Author: Maggie Hall
Pub Date: March 8, 2016 from Putnam Juvenile
Amazon: Pre-order!!
B&N: Pre-order!!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves

Two weeks.

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever. In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny.

Now Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: In the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

Thanks to Dahlia Adler for her epic #MapofMates ARC giveaway!

I LOVED MAP OF FATES SO MUCH! I had high expectations for it since I loved book one so much, and it did not disappoint. It was one of my most anticipated sequels, as you know, since I did a Waiting on Wednesday post for it. I’m happy to report the plot did not unfurl the way I expected it to, and that was totally fine.

Here’s some backstory for you about me. When I read The Conspiracy of Us, I was intrigued by that beautiful cover, and the comp title to Ally Carter, who basically made my middle and high school reading life. I was obsessed with Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. Those books were some of my favorites. The last Gallagher Girls book came out my freshman year of college and it was so surreal for me to have started this series pre-high school and be reading the last book as a freshman in college. Anyway! I started Conspiracy of Us, got hooked on page one, but then Avery made some questionable decisions and the plot kind of descended into cliche territory. I kept with it, hoping the magic of page 1 would return, and once Prada happened–around the 80pg mark–I was totally back on board and in it to the end.

With Map of Fates, I was in it from page 1. This book grabbed me and did not stop. Avery had such great growth and dimension to her. I loved seeing new sides to her and seeing how all the madness was affecting her.

map of fates

In Conspiracy I shipped both sides of the love triangle, leaning a little more to Jack, but still open to Stellan. The second installment brought more shipping, and I think I’ve landed firmly in Stellan-land. Oh my gosh. Stellan. He just shines in this book. So there’s one specific scene that just had me dying and someone else might be dying in it too, but I shipped it so hard even though it maybe the most unsexy scene ever. Oh, wait, but then there’s another one with a head injury… and another with alcohol and bar stools. Ah! I just love it ALL.

On the Jack front, his character develops too, but it never feels like we’re learning these things about him to make us ship Avery/Stellan. It feels organic to his character, like we’re peeling back his layers. I just love really good character development.

Luc!! Elodie!! My babies! I love them. When we see Luc for the first time in this book is one of my absolute favorite moments of any book ever. I was laughing so hard I needed to snap a picture of the scene.

Clearly I love the main characters of this series dearly, but I also love the writing. It’s so readable and evocative. All the different countries are well drawn and even the other families of the Circle come to life in their own ways. Map of Fates delves deeper into the twelve bloodlines and I never got bored reading those scenes, like I was waiting until Avery joined up with her friends. I loved meeting all the characters and their worlds.

What about stakes, you ask?? Oh, well let me tell you. The stakes get bigger. Order vs Circle is not so clearly defined anymore and the consequences are far reaching. I mean, they always have been since the Circle basically controls the world, but they feel very grounded in this book.

There was one plot point that happens towards the end that felt a tad sudden. It didn’t have the emotional impact on me it should have because I found it rushed. But it’s a minor issue to me and I suspect it will have an effect on Avery in book 3, so maybe there will be more chance for development there.

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates are super fun novels that define escapism. They’re such a joy to read, packed with excitement, adventure, and scorching romance. I’m so excited for book 3, but sad it’ll be the end of such a wonderful trilogy. I can’t recommend this series more highly! This is something I’ll definitely reread. And they’d make such great movies! Where are you, Hollywood?????

ps These books look great next to cats.

map of fates cat

Cover Thoughts
Think pink!!

Favorite Quote
Look, I want to share with you all the things that made me laugh and/or swoon, but you just need to experience it yourselves. Sorry not sorry.
peter-pan-sorry-not-sorry

Favorite Character
ALL OF THEM. I WILL CUDDLE THEM ALL.
my-babies belle ouat

Best Books I Read in: January (and You Should Too)!

Sorry I left you guys waiting for this month’s list a couple extra days longer. I got distracted with snow and school and watching The Royals.

So in January I read a whooping 16 books! That must be an all-time best. I wanted to read as much as I could before the semester started–though I still read a fair amount the last two weeks of January, balanced with school work. Let’s get started!

