WoW: NEMESIS

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at BREAKING THE SPINE in which participants share their anticipated reads with the blogging community.

THIS WEEK:

This is one of my favorite anticipated reads for fall. A rivalry, high stakes, epic fantasy? YES PLEASE. Not to mention that it’s written by Anna Banks- and I will read ANYTHING she writes, hands down. And the cover. THE COVER! SO much pretty. Coming October 4, 2016, here’s

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SUMMARY:

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora’s gift could save Tarik’s kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

WHY I’M EXCITED

Like I said- I’ll read anything that Anna Banks writes. She’s absolutely AWESOME. This new, epic fantasy comes straight from my dreams, with the promise of a slow-burn romance, some political intrigue, and an ethics dilemma too good to pass up. And a Quiet Plague? I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THAT IS. So yeah, I’m really excited for this one. And I LOVE the cover. I think it totally escalates the claim of ‘fantasy’ novel to a higher degree. So many books say they’re fantasy, but only change a few things to make it that way, usually that someone somewhere has a magical power. But this? Silver skin (or war paint, either way), someone who can CREATE ENERGY, and fighting kingdoms are absolutely what I want. So kudos to Anna for making this happen, because I’m so psyched!

LINK TO GOODREADS
AMAZON
AUTHOR TWITTER || AUTHOR WEBSITE

WHAT’S YOUR WOW? LINK/COMMENT BELOW!

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RELEASE BLITZ: BLACKHEARTS!!! (+ GIVEAWAYS!)

IT’S FEBRUARY 9TH, AND THAT MEANS…

*DRUMROLL*

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BLACKHEARTS IS HERE!!!

Look, you all know by now (or should know) how much I love this book (you’d know more if you follow me on twitter). There’s no book that quite compares- this book struck me as everything that I wan tin my historical fiction and it still strikes me now. You can find my review right here if you want to know what I felt right after reading it. Perhaps even more than me, my lovely friend Stephanie (who is one of the most AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL AND PERFECT people EVER) from CHASM OF BOOKS (which, by the way, is one of the most amazing blogs EVER) is also a huge lover of Blackhearts. 

This week, we’ve teamed up to blitz the internet with the awesomeness that is this novel! With Glass Sword also releasing today, we were afraid that Nicole’s AMAZING novel might get a little lost in the shuffle of major promotion of the newest Aveyard installment. But Blackhearts is worth so much love and praise and shouting, we’ve rounded up a few others who loved it to get everyone in on the love- and in on the hashtag/street team of two:

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Use the hashtag #prepiratenation on social media to share the love! We want everyone to know about Blackhearts and how awesome Nicole is, so please, help us to spread it like jelly on toast!

In honor of the release, I’ve put together a little aesthetic for Blackhearts, one that I actually think turned out really well. I used pictures from my own pinterest as well as Nicole’s to create it, and I think this might become something I end up doing more often, because I LOVE the way this one turned out. (Although it could have turned out this well because Blackhearts is just so absolutely photogenic!)

 

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Gosh. I love looking at this beautiful cover, and I can’t wait to have to real deal in my hands- by now, my copy should be on the way! I can just smell that ‘new book’ smell, feel the smooth edges of pages against my thumb….WHOO. Can you feel it?! GET EXCITED.

I wish there was a quote I could share with you, but as of yet, I don’t have a finished copy (obviously) and therefore don’t want to share a fan art that’s wrong! But here’s something you might like a little more:

GIVEAWAYS!

GIVEAWAY #1: INTERNATIONAL!

Enter here for a HARDCOVER of BLACKHEARTS, open anywhere The Book Depository ships!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY #2: US ONLY

Enter here for a SIGNED HARDCOVER of Blackhearts, as well as SWAG!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VISIT EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THE RELEASE BLITZ!

Chasm of Books

Bookmarks (me!)

Beauty and the Bookshelf

Chasing Faerytales

Arctic Books

My Friends Are Fiction

The YA Booktraveler

Bookishness and Tea

Read.Read.Read.

