Friday, April 22, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi | Review

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi | ReviewThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 26th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

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The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel, will have you shaking your head in disbelief that it is, in fact, a debut novel.  The Star-Touched Queen reads like Roshani Chokshi has been writing her whole life and I’m sure this will not be the only wonderful, heartbreaking book we get from her.

Pros:

  • Romance: While it might come across a bit like insta-love at first, that really isn’t what is going on. Amar and Maya didn’t really have much of a choice when it came to starting up a really quick relationship.  They got married the first time they met.  That’s just how it was.  However, their attraction made their marriage not quite as tough as it could have been.  Amar and Maya’s personalities fit together and they each brought different things to their relationship and their roles as leaders.  While Amar was quite closed off and a bit hard to read, Maya was the opposite.  She had a bit of a temper and she wasn’t afraid to say what she wanted and to go after it.  It also didn’t hurt that once they got to know each other, their chemistry was even better.  Roshani Chokshi managed to make all of their scenes together both steamy and sweet.
  • Characters: It’s not often that I like all the characters and find them to be well-developed but that was the case with The Star-Touched Queen.  Maya was dealt a poor hand in life due to her horoscope and the kingdom she lived in.  It was predicted that she would bring death and destruction to whoever she married.  It made many people scared of her and needless to say, made marriage kind of out of the picture for her.  Not that she minded that.  She smart and witty and fierce.  Amar, like I said, was kind of mysterious, in a tall, dark, and handsome way.  His personality was hard to gauge at first but once in his kingdom, he started to come out of his shell more.  He was sweet but also smart and cunning.  The harem wives were all very superstitious women who were pretty terrible.  Gauri, Maya’s half-sister, was adorable at first and fierce later on.  She was strong and smart and willing to do whatever it took for her kingdom and the people she loved.  Gupta was funny and a little odd.  Kamala had to be my favorite though.  I can’t even begin to describe her but she was funny in a morbid and quirky way.  She was fiercely protective of Maya and yet managed to keep a sense of humor even when defending her.  I wasn’t sure it was possible that even demon animals could be well-developed characters but Roshani Chokshi proved me wrong.
  • Setting: The Star-Touched Queen is set in both the kingdoms of Bharata and the kingdom of Akaran.  Both settings were extremely vividly detailed.  Bharata was both a gorgeous kingdom and a kingdom torn apart by war.  The Night Bazaar seemed like an awesomely creepy place but maybe could have used a little more development.  Akaran was, by far, my favorite though.  There were mirrors showing everything but your reflection, gardens made out of glass, and a tapestry full of mystery and fate.
  • Plot: At first, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to get with The Star-Touched Queen.  The synopsis on the back of the book doesn’t really say much and I actually really like that about it.  I went in not knowing what to expect and I felt like I got more mystery out of it.  There were a few things that I guessed along the way but I think if I had actually read the full synopsis, I would have guessed them a lot sooner.  However, I think I only guessed those things because of my knowledge of some Indian folklore.  If you don’t know any Indian folklore, you are in for a lot of twists and turns and I was still shocked by a lot of things.  Things are a little slow to start but not very.  Maya’s story really starts to take off early in the book and since it is a standalone, everything has to happen pretty quickly.  That’s not to say that anything is rushed though because it’s not.  And since it is a standalone, everything was wrapped up quite nicely and while I would never say no to more stories set in this world, I was happy with how things ended.

Overall, The Star-Touched Queen has a spot on my favorites shelf, that’s for sure.  I highly recommend it, especially for fans of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.  While the stories are each uniquely different, I couldn’t help getting the same type of vibe from this one and that is high praise.  I look forward to more from Roshani Chokshi.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by J.R. Ward | Review

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by J.R. Ward | ReviewBlood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #1
Published by Signet on December 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 397
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

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I admit I wasn’t sure that I wanted to start this series.  While I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I’m already 14 books in with that one and I have a feeling the Black Dagger Legacy series will be just as long.  I don’t normally get into series that go on that long but I really liked Paradise and Craeg from The Shadows so I wanted to continue their story.  I’m happy I chose to start this series and I plan on keeping up with it as the rest of the books come out.  I don’t know why I’m surprised that J.R. Ward  has hooked me once again.