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Short version here!
-WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin [asfghjkl masterpiece]
-MAP OF FATES by Maggie Hall [swoon]
-KILL THE BOY BAND by Goldy Moldavsky [this book is effed up]
-EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone [cute! poetry! yay!]
-THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton [yessssss]

Longer/cooler version here!

wolf by wolf

OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. I love it SO much. I read it in a day because I just could not stop. I don’t think I’ve ever really read an alternate history book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was also wary of the subject matter since we’ve had a crop of Nazi Romance Book scandals in the last several months + last semester I took a class on Genocide, so the material was close to my heart. But this. book. was. incredible. Yael is such an amazing MC–she’s been through so much shit, but she still has so much heart, and it’s beautiful. The plot is nonstop and the writing broke me. Like, I had so many feels, it was disgusting [evidence below].

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

map of fates cover.

The Conspiracy of Us was one of my favorite books of last year. I loved the characters and was totally hooked. I was so excited to win an ARC so I could read it and sate my fangirlsh needs! But who was I kidding, this book just made me need book 3! Again, spot on characters, humor, and sass. And swoony guys that actually made me CHANGE SHIPS. This has NEVER happened to me before. But as much as I love Jack Stellan, I’m here for Avery and her character growth and unraveling all the mysteries of this twisty tale. Okay, and Stellan. Full review coming soon!

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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anatomy of curiousity cover.

I’ve never really read short story collections before, but I’ve been in a writing slump recently, so I wanted to check this out since it’s a book for writers and readers. And oh man, I’m so glad I did! These stories and the writing tips/insights/notes  were incredible. The stories themselves were super interesting. I was hooked on two of them and found the other interesting but it just didn’t grab me, though the author notes were still invaluable. If you’re a fan of one or more of these authors or enjoy fantasy and richly woven stories, def check this out!

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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kill the boyband cover.

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I don’t even know how to talk about it and I want to review it, but you see how not knowing how to talk about this book could pose a problem. Just… just… I don’t even know. This magical book is somehow real. It has messy characters, insane situations, satire, a twisty plot, and GIRLS AND THEIR POWER AND FEELS. I’ll try to be coherent about this book some other time.

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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The poetry in this book is beautiful! I thought it was also interesting to see a different manifestation of OCD that had more to do with invasive thoughts than the more well known neurotic tendencies. Even though this book deals with a heavy subject, it was a fluffy easy read with fun characters and a cute ship.

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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What are the best books you’ve read recently? Have you read any of these?

 

ARC Review + Playlist + Giveaway: THE GIRL WHO FELL by S.M. Parker

Welcome to The Girl Who Fell Blog Tour!

blog tour banner - the girl who fell

the girl who fell

 

Title:The Girl Who Fell
Author: S.M. Parker
Pub Date: March 1, 2016 from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Amazon: Pre-order
B&N: Pre-order 
Book Depository: Preorder here!
Kobo: Preorder here!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves 

In this gripping debut novel, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense and volatile relationship—by the new boy in school.

His obsession.
Her fall.

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

THE GIRL WHO FELL was one of those books that sucks you in and makes you feel everything.

The story isn’t solely within the pages, but all around you. I felt like I was in that relationship with Zephyr. I felt groggy and isolated and broken. Alec wasn’t just Zephyr’s bane but he became mine, too. I read THE GIRL WHO FELL and fell.

Okay, that last bit is dramatic. BUT, I really did feel like I was in an abusive relationship while reading. It nailed everything. It brought my back to my psych classes. It was done so well.

Don’t let that scare you because the payoff, oh the glorious payoff. It was everything I needed. It was everything Zephyr needed. It was everything girls everywhere need.

Zephyr may fall, but she rises stronger in many ways.

It’s a beautiful story to see a girl lose herself and find her way back wounded, but not a victim. Zephyr is more than her trauma. She is not defined by it.

top model feels

In some ways this book feels like a character study. Zephyr’s home, friends, and school life are all integral pieces of this book. I really appreciated seeing such a fully fleshed picture being drawn. Also, her dog automatically hated Alec and I did a fist pump!

I really loved her best friend, Lizzie. She was great and supportive and everything you want in a bestie. Zephyr’s other best friend is a guy named Gregg, who she’s been friends with for a long time, and he when he finally makes his deeper feelings known, he seriously blows it. For awhile I was kind of disappointed that Gregg had feelings for Zephyr, but I found their development done well and a counterbalance to the toxicity of Alec. Gregg is definitely not her knight in shining armor, and he doesn’t swoop in to save the day, but he and his feelings also doesn’t take away from Zephyr and her story.