Sophie Reads YA

Middle Grade Minded

 

I want to give a special thanks to Stephanie @ Chasm of Books (link above) for organizing this great release blitz. Without her, our participating blog list would be pretty short, and our giveaways would be nonexistent! So thanks, Stephanie, the best of the best.

Of course, none of this would have been possible at all without our fearless leader, NICOLE CASTROMAN! She wrote the book that brought Stephanie and I together on this, and I’m forever grateful to her for that! (P.S. We all hope there’s a sequel in the works soon! ;D)

That’s pretty much it, ladies and gents. Please, PLEASE pick up a copy of BLACKHEARTS at your local bookstore or library- you won’t regret it! And remember to tag any Blackhearts release posts or fanart on social media with #prepiratenation so we can all share the love!

BABY BOOK REVIEW: SWORD AND VERSE

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SUMMARY (goodreads):

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.

BABY REVIEW:

What a disappointment. I had high hopes for Sword and Verse. The author created a new language just for her book! If you can create a language, you MUST be able to use it, right?

Wrong.

I think she spent a little too much time on linguistics and not enough on her plot. Let me put a disclaimer that I skimmed a LOT of this book, but this was what I got from it:

BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD

 

 

Page 20: Raisa is already raised from lowest slave level to Tutor-in-training: training WITH the prince. Yeah, sure. And she avoided execution somehow, which was also unclear. Then there were the names and the places- an info dump if there ever was one. Raisa was the most normal name of any of them. I’m all for creativity, but please don’t give me 15 crazy names of people, places and things in the first 20 pages that I’m supposed to remember.

Page 30: She and the prince, who have never spoken before, ARE IN LOVE. Kissing ALL THE TIME.

Page 50: They sneak off to the library to have sex, and continue to do so several times throughout the book, even after the prince is betrothed to another girl, who’s super nice. Did I mention that she’s fifteen? But she was 14 when this love affair got started, and she barely breaks 16 by the time you actually get to the plot? Unrestrained teenage hormones are obviously a key factor in pushing this plot.

The rest (because after I spent 50 pages flipping through shivers and coos and the laughable idea that the ONLY PRINCE could sneak off so easily, for so long): There’s some kind of revolution, but Raisa is only concerned with how long it is before the prince gets married to the other girl- who is SUPER NICE, as far as I can tell. But it doesn’t seem to matter, because they still sneak off together anyway. Raisa only joins (begrudgingly) when people- important people- get kidnapped. And then there’s hardly any action, just some planning and suddenly, BAM. Raisa is the ruler of the whole place, some kind of priestess that can consult with an oracle and all sorts of random stuff like that. Good grief! A language rebellion wasn’t enough? It’s frustrating because I thought this would be in the vein of The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting, which was a great book about language and class separation. Maybe that was my mistake. But I certainly expected more than this.

I am very, very disappointed in this one. Insta-love, 8000 random characters, NO real action that I could find, and a very sketchy way of trying to have a happy ending. It would have been much more satisfying if there had been any true sacrifice from ANYONE in this book.

WHAT TO WATCH (more spoilers)

There was the bad romance, of course. Lots of not-so-innuendo about what they were doing and how. That permeated the book.

There was some violence, though not nearly as much as expected when you see the word sword in the title and a picture of it on the cover. Isn’t it supposed to be a revolution?

As far as drugs and drinking go, I couldn’t tell you, because I didn’t get that deep into it, to catch those details. The same goes for language, though I think I can safely say that since the author created a language, the curing wouldn’t be what we normally see.

The resolution of the whole affair seemed to rely on her suddenly becoming the magical priestess, something I am so not on board with. Can’t have a happy ending? THAT’S FINE. Don’t add some random plot element at the end so that everything can be hunky-dory.

This book was not for me. I thought it was awful, and yet, it was so hyped! Maybe I’ll write a post up about hype- because this is happening more and more. It’s a travesty, especially when people pre-order books based on some contrived excitement. A synopsis does not a good book make.