Pros:

  • Story: The story hooked me from page one.  I loved the idea of having some new members trained to join in on the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s fight against the Lessening Society.  I also loved the idea of seeing what goes into the training required to be a fighter with the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  While this was a huge part of the story, it wasn’t the whole story.  J.R. Ward is a master at weaving together multiple stories and she did a great job with everything that was included in Blood Kiss.  Craeg and Paradise’s story takes center stage and much of their story involves the training program but they aren’t the only two who have a role in Blood Kiss.  Marissa and Butch’s story is brought back to front and center when a severely wounded female is found outside Safe Place.  The mystery surrounding her circumstances not only brings in the new trainees but also brings to light some issues that Marissa and Butch have been having with their relationship.  There is so much going on in the story that you will not be able to stop reading.
  • Characters: I loved being introduced to so many new characters while still showing us all the original characters we’ve come to love from the original series.  Weaving together both Craeg and Paradise’s story with Butch and Marissa’s really worked for Blood Kiss. I didn’t feel like it was one of the original books but we still got to see glimpses of everyone else.  The trainees were a varied mix of people that I grew to love over the course of the book.  Paradise was raised to be part of the upper class but that’s not what she wanted out of her life and she was willing to do whatever it took to change her circumstances.  Craeg was a bit broody and mysterious but his story really broke my heart.  Axe, Peyton, Novo, Anslam, and the other trainee whose name I cannot remember were developed only briefly in Blood Kiss but I look forward to finding out more about all of them in the future books.
  • Pacing: While I love the original series, I felt like Blood Kiss had a bit better pacing than that series.  Things took off from page one and didn’t slow down even once.  There is no such thing as a short J.R. Ward book (which I’m perfectly happy with) but this one read a lot faster than the Black Dagger Brotherhood books and it seemed like a much shorter book.  I honestly can’t say exactly what caused that but I think readers will find that this one is actually a surprisingly quick read.

Cons:

  • Romance: While I loved Craeg and Paradise as separate characters, I wasn’t all that impressed with them as a couple.  Things between them were very back and forth and Craeg’s reactions a lot of the time got on my nerves.  Paradise was part of the trainee group because of her own merits and strengths but Craeg still looked at her like she was fragile.  He couldn’t see how he would be good for her and he kept pushing her away because of that, no matter what Paradise wanted.  Their relationship also seemed to be very physical and I would have liked to see more of the emotional side of things.

This doesn’t affect my review in any way but I felt like I should throw this out there.  If you haven’t read the original Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you can still read Blood Kiss.  You also don’t really need to read Blood Kiss to continue with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  However, I think both series’ offer more information to readers and I’d highly recommend reading both of them and reading them as they come out.  I plan on staying up to date with both series so that I don’t miss out on anything but that might just be due to my obsession with this series and all things J.R. Ward.

Overall, Blood Kiss will definitely appeal to fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and if you’ve been on the fence, I suggest checking it out.  Also, if you’ve been thinking about starting the Black Dagger Brotherhood series but are intimidated by how many books there are, you could always start with Blood Kiss and see how you feel about things before starting the other series.  I guess, what I’m saying is, check out Blood Kiss if you’re a fan of the paranormal.  I can’t get enough of these vampires.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum | Review

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum | ReviewTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

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I’m a huge advocate for contemporary young adult literature.  I love it and I think it doesn’t get enough recognition or love from a lot of readers.  Tell Me Three Things is probably going to the top of my list of recommendations, especially for those readers that don’t necessarily like contemporary.