Then there’s Alec. Oh man. I wanted to punch him the entire book. I wanted to grab Zephyr and tell her to run. This creep knew exactly what he was doing and how to weasel his way into every single facet of her life. He could have been Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. He wants all the control.

This story also dealt with growing up in nuanced ways. There comes a point in everyone’s life where they learn to see their parents as humans who are still making mistakes. There’s also the end of high school, the fear, and loss of safety that comes with that. This gorgeous book examined all of these.

Reading The Girl Who Fell was a painful experience, but also a beautiful one. Seeing Zephyr try to come to terms with what had happened and move forward with her friends and family at her side means so much, and I’m sure it will to readers who can identify with Zephyr more than I can. No matter what your abuser tells you, that you’re alone and unworthy of love, there will always be people who stand behind you. This isn’t just a book, but a love letter to girls everywhere. 

Cover Thoughts
hug trish jessica jones

Favorite Quotes
I fall into her arms and the deluge begins. I cry for Boston College. For the lines being blurred. For doubting Alec. For believing in Alec. For forgetting me. For believing in the new me Alec made. I hate all of me and most of me and I don’t know how to escape the skin I’m in.  

I have a lot of favorites, they’re so amazing you need to read them all when you reach them. So that’s the only one I’m going to leave here. Just a reminder this is from an ARC, so the actual line might be a little different.

Favorite Character
My sweet Lizzie! Who stood by her friend through everything and was ready to punch Alec in the face.
holland punch

Thank you Brittany for letting me be a part of this blog tour! Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for providing an e-arc. And thanks to S.M. Parker for writing such a lovely/feelsy book and being so supportive of bloggers and readers.

As a treat a playlist inspired by this book is below! 🙂 Here’s a link to listen to it on 8tracks (it even has annotations), but there’s a Youtube mix embedded here, as well.


 

Tracklist!

PART I: girl meets boy.

  1. The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls: This song has a way of just sucking you into it and it’s all about meeting someone and escaping together. It’s all encompassing, which is how Zephyr feels about Alec.
  2. Friday I’m In Love by The Cure: Another song about meeting someone and being in love and that’s all that matters.

PART II: girl loses self. 

  1. Colors by Halsey: This is where things to take a darker turn, where “love” takes over. You lose yourself. Everything is about the other person. Even though the boy in this song leaves her alone, I felt like that wasn’t the most important part of the song (since Alec by no means leaves Zephyr). For me, Colors is about losing yourself in a relationship and even if Alec never leaves her physically, he was never there for her emotionally.

PART III: girl is lost.

  1. Hypocrates by Marina and the Diamonds: This is the beginning of the awakening.
  2. Get Home by Bastille: How do you fight? Can you go back?

PART IV: girl fights.

  1. Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift covered by For King & Country: To me, this song feels like someone running away from something awful, trying to get out of the woods, searching for peace (“are we in the clear yet”).
  2. Don’t Forget Where You Belong by One Direction: Zephyr was never alone; she has people who love her standing by.
  3. Fight Song by Rachel Platten: Speaks for itself 🙂

 


 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

^^^^^^^ DO IT 😀

girl who fell graphic


ABOUT THE FABULOUS AUTHOR

shannon

Shannon Parker lives on the Atlantic coast with a house full of boys. She’s traveled to over three dozen countries and has a few dozen more to go. She works in education and can usually be found rescuing dogs, chickens, old houses and wooden boats. Shannon has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and ridiculous laughter—ideally, at the same time. The Girl Who Fell is her first novel. Find her at www.shannonmparker.com

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


FOLLOW THE TOUR

Tuesday, Jan 12: Blessie @ Mischievous Reads Dreamcast
Wednesday, Jan 13: Emily @ Emily Reads Everything Review
Thursday, Jan 14: Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles Tour Group’s Favorite Quotes
Friday, Jan 15: Tika @ Fangirl Confessions Movie Playlist
Saturday, Jan 16: Kristen @ My Friends Are Fiction Review
Sunday, Jan 17: Melanie @ One Less Lonely Blog Review + Interview
Monday, Jan 18: Cyra @ Rattle The Pages Review + 5 Reasons You Need to Read TGWF
Tuesday, Jan 19: Jocelyn @ Novels and Necklaces Interview
Wednesday, Jan 20: Cat @ Let the Pages Reign Review
Thursday, Jan 21: Aentee @ Read at Midnight 5 Ways TGWF Destroyed YA Tropes + iPhone wallpapers
Friday, Jan 22: Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles Review + Interview
Saturday, Jan 23: Joey @ Another After Thought Review
Sunday, Jan 24: Stefani @ Caught Read Handed Review + Interview
Monday, Jan 25: Hanna @ Two Sisters Blogging Review
Tuesday, Jan 26: Michella @ YA Books Girl Review + Playlist
Wednesday, Jan 27: Michelle @ Dreaming of Alba Review
Thursday, Jan 28: Jamie @ Books and Ladders Review + Interview
Friday, Jan 29: Eileen @ BookCatPin Review
Saturday, Jan 30: Brian @ Brian’s Book Thoughts Review
Sunday, Jan 31: Sarah @ The YA Book Traveler Review + Interview