WoW: THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! This week, I’ve chosen a beautiful book with a beautiful author. Emily Henry is funny, imaginative, and one of the kindest people you could hope to meet. January 26th, 2016, welcome the debut novel from the girl with amazing hair:

 

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(And, I mean, that cover is my absolute fav)

SUMMARY:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

WHY I’M WAITING

Gosh. I wish I didn’t have to wait for this lovely thing to come my way. It’s romance and time travel, two of may favorite things. It’s a molasses drawl in the tune of Bone Gap, one of my favorites this year (or so I’ve heard) and that kind of slow-burn book is just my type. I like to read fast, but I can’t wait to just sit down and savor every word of this genre mix. It takes a special breed of writer to write something so thoroughly genre-bending, and to write it in a way that makes you ache for more, but I believe this will be one of them. Along with a few other 2016 releases I’ll be featuring later on, The Love That Split the World definitely deserves the hype that few books receive.

Need I say more? Because you all know that you want it, too.

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

PREORDER FROM AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE

EMILY’S  AMAZING TWITTER

What’s your WoW?

 

 

WoW: TRAITOR ANGELS

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Oh, this is one of my top 2016 releases. I CANNOT wait. Anne Blankman has written two stunning historical novels already- Prisoner of Night and Fog and Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (those names! those covers!) So, without further ado, here’s her upcoming book, coming to us May 3rd, 2016 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, here’s:

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(Have you ever seen a more beautifully simple cover? I DIE. The summary is just as good)

SUMMARY: 

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

WHY I’M WAITING

AHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHH

Look, I can’t gush enough about how amazing Anne’s books are. She took a time period I don’t enjoy reading about (WWII) and made me ONLY want to read more about the lives of Gretchen and Daniel. If someone at my job at the library asks me for a rec, I send them straight to YA BLANKMAN. I know that Traitor Angels will be no exception. Danger? Check. Intrepid, intelligent, independent heroine? CHECK. Super-hot Italian scientist? CHECK CHECK CHECK.

All I’m saying here is that there are NO complaints when it comes to an Anne Blankman novel, and I have every confidence that this newest book will fill the void in my heart where the daughter of an epic classic literature writer and an Italian scientist will live. I’ll save the rest of my gushing for my review when I finally get my hands on this one (no matter how long it takes) but PREPARE YOURSELVES for the epic storm of love.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

FIND IT ON BARNES & NOBLE OR AMAZON

ANNE’S WEBSITE AND TWITTER

WoW: IVORY AND BONE

     Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t even been thinking about Waiting on Wednesday, but I really want to get back to promoting my favorites from my TBR. This week involves some EXTREME cover-love, and I can’t wait to share it. With a release date of June 14th, 2016, from HarperCollins, and written by the lovely and talented Julie Eshbaugh, here’s:

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SUMMARY:

The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.

WHY I’M WAITING:

Ooh, I just can’t wait for this! A new flavor of historical fiction with a twist, and such a compelling summary! AND THERE MIGHT BE……*drumroll*…..MAMMOTHS. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?  A YA WITH A MAMMOTH HUNT? Watch this totally be after mammoths, and this will all be absolutely wrong. A GIRL CAN DREAM. Even if there’s not, this whole idea is just…so unique to YA, and a very different sort of literature than what we usually see. I simply cannot emphasize enough how excited I am for this, and honestly, a lot of it is from the cover alone. I know this is a pretty short WHY, but I think it’s enough. These books are really going to hit a specific audience, and obviously I’m one of those people!

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

FIND IT ON BARNES & NOBLE OR AMAZON

JULIE’S WEBSITE AND TWITTER

ARC REVIEW: BLACKHEARTS

SUMMARY

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. This is their story.

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.

MY THOUGHTS

PLOT: I’m going to attempt, very carefully, not to swoon after every sentence I write about this book. *SWOON* Sorry. Be prepared- I don’t think I can make this non-gushing.