Pros:

  • Characters: All of the characters in Tell Me Three Things were pretty much perfect.  Don’t get me wrong, they had their flaws but that only made them better.  Jessie was a little self-centered but she kind of deserved it.  Her whole life had been uprooted and things were not great at her new school or home.  Theo was one I wasn’t sure about at first but he grew on me quickly.  SN was so funny and clever and adorable.  Dri and Agnes were great friends to Jessie although I really wasn’t sure they would be at first.  The same goes for Scarlett.  She and Jessie may have been separated by thousands of miles but they worked past that.  Ethan and Liam were so cute.  Liam was a little airheaded and Ethan was a little closed off but I liked them both a lot.  Probably Ethan more though because of the whole reading thing.  I’m all for the nerds.
  • Romance: The romance in this one was different.  Jessie and SN start out flirting and then it becomes something so much more than that.  Jessie doesn’t even know who SN is but she’s attracted to him on an intellectual level and their conversations were so cute and so real.  Not knowing who he was allowed her to open up to him in a way she wouldn’t have in real life.  It was a little stalker like at times since he knew who she was and sometimes made comments about what she was wearing that day or doing but it was a cute stalker way.  And once I found out who SN really was, I could see how they were perfect in real life too.
  • Family: Jessie’s family is broken and put back together in a new way and it was definitely weird for her.  Her mom died (I’ll get to that next) and now she’s living in LA with her dad’s new wife and her teenage son.  Pretty much none of them (except her dad and his wife) want anything do with each other and I really wasn’t sure how it was going to work out.  I appreciate that Julie Buxbaum didn’t make it work out perfectly.  They were a broken family when the book started and they were still broken when it ended but they were working on it and that’s what I loved.
  • Grief: Julie Buxbaum did a fabulous job with her representation of grief in Tell Me Three Things.  Jessie wasn’t the only one dealing with the loss of someone.  Her dad lost his wife.  Theo lost his dad.  Theo’s mom, Rachel, lost her husband.  Ethan lost a sibling.  Each of them dealt with it differently.  There is no right way to grieve someone and I loved that Julie Buxbaum could show all the different ways.
  • Pacing: Tell Me Three Things is a fast-paced contemporary novel.  At no point does it drag.  I couldn’t stop turning the pages.  The mix of texting, IM’ing, and email messages interspersed throughout the novel also helped to move things along making it an extremely quick read.

Cons:

  • Mystery: Let’s be real, here.  I figured out who SN was pretty early on and I think most readers probably will.  It’s not that great a mystery.  It was just a little too perfect and while there were some red herrings thrown in, I never really thought they were him.  I’m not really complaining though because the mystery wasn’t what kept me reading.  The story was and knowing who SN was before the big reveal didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, Tell Me Three Things might just make you change your mind about contemporary novels.  Julie Buxbaum’s young adult debut hit it out of the park and I can’t wait to see what she does next.  I hope this isn’t her only foray into the YA world.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fandom of the Month Club March | Marvel

I’ve been subscribed to Fandom of the Month club for quite some time now.  It was the first subscription box I subscribed to and the one I’ve stuck with the longest.  March was an exciting month for me because the theme was Marvel.  You may not know this about me but I’m a huge Marvel fan (I have a Captain America tattoo!) so I had high hopes for this month’s box.  Sadly, I was quite let down with everything included.

Loki Magnet

The first thing I saw when I opened the box was the magnet.  Each month an exclusive magnet is included that goes along with the theme.  This month’s magnet featured Loki and I was so excited to see it.  I do love the magnet and will be adding it to the rest of my collection.

Fandom bag

Next up was the bag that all the jewelry came in.  Once again, I was pretty happy with it.  It features Nick Fury’s eye patch and the quote “I still believe in heroes.”  Good quality and it looks awesome.

Spidey

Then came the first piece of jewelry which I was not impressed with.  The bracelet this month was a cuff bracelet made up of spiderwebs and featuring a Spider Man charm.  It could have been pretty cute except the Spider Man charm just kinda hangs there and is only attached at the top so it dangles from the front when you try and wear it.  I also fear that if I do actually wear it, the charm might not stay attached since it’s not secured very well.

Cap

Next came some extremely gaudy Captain America earrings.  I’m a huge Captain America fan but these are too gaudy even for me.  I’m always happy to show my love for Cap but these are just too out there.  Maybe I’d wear them for a fan convention or something like that but that’s about it.