ARC Review + Playlist: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman

Check out what I thought of BLACKHEARTS, a YA Debut by Nicole Castroman. Spoiler alert: I LOVED IT.

blackheartsTitle: Blackhearts
Author: Nicole Castroman
Pub Date: February 9, 2016 from Simon Pulse
Amazon: DO IT NOW
B&N: OR DO IT HERE JUST DO IT
Goodreads: ADD IT TO YOUR SHELVES 

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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.

Thanks to Edelweiss and S&S for granting me an e-arc!

OH. MY. GOSH. This book. It’s amazing. It’s phenomenal. I died.

Okay, let me try to be coherent. First, this is NOT a pirate book. This is a book about two people who want their freedom, who want to escape, and just happen to think they can achieve that dream via the sea. If you are expecting a pirate novel, STOP right now. Instead prepare for a beautifully drawn novel that feels like it was written in the Victorian Era. Even though Blackbeard’s time was the late 1600s to 1700s and the Victorian era was 100 years later in the 1800s, this book had that Victorian feel. The writing is so reminiscent of classic literature I felt like I was back in my Early Victorian Novels class (which is a good thing–I LOVED that class).

Honestly, the writing style did wonders for the world building. I was so totally hooked from the very beginning. I started reading at like 1am because I couldn’t sleep and the mood struck, and then 3 chapters flew by and I didn’t want to stop, but knew I had to to sleep. Then I ended up going  out of town the following day and couldn’t bring my tablet, but I was thinking about this book, wanting to come back. From the moment you start, you will not want to stop, so don’t be an idiot like me and start it when you won’t have time to keep going.

dying earlier then i died parks chris

We’ve tackled epic world building and pacing, and now let’s do characters. The supporting characters are all fully drawn, but Anne and Teach! My precious babies! Like everyone in a classic novel ever, they were obsessed with Milton and Paradise Lost. I loved this touch for reasons I can’t work out, but it just amused me (I seriously felt like I was back in class–I’m going to email my professor about this book, I swear). Their relationship developed so wonderfully. I shipped it hard. Teach shipped it hard. I mean, he nicknamed Anne Queen Anne! He worshipped her. It was beautiful.

Anne was a fantastic strong willed character. And she likes pockets and had them sewn into all her dresses! She held true to her ideals and knew how society viewed her and struggled with being fearless, as a result. But she truly was, in every sense of the word, pretty fearless, in my opinion. She was kind, too, and intelligent. However, she had a bit of pirate in her. Anne was so multi-layered and complex and incredibly real. She’s one of my favorite heroines.

Teach was like a hurricane. I don’t even know, okay. He barreled into this book and had a lot of feels. He gave me a lot of feels. He gave everyone a lot of feels.

doctor who feels

I am in love with this book.

I am also in love with this cover. A ship in a bottle is never mentioned in the book, but once you’ve finished reading it makes total sense and has wonderful symbolism. The ship is the freedom Anne and Teach both want, but they can’t have it. It’s bottled up and put on display. It’s just out of reach. It’s a decoration, not meant for them to truly have, but to admire.

This review is longer than they usually are because I honestly just adored this book so much. I was so excited for it and it totally delivered. It was more than I thought it would be. Blackhearts was an epic read that reminded me of Jane Eyre and other Victorian novels. Strong characters, an amazing imaginative story, and gripping pacing make this a MUST READ.

Cover Thoughts
emma ugly sobbing ouat
Still. Not. Okay. It’s so beautiful but now I only feel PAIN!

