Waiting On Wednesday I #8

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post originally created by the book bloggers over at

BreakingTheSpines to spotlight upcoming releases!

This week I will be spotlighting…

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. DaoForest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance.

The summary alone had me automatically add this book to my Fall TBR! + The cover is fantastic!!

+ I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of East-Asian folklore, so through Dao’s novel I’m also beyond excited to read more about it through a fantasy setting! ❤

YA Fantasy is easily one of my new favorite genres and I’m always on the look-out for new and fascinating stories! + I’m always happy to read/support diverse books! ❤ ❤

+ From what I’ve read/heard online this is supposed to also be an Evil Queen retelling, which sounds so cool!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns isn’t set to come out till October, but I seriously cannot wait! It sounds beyond amazing!

Are you planning to read Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns? 

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

 

Traitor To The The Throne Playlist

traitor-to-the-throne-playlistToday’s playlist is inspired by Traitor To The Throne, the sequel to Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton!

I adored this novel and felt it was a fantastic sequel, from the expansion of the world to the awesome character development!

If you’ve read Traitor To The Throne or want to read my thoughts you can check out my review Here!

Songs featured in this playlist are from:

~Derek & Brandon Fiechter~

~Final Fantasy XIII/XV ~Final Fantasy Tactics~

While reading I felt these songs went perfectly with the high stakes/intrigue of this novel + the overall world of Miraji!

Let me know your thoughts on the Reading Playlist in the comments below! 🙂

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones Review

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesWintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Wintersong is an enchanting masterpiece! A tale of family, sibling love + loyalty, and belonging!

Oh gosh I loved Wintersong so much! It was an utterly phenomenal story that I will truly never forget! ❤

I went into this book with super high expectations and was not disappointed! 

Told through Liesl’s elegantly constructed POV, she has grown up with tales of The Goblin King and for years has roamed Goblin Grove, enchanted by her grandmother’s stories. Now 19, she finds herself brought to the Underworld when her sister Käthe gets taken and goes to her rescue!

Being a gifted composer, she sees herself as invisible compared to her other siblings and feels she will forever be nothing but a shadow among them and their successes. She has always put others before herself and her father discourages her from continuing her music, certain that Josef will bring the family great fortune and success.

I don’t think Wintersong would have been the musically + lyrically crafted tale it was without being told through Liesl’s POV! Jones effortlessly weaves music and magic into Wintersong and shows all throughout the story!

Additionally the Underground and even Golbin Grove  Jones crafted was utterly magical and the writing truly brings her settings to life!

While this is a retelling of Labyrinth (+ I’ve seen parts of it & have some basic knowldege of it) + the poem (which I’d never heard of before) “The Goblin Market“, Wintersong really stands on its own and delivers its own unique story!

She has never felt like she belongs, is overlooked for her musical abilities, and yearns for independence + a place to call her own in the world. I sympathized with her desire of belonging & felt my heart ache for the struggles she went through!

However no matter what, we learn that music and love in her heart is what truly makes her shine.

I adored all the characters! They were all spectacularly written and came to life on the page no matter how long or short their appearances were.

Constanze, Liesl’s grandmother, has told her and her younger siblings (Käthe + Josef)  legends told throughout their youth of The Goblin King and Liesl can’t help but be enchanted! She’s a big believer in the tales and legends.

Josef, the youngest brother, has always been close with Liesl and though he’s a rather shy and nervous person, he finds happiness when being with Liesl and playing music with her.

Käthe, Lisel’s 17-year old sister, is seen as more beautiful and with a marriage already set for her, she is seen as more accomplished than Lisel.

The Goblin King himself was a very mysterious, but captivating character that I was curious to know more about from the very beginning!

On the day when Josef has an important violin audition which could bring great opportunities to their family, Käthe and Liesl head to the local market to pick up clothing alterations for him.

However, Liesl notices a mysterious stranger in the market and after receiving a gift from him, she begins to notice a change in Käthe and realizes she’s been claimed by the Goblin King.

She then goes on a journey to find a way into the Underworld to get her sister back.

Yet magic and wishes come with a price in this tale and over the course of the story Lisel must make tough decisions to ensure her sister’s safety and come to terms with who is and who she wants to be.

Always being linked to her gift of music, she learns how powerful her music can truly be and how that connects her to the Goblin King.
Overall Wintersong is an enchanting tale that will captivate you, start to finish! Lush writing weaves with the beauty of music, to deliver a tale of sibling love/loyalty, family, and independence! This wondrous story will stay with you long after the final page!