Thor

This next piece I actually really do like.  I’m a big fan of rings and I always love when Fandom of the Month includes one in their box.  This month’s is probably the best I’ve ever gotten.  Thor’s hammer is featured on a rather large ring (it sits comfortably at the base of my finger and goes all the way up to my knuckle).  While it does make bending my finger a little difficult at times, it’s worth it.

Tony ARC

Last was a necklace with Tony Stark’s Arc Reactor featured as the charm.  Apparently it glows in the dark?  Don’t know why and don’t really care about glow in the dark jewelry.  I wouldn’t mind this one except it’s not very well made and the arc reactor isn’t actually centered to the backing.  I’m a little OCD so that annoys me about it although I’ll probably still wear it at least once or twice.

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Overall, I’m not going to cancel my subscription because of this box because there were still a couple things that I did enjoy and will get some use out of.  I’m hoping my faith will be redeemed with the April box and we’ll see how I feel about my subscription after that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Let’s Get Personal | Discussion

With BEA just around the corner, I thought I’d talk about something kind of related to that but more just something that’s been on my mind for a while.  While it does have to do with blogging, it isn’t about books so I’d understand if you didn’t want to keep reading.

I’m a very shy person.  I can sometimes act like I’m not when I’m online and even at some book events but a lot of the time, I stick to myself.  I feel like I miss out on a lot because of this.  I sometimes come across as bitchy or stuck up but that’s not how I really am.  I don’t know how to interact with people I don’t know.  Heck, I don’t even know how to act around people I do know.  I’m extremely awkward and I’m always afraid to say the wrong thing.  Once you get to know me, I will talk your ear off and you won’t be able to get rid of me fast enough but that takes quite some time.

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I’ve also noticed that I sometimes come across the same way online.  I use Twitter a lot but I don’t have the same relationships with other Twitter people that I see some of my fellow bloggers have.  I wish I was able to form quick bonds and just make online friends like that but it’s never been that easy for me.  I get so jealous seeing all these bloggers that are amazing friends with each other because I sometimes feel like I’ll never have that.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some of my Twitter friends IRL and consider them awesome friends but I still get nervous just messaging them and I wish I knew how to keep in touch with them better.

Here’s where the blogging part really comes in.  I worry that if I don’t become more personable on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, my blog is going to become irrelevant.  It seems like everybody these days really wants to know the person behind the blog or the Instagram and let me tell you, there isn’t much to tell about me.  I’m not an interesting person.  I don’t have a whole lot to show other than lots of books and a crazy puppy.  I want to keep up with the times but I don’t know how to go about doing that.  I’m a total people pleaser and I want everyone to like me, no matter how impossible that actually is.  I feel like so often I’m trying to tailor my blog and Instagram to what other people want, rather than what I want.  I don’t want to do that but I understand the need to make things appealing for readers since otherwise there isn’t really a point to me putting all this effort into a blog that no one reads.

And since I started this post mentioning BEA, let’s get back to that.  I’m so nervous even though I’ve gone to BEA for the past 5 years!  Every year there are new people and as I’ve mentioned, I’m not good with new people.  I’ve been trying so hard this year to come out of my shell but I’m still a little afraid for how I’m going to act at BEA.  Last year was my first year not going with a group of roommates and my first day was really tough.  I almost booked an early flight home because I was so miserable and didn’t know how to change that.  Lucky for me, I met some amazing bloggers who adopted me into their group and let me tag along for all their fun stuff.  I wouldn’t have made it through without them and I’m happy to say that a bunch of them are actually going to be rooming with me this year which makes me feel at least a little better.  I don’t want to just tag along this year though.  I want to take charge and meet all the people I want to meet and not be afraid to do it.

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Not even kidding, this is me with new people.