Let’s get one thing straight- I loved everything about this book. Everything. Except, perhaps, the ending, because I wasn’t ready for it. The plot was much different than I anticipated, and the twists, although they weren’t ridiculously huge (i.e. an asteroid is heading for the earth, ahhhh!) they were unexpected, intriguing, and absolutely fabulous. They always came just when you were ready for something new to happen, and I must admit, this is one of the only times that I recognized the excellence of the pacing in a novel. It was a constant upswing, and although there weren’t action scenes every 15 pages, there was always something to make you go

So, basically, it was amazing.

The plot didn’t get tiresome- sometimes with the historical novels set around this time, it can get repetitive. Dinner, dancing, suitor, dancing, gasp, dinner, gasp, dancing, etc. Those things are great when used to enhance the plot, but not when they’re the entire plot. Blackhearts stayed firmly away from that trend. There were dinners, yes. There was dancing, yes (and pretty dresses!!!). There was gasping (mostly by me), yes. But it served a purpose. It moved the plot forward, giving you important information and leading you to the climax very sneakily. It’s fantastic, until you reach the surprisingly quick conclusion. Then, if you’re like me, you just cry a little bit and search for the invisible last pages.

CHARACTERS: Where do I even begin? This book had everything by way of characters. The variety was stunning- each had a specific voice, and they absolutely each elicited emotions from me. Teach? SWOON SWOON SWOON. He’s strong, he’s fierce, he’s powerful- but what I loved most about Teach was that even though he was one of the darker heroes, this wasn’t a twisted YA relationship, and it certainly wasn’t insta-love. This wasn’t one of those books where the girl becomes a doormat because a hot guy gives her the time of the day- and that brings me to Anne.

Anne is the ultimate heroine- decisive, uncompromising, willing to do anything she has to so she can escape her life as a servant. She doesn’t resign herself to a life of misery, even though her only way out may be to do things she doesn’t want to do. I admired her unflinching spirit, even in the face of danger and ridicule, and I think we need more heroines in YA who think and act like Anne. Even falling in love can’t keep her from following her dreams.

Even the characters that were minor were very distinctive and very entertaining. Drummond, Teach’s father, was such a conflict for me- it was a total love-hate relationship. He’s a great layer of conflict for the story, and I loved the way you see him shift and change- a totally dynamic character. Patience, William, Mary, Margery, etc., all enhanced the book as well- enough subplots to keep the book moving and keep your brain occupied, but not so much that it distracted from the main plot line. Their characters, while not as dynamic, were entertaining and they served a purpose- they weren’t just random characters introduced as filler. Sometimes when that happens it can make me close a book for a while because it’s overwhelming, but Nicole found another great balance with her characters and their roles.

OVERALL: Did I mention how much love this book? Hit the pre-order sites, everyone, and keep your eye out for it. Blackhearts may not be a revolutionary story (it is set in the past!) but the writing and execution certainly is. Five stars, although I’d give it a thousand if I could. When I was (still am) swamped with books that just can’t keep my attention, Blackhearts grabbed my attention, my mind, and then my heart with its rich characters, driven plot, and elegant world.

What else can I say? This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I think everyone else should read it, too. This last image basically sums up how I feel about this book.

WoW: THE WINNER’S KISS

WE’VE GOT ANOTHER ONE

This is a pretty lonely WoW, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Lonely because we won’t see it until MARCH 1ST OF 2016.

It kills me to think about. A thrilling series conclusion coming on the heels of a devastating cliffhanger, THE WINNER’S KISS is one of my most anticipated books for next year. And I mean, look at this cover:

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I’M DYING

HERE’S OUR SUMMARY SO FAR (GOODREADS) 

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

WHY I’M EXCITED

Look, The Winner’s Curse is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read. Ever. So to be left without a conclusion, alone and helpless, while I wait to know the fates of Arin and Kestrel? MY GOD I CANNOT.

So, yeah. I really want this book, and if you aren’t waiting for it, too, you need to go read the first two.

RIGHT NOW.

Love you all.

What’s YOUR WoW?

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!