Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Vanishing Throne Blog Tour: Review + Guest Post + Giveaway


I'm so excited to be kicking off this blog tour! I recently finished the first book and completely fell in love with the world and its characters. There's a lot of exciting stuff in this post, but first I'm going to review the first book.

Goodreads rating: 3.78
Paperback, 378 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Chronicle Books
Genre: YA paranormal steampunk fantasy

She's a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense thesìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She's a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.


SO GOOD!!! Also, SWOON!

I can't believe I waited this long to start this series. I'd heard good thing about the first book, so when I got the chance to be on the blog tour for the second book, I decided it was time to start this series. And I'm so glad I did! There was nonstop action from the very beginning that held until the very end, something I'm always grateful for in a fantasy. Our main character is such a badass, but also so multifaceted and relatable. I honestly felt like both of these things are what a lot of fantasies are missing these days, and I was so happy to find such wonderful qualities in this book. The writing was witty and fun at times, but with a delicious undertone of what the characters has faced and were going to face. I always find it fun to read when the characters are trying to lead their normal lives while simultaneously doing something extraordinary.

Something else I really liked about this book was that it wasn't just one thing. The story could've fit in any sort of setting, so the author did just that. It's a fantasy, but it's also historical and steampunk and paranormal. And even though this sounds like a lot, it worked so well together. It also helped to have a great cast of characters, although I wish I got to see more of Aileana's friend Catherine. I appreciated how Aileana's character was developed, and also how her relationship with Gavin wasn't a love triangle. At first I thought it was going to be, but I was happy to be proved wrong. Because I completely fell in love with Kiaran! I know he has all these secrets and a long, dark past, but he obviously has some sort of feelings for Aileana. That was such an awful cliffhanger, so I'm so glad that I have the second book in my hands already. I can't wait to see what happens!

Starting the sequel right now!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This Is Where It Ends 'Every Moment Counts' Challenge

Hi all. This is a bit of a somber post because of the recent mass killing in Orlando, Florida, but this is an issue very close to my heart. And I think, now, close to all of our hearts. What I'm posting about today is a book that should really speak for itself (which I'll let it do in a moment) called This Is Where It Ends, and then I'm highlighting a challenge we should all try to take seriously this summer.


ABOUT THE BOOK + AUTHOR

Goodreads rating: 3.66
285 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, and geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies and is the founder of DiversifYA, and a founding contributor to YA Misfits. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at mariekenijkamp.com.




ABOUT THE CHALLENGE



Here's the sign-up page for the challenge, where it highlights what you can have a chance to win if you participate.
Here's how to post about it on social media. This page describing the challenge can do it much more justice than I, so please take a look and consider signing up.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ivory and Bone Blog Tour: Review of Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh + GIVEAWAY


Hello lovely followers! I'm very excited to be a part of the blog tour for Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh! I'm slowly trying to push myself back into the blogging world, and these kinds of posts really help.

You can find the rest of the blog tour HERE.

First, here's the book information and my review!


Goodreads rating: 4.00
Publisher: HarperTeen
Expected publication: June 7th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Fiction

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.


This book was...weird. And I still haven't decided yet whether that's a good weird or a bad weird. I'm going to attempt to write a cohesive review, but know going in that the negatives are about equal with the positives.

I think the first thing that threw me off was the tag line on the back of the ARC: "a sweeping prehistoric fantasy debut with allusions to Pride and Prejudice." That's a pretty tall order to fill (mostly the P+P part), and once those allusions started to become obvious, I got a little bored. That's always the problem with a retelling, though, and the author did find ways to throw in a couple of surprises. The thing is, a lot of times the ideas in YA are great and the execution of them turn out disappointing, but I don't believe this was much of a doable idea in the first place. Believe me, I know that was harsh; I cringed as I wrote it because I like to believe that there are no bad ideas, just like there are no stupid questions.

Mostly, my beef with this is that the way they spoke was too Victorian, even though it was supposed to be prehistoric. Plus, the customs seemed ridiculous for their situation (though I freely admit to the fact that I haven't studied this time in history except for what they teach in schools and have no idea what life was really like back then). It seems like it was more of a time for a simple life of hunting and gathering rather than high society traditions and drama. I have to try to be lenient with this point, though, because it's not like the author could make them grunt at each other, but if you're going to label it prehistoric... I guess I was just hoping for something different in the speech aspect.

The second thing that threw me off was that it's a story being told to the girl who's a gender-swapped version of Mr Darcy. So when the main character Kol (Elizabeth Bennet) was talking about her, he was always saying "you". Like, you crested over the hill, or you were being a crazy person. It was totally unnerving at times, when I really just wanted to read the story. It also doesn't really fit the P+P comparison because Elizabeth would've never told the story to Darcy, so it made Kol seem like a bit of a lovesick fool from the get-go.

I liked the beginning and the ending a lot because the Pride and Prejudice allusions were few and far between. Honestly, I think the author chose the wrong allusions to focus on--then again, I've watched the BBC version about 5 times, which if you know anything about it, that's a bit of a feat considering I only bought it 6 months ago and the running time is 5-6 hours. But I did fall in love with the landscape, and I appreciated the entire cast of characters. Mr Darcy (I mean, Mya) was a very strong, stubborn woman, and I liked her style! There really were some high points of excitement in this novel, and honestly I think I might have liked it more if I hadn't been told off-the-bat that there were P+P allusions.

I'm not sure how this will be a series, but I might be inspired to read them depending on what they're about. It would be interesting to see if they're still prehistoric but have allusions to other Jane Austen novels, or maybe even the Bronte sisters.

I give the author kudos for this idea, it just fell a little flat for me. But if you're looking for a light fantasy and are really looking forward to a prehistoric P+P, then this book is definitely for you!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Every Moment Counts Challenge Starts June 15th!


Hi all! I wanted to post about it preemptively to give you a chance to brace yourselves, but on June 15th I'll be posting about the Every Moment Counts Challenge, which is in tandem with the NY Times Bestseller This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. This is a subject very close to my heart, and I hope this challenge helps you, my lovely followers, in some way. Here's where you can find all of the information about the challenge, so be ready to make every moment count!

Official Hashtags: #thisiswhereitends, #everymomentcounts 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

YALLWEST is coming! + RT Convention in Vegas Recap

Long-time no talk, followers! I know I've been extremely quiet recently, and I know that I promised to get back in the swing of things, but I'm doing my best.


First, I want to tell ya'll about Yallwest, which is happening this weekend in Santa Monica, CA! You can find the list of authors/creators attending here, the schedule for the Saturday panels here and the Sunday panels here, and the PDF for the signing schedule here. There's also an event going on on Friday, but I won't be able to make it. I'm hoping it'll be more organized than last year, especially since there will be more authors this time around. Meanwhile, here's a short look at the schedule:

Fierce Friday: YALLWEST Preview Event (Registration required at YALLWEST.com)
Presented by Macmillan Fierce reads and co-produced by the Santa Monica Public Library
Friday, April 29; 6PM - 8PM
Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

YALLWEST Saturday
Saturday, April 30; 9AM - 6:30 PM
Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405


YALLWEST Sunday
Sunday, May 1; 10:30AM - 5PM
Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

This is the second year that this spin-off from Yallfest has been in existence, and I'm so excited to be attending it again. I was able to secure a press pass, which will allow me to go to more panels and tell you all about what goes on. I still need to decide on which ones I'll be attending, and also who I'll be bringing with me to stand in lines. Let's be real, it'll probably be my dad.


Are you going? Which authors/artists are you most excited for?

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Disclaimer

According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.