So now that I’ve completely rambled on about my awkwardness and total lack of social skills, let’s chat.  Do you guys have social anxiety or any quirks that make it hard to meet new people?  And actually, I’m kind of okay with the meeting people, it’s getting them to want to stay friends with me that’s the hard part.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard | Review

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard | ReviewRoses and Rot by Kat Howard
Published by Saga Press on May 17th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love in this haunting debut fantasy novel from “a remarkable young writer” (Neil Gaiman).

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

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Kat Howard’s debut novel landed on my doorstep one afternoon and, after reading the blurb from Neil Gaiman, I decided I’d give it a shot.  Roses and Rot is unlike anything I’ve ever read and seriously impressed me.

Pros:

  • The writing: Kat Howard’s writing is by far the best thing this book has going for it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about Roses and Rot but the writing just stands out.  It’s so atmospheric and haunting and will have you stopping to savor it as you read the book.  I really can’t do justice to how gorgeous it is.  I marked so many quotes and I don’t typically mark any.
  • The sibling bond: Marin and Imogen have an odd relationship.  They were close growing up but grew apart when Imogen left for boarding school.  Now they are both at the same art program and it’s sister against sister for an amazing opportunity that could make all their dreams come true.  While it doesn’t seem to affect their relationship at first, things quickly come to a head and secret feelings start pouring out.  I loved that they had a close relationship but they could still fight.  Their bond was stronger than it first appeared and I’m not sure about Marin but Imogen was willing to do anything for her sister.
  • The setting: I don’t want to give a whole lot away but Melete wasn’t the only place the book was set.  Melete, however, sounded spectacular.  Everything was so detailed that I felt like I was there with Imogen.  The houses, the moat, the rose garden, the river, nothing was left unexplained and I could picture every stunning image in my head.  And like I said, Melete wasn’t the only setting for the book and the other main focal point of the book was also pretty spectacular in a very haunting way.
  • The friendships: Imogen and Marin went to Melete already having each other to rely on but everyone else was an outsider.  That didn’t stop them from forming some rather unlikely bonds.  Helena and Ariel were their other roommates and while it seemed like they didn’t have a whole lot in common with each other, they made up a pretty great foursome.  Ariel was outgoing and fun while Helena was more moody and introverted.  They all brought out different sides of each other and I liked the friendships they formed.

Cons:

  • The romance: Imogen and Evan start a romance relatively early on in the book and it seems to come out of nowhere.  They clearly are physically attracted to each other and they can appreciate each other’s talent but they didn’t seem to have much more in common.  Most of their interactions were physical in nature and they really just didn’t seem to be able to sustain more than a physical relationship.
  • The pacing: Roses & Rot is not an easy book to get into.  It takes quite some time for things to really take off.  While I was intrigued with the story, it wasn’t enough to really capture my attention and hold it.  I had to push myself through the first 50 pages or so until things really started going somewhere.  Even then it’s not a fast-paced book.  Just know that you won’t be able to really rush through this one and I honestly don’t think you should. It’s definitely a book to take your time with and really think about.

Overall, I clearly have much more good to say about Roses and Rot than bad.  While it is classified as an adult novel, I think it holds great crossover appeal for older young adult readers.  I look forward to seeing what Kat Howard does next and I highly recommend checking this one out.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead | Review

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead | ReviewThe Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1) by Richelle Mead
Series: The Glittering Court #1
Published by Razorbill on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

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Richelle Mead made me fall in love with her writing years ago when I read Vampire Academy.  I never expected to find something of hers that I loved more than that series (c’mon, Rose and Dimitri?  Can it get any better than that?) but I was wrong.  The Glittering Court is Richelle Mead’s best book so far, in my opinion.