Favorite Quotes
I HAVE SO MANY BUT I DON’T KNOW WHICH ONES TO SHARE. Let’s go with these (but remember they’re from an ARC and may not be totally accurate):

Some funnies: “Oh, what do you propose we do? Are we going to break into someone’s vault? Or do you prefer something less dramatic, like stealing their sheep?”

Henry had said he would make her pay if he heard she’d caused any problems for Master Drummond. Hitting the master’s son between the legs with a pail was certainly problematic.

Some badass Anne moments: “Perhaps you are too used to people bowing to your believed superiority, and don’t understand when your presence is not desired.”

“I do not mean to sound ungrateful, but I’m tired of others directing my life. I’m ready to take charge of it and see where my choices lead me.”

Some shipping feels: They could be on opposite sides of the world, but she would always be his, and he would always be hers.

Favorite Character
ANNE FOREVER AND ALWAYS, MY QUEEN ANNE.
elizabeth swan pirates annoyed irked blah hat

 

PLAYLIST TIME! 🙂
I had to do something extra special for this book cause I’m currently nursing a killer book hangover! It amazed me how many One Direction songs totally fit Anne and Teach, so I made a crack!Blackhearts playlist! This is totally just meant for fun.

Track List

  1. Ready to Run: Ummm, this is SO them. Anne and Teach BOTH want to get away–they’re ready to run–and they totally want to each other by their side.
  2. Strong: Anne is an orphan and Teach and his dad have a tough relationship, but the love they have for each other makes them stronger and they embrace it.
  3. Girl Almighty: Hello, Anne, my girl almighty. “Some say she’s a fake…” this will make sense once you hit the end of the book. #Ow. But “there’s something happening here, I hope you feel it too” is basically Teach’s line of thought the entire book and he asks her something similar eventually.
  4. One Thing: Anne has that one thing!
  5. Perfect: Anne and Teach are totally perfect for each other (they both like having secret little rendezvous, going places they can’t even pronounce, and doing whatever they’ve been dreaming about), and they know it. The lyrics are so beautiful because it’s about a love that can’t last forever and you know Anne/Teach are not destined to live happily ever after. Spoiler alert: Blackbeard. This. Song. Is. Them.
  6. Happily: Teach does not care what Anne being mixed race means in their stuffy racist society (“I don’t care what people say when we’re together”). He just wants to be with her happily 🙂 You can reverse the relationship the girl in the song is in here and apply it to Teach/Patience.
  7. Through The Dark: I might cry. I might actually cry.
  8. The Black Pearl: Okay, not a 1D song, but a great way to end this mix! 🙂

how i met your mother crying under desk drinking

Book Review: THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh

Check out what I thought about THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, a YA retelling by Renée Ahdieh!

wrath and dawn coverTitle: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Amazon: Get it here!
B&N: Here too!
Goodreads: Add it!

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One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Wow, wow, wow! I feel like I’m the last person on earth to read this amazing book (except I’m not because now I’m the crazy person yelling at friends to read it.) Basically, it took me so long to finally get to it because the prologue confused me to no end. So I would put it down and pick it back up and say THIS TIME… but then it would go on and on until I remembered that I tend to skip prologues anyway. So I went ahead to chapter one and voila. Book could not be put down.

wrath and dawn review

I loved this book! There were a few places where I felt like it dragged a bit and I lost the hook, BUT there were great characters and a great romance that kept me turning the pages. My only other complaint was that I felt it stuck too close to the original story, but I think that will be remedied in book 2.

I think this book will appeal to people who like romance and gorgeous writing with a side of awesome female friendship and characters. Oh, and people who like cliffhangers because seriously, that was cruel. Like, a punch to the gut cruel. It left me clamoring for book 2, which of course does not come out until MAY 2016.

dying earlier then i died parks chris

The Wrath and the Dawn will be savored by the romantic in you and you’ll turn every page wanting to know how it all plays out/breaks your heart. AND YOU WILL WELCOME THE PAIN. Then we can fangirl until May. 

Cover Thoughts
i can show you the world

Favorite Quote
“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”
I HAVE FEELS AND REJECT THIS.
emma ugly sobbing ouat

“Get up, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. You kneel before no one. Least of all me.”
american hustle dancing lol

“When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever. In this kiss. This kiss that would change everything.”
colbert book whore

Favorite Character
Oh man, I really don’t know… The main four (Shazi, Khalid, Despina, and Jalal) are my babies.
attack hug cats