Pros:

  • The romance: Richelle Mead’s books never lack in the romance department and that’s the same with The Glittering Court.  While the attraction between Adelaide and Cedric is immediate, the romance is not.  In fact, I was really hoping something would start up between them way before it actually did.  They built up a wonderful relationship as friends (kind of) before they ever became romantically involved and it just made it that much sweeter when they did get together.  They had some serious chemistry and some wonderful banter.
  • The story: The Glittering Court is classified as fantasy but it’s almost like an alternate history.  Adelaide and the other girls in The Glittering Court travel to a new land where they will no longer be bound by their original stations in life, whether it be a maid or servant like most of the girls or a noblewoman such as Adelaide.  While they do have to marry once they reach the new land, they get to choose their husband and can even buy their own way out of their contracts if they can come up with the money.  This new land offers religious freedom for some of them as well as a chance at wealth.  The Glittering Court almost reads like historical fiction which I loved.
  • The suspense: I never knew what was coming next and I’m still reeling over some of the things that happened.  Let me just say, if you want a neat and tidy ending with all your questions answered, this is not the book for you.  The Glittering Court is very much the first book in a series and it sets readers up with quite a few questions and only some of the answers.  Richelle Mead definitely knows how to keep her readers guessing and coming back for more.
  • The friendships: I think this is one of the big reasons The Glittering Court will appeal to Richelle Mead’s previous fans.  If you’ve read Vampire Academy, you know that Richelle Mead writes about strong bonds between friends (Lissa and Rose) and that those bonds are always amazing. That’s the same with Adelaide, Mira, and Tamsin.  They couldn’t be more different but they become fast friends during their time at the Glittering Court.  They have their fights and they keep their secrets sometimes but they always come back to each other and each girl has something unique and important to offer to the friendship.

Overall, there are no cons with The Glittering Court.  It’s perfection in book form.  Fans of Richelle Mead will find many things to love about it that will remind them of their favorite book from her.  New readers of Richelle Mead will seek out more of her work after reading this one.  You can’t go wrong with The Glittering Court.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Jungle Book | Movie of the Month

I don’t go to the movies too often but at least once a month I try to go see a new release.  For the month of April that movie is going to be The Jungle Book.  I haven’t seen the Disney animated version in years (which I need to correct) but this new one looks absolutely fabulous.

I mean, just look at this trailer!

 

I also can’t help but be in awe of the cast.  Everyone is just perfect.  It’ll be interesting to hear some of my favorite actors give voice to these animals.

the_jungle_book_poster_key_art

Do you have plans to see this one?  I’ll let you know what I think when I get the chance to see it!

Friday, April 1, 2016

10 Books I’m Dying To Read This April

April is looking to be a pretty great month for new releases.  I can’t possibly find time to read all the books I want to this month but these 10 are at least going to be added to my shelves to read later.

April's Exciting Releases

1. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Hitting shelves April 26th

The Raven King is the final book in the Raven Cycle.  If you haven’t started this series already, you’re missing out.  Maggie Stiefvater has a way of making readers adore her characters and then killing them in cruel and unusual ways.  Seriously.  How could I come to love someone that has been fated to die since book one?  I’m just asking for heartbreak.

The Raven King

2. Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

Hitting shelves April 5th

I have yet to read anything by Cinda Williams Chima but I’ve heard from my fellow readers that her books are amazing.  While this one is set in the same world as her Seven Realms series, it takes place a generation later and I have heard that you don’t need to read the other books before reading this one. It’s a high fantasy featuring a guy out for revenge and a girl on the run from the crown.  I’m intrigued.

Flamecaster

3. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Hitting shelves April 19th

If you’re a member of any fandom, I think you can relate to Scarlett Epstein.  She’s a fanfiction writer, she has tons of online friends but not a lot of IRL ones, and she (rightly) freaks out when her favorite TV show is cancelled.  She starts writing fan fiction about kids from her school and we can all guess how that turns out but I’m eager to read for myself and see how it goes.

Scarlett Epstein

4. The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows

Hitting shelves April 5th

The Orphan Queen was one of my favorite books of last year and the cliffhanger ending was probably one of the worst I’ve ever read.  Needless to say, I’ve been waiting for this one.  If you haven’t read The Orphan Queen, it’s a great fantasy novel about an orphaned queen who plans to take back her throne and save the kingdom from the evil byproduct of magic use.

The Mirror King

5. The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Hitting shelves April 26th

Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel has been getting a lot of buzz from her fellow authors as well as the bloggers who have been lucky enough to read early copies.  It’s a story inspired by Indian mythology that features arranged marriage, dark secrets, and magic.

The Star Touched Queen

6. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Hitting shelves April 19th

The blurb for this one describes it as deliciously creepy and that’d be enough to get me to read it but the synopsis sounds amazing too.  It’s historical fiction about a girl whose father is murdered and she sets out for revenge using a tree that she discovered.  When a lie is whispered to the tree, a hidden truth is told.  The tree might help her find her father’s murderer but it could also lead the murderer to her.

The Lie Tree

7. When We Collided by Emery Lord

Hitting shelves April 5th

I’m a fan of Emery Lord’s work so I’m pretty eager to get the chance to read this one.  I’ve been hearing that this one is a very emotional read dealing with mental health and I look forward to seeing how Emery Lord tackles that tough topic while also delivering another great romance.

When We Collided

8. Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Hitting shelves April 5th

Tell the Wind and Fire is loosely based on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and while that doesn’t really matter to me, I do love retellings.  However, it’s the story itself that really appeals to me.  Lucie lives in a city divided between the Dark and the Light.  While she lives in the Light now, that hasn’t always been the case and she knows some very dark secrets.  When revolution breaks out, it’s up to her to save herself and the two boys in her life.

Tell the Wind and Fire

9. Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Hitting shelves April 5th

Eidetic memory, time travel, and a race against time?  I’m a fan of all those things.  Five teens are sent to the future on a mission to bring back some data.  When they arrive they break the only rule they’ve been given and they find their future selves to see what’s happened to them.  What they find out isn’t what they hoped for and now they have to get back to the past to stop their future.

Future Shock

10. Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Hitting shelves April 5th

I’m a history minor and the Nazis/Holocaust have always fascinated me.  Girl in the Blue Coat is the story of a Dutch teenager who procures black market goods for people.  When her neighbor asks her to find a missing Jewish girl she had been hiding, she can’t resist the task and is drawn into mystery and danger in the midst of rebellion.

Girl in teh blue coat

What are you looking forward to reading in April?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Movies of March | Wrap Up

I don’t know about you guys but I have a tendency to watch the same movies, over and over.  I find one that I like and I watch it until I know every last word.  For some reason I never get tired of those movies.  This year, however, I’ve been trying to branch out and watch some new things so here are the movies I got around to in March.

Lilo & Stitch, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch, Stitch!: The Movie, Leroy & Stitch

Lilo and Stitch

I’m a little behind with these movies and my age range is probably not the target audience but who really cares?  I loved every single one of these movies, the first one probably being the best.  I think each one has a great message about family and finding where you belong.  I admit, at one point, I even cried a little.  (That’s not really saying much since I cry a lot, but still.)  If you haven’t watched these I do recommend it and if you know where I can get the TV show, let me know.  I’d like some more Stitch in my life.  He’s so adorable!

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day off

If I was a little behind with Lilo & Stitch, I was way behind with this one. I probably shouldn’t admit that I only just watched this for the first time this month but it’s the truth.  I never really wanted to watch it but a friend of mine found out and forced me to watch it and I’m glad he did.  I laughed so hard at this movie and it surprised me in a lot of ways.  I didn’t really expect anything other than a funny, feel good movie but there was a little more to it than that.

Inside Out

Inside Out

Disney has really got to stop with the animated movies that make me cry.  The last one was Big Hero 6 and now this one.  Everything about this movie was perfect.  I borrowed a friend’s copy but I need to get a copy for my own collection.  This was definitely a more emotional Disney movie and it was a little deeper than their usual ones and I loved that.  It wasn’t just for kids (although I don’t really believe any Disney movies are just for kids).  Seriously, if you haven’t seen this one, watch it now.  And if you have seen it, please tell me you loved it as much as I did.  Bing Bong!

I really didn’t get around to watching a whole lot of new movies this month but I’m happy with the ones I picked.  Next month I’m hoping to get to The Princess and the Frog, From Hell, and Dirty Dancing, just to name a few.  

Have you seen any of these?  What did you think?  What are some movies that you’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t gotten around to yet?