+ Keep an eye on the blog for a Wintersong Playlist! 😍🎧📚

February 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 8

traitor-to-the-throne-by-alwyn-hamilton1.Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #2)

Traitor To The Throne Full Review

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel that truly surprised me! Hamilton focuses more on the politics and world of Miraji, while expanding on the magic/mythology. Her writing style as with Rebel keeps the story moving and really immerses you into the story! I am beyond excited for what’s to happen in Rebel Of The Sands #3!

kings-cage2.King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #3)

King’s Cage Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 528

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: The world and characters really develop over the course of this novel compared to the previous installments. There is much needed expansion beyond Norta & many aspects of the world and politics surprised me + really added more depth to the world. However with the addition to multiple POV’s, there was 1 POV in particular really dragged the story  & did more of *showing instead of *telling.  Additionally, there are certain characters who I wish were present more. Regardless, Aveyard’s 3rd installment was entertaining and kept me turning the page! Interested to see how the Red Queen Series ends in Book 4!

welcome-to-the-ballroom-volume-13.Welcome To The Ballroom Vol. 1 by Tomo Takeuchi

Welcome To The Ballroom Full Review To Come

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: A great introduction to a new manga series about Tatara, a high school student who gets involved with ballroom dancing! I wish there was more development with the characters b/c they were all introduced wonderfully! Overall there’s comedic moments, dynamic characters and a unique plot that has me eager to read the next volumes!

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-review4.The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

The Valiant Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator! The engaging and well-rounded characters made this novel so much fun to read. I do wish the story’s pacing was a little faster + had more action! Regardless, this was an immersive tale about sisterhood, family, & honor! Cannot wait to read where Fallon’s journey is headed in the sequel!

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez5.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Because Of The Sun Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: The writing style is very “dream-like” and makes this YA Contemporary so unique! Dani has lost her mother and must adjust to a new life with her aunt in New Mexico. She forges a friendship w/ Paulo and he is very supportive during her time of grieving. There is an additional POV in this story, which added tons of background but did slow the story a little for me. Overall, themes of grief, family, love and loss are weaved perfectly into this novel that truly focuses on Dani’s journey as she comes to terms with her mother’s death.

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin6.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Written in verse, Laskin’s modern take on Romeo & Juliet is lyrical and fast-paced! Ronit & Jamil can’t help but fall in love. However a wall across their lands keeps them separated, but they know deep down their love won’t be fractured. Conflicts arise and their family wants what’s best for them. While there are some moments it does feel rather rushed, overall this tale delivers a message of hope!

A Conjuring Of Light7.A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

A Conjuring Of Light Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Phenomenal character development + world-building weave throughout the masterfully crafted plot! A truly phenomenal conclusion to the Shades Of Magic Series!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-28.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun  by Izumi Tsubaki (Vol. 2)

Monthly Girls Full Review To Come (Vol. 1-3)

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 144

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is easily becoming one of my favorite Manga series!
As always, romance/high-school tropes are given unique+comedic spins & that’s what makes it so fun to read! There is tons of character development and the plot continues to be fun, unique, & engaging! Cannot wait to read volume 3!

Additional Posts From This Month:

~None This Month~

A Conjuring Of Light by V.E. Schwab Review

A Conjuring Of LightA Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

Summary: The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab.

Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Shades Of Magic Series comes to an end in this spectacular + marvelous third and final book, A Conjuring Of Light!

I do not know where to start, but… I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! ❤ ❤

As always Victoria is a master at characters/character-development and this final book felt bitter-sweet, but I adored it all the same!

*I will try my best to leave out major spoilers, however I will mention minor one’s here & there! (Be aware)*

Schwab’s writing as with previous novels is rich + detailed and even in this final novel she continues to build on her fantastical parallel Londons!

She crafts scenes and character struggles with such emotion and gravity, you feel for each and everyone as you turn the page!

Another aspect which made this novel a well-rounded and overall epic conclusion was the immense development + inclusion to a number of characters we’ve seen/read about in previous installments!

Osaron has conjured up a devious plan to conquer Red London for himself however Kell & the crew, while they have their clashes, are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their world safe.

While reading this novel, I couldn’t help but realize with each + every page Schwab continued to build the world to the very end! Her world-building is a huge foundation to this series and she truly approaches it with finesse & subtlety because while not every aspect of her worlds can be explained, the mysteries and secrets make it that much more magical!

Adding to the character development, Schwab gives each of the main/prominent characters the perfect amount of space/time throughout the story to follow their internal struggles and triumphs as darkness looms close.

Schwab perfectly balances the grave dark fragments of this world, with hopeful shards of light and its done in an absolutely flawless way!

The core characters, Kell, Lila, Rhy, Holland & Alucard are like a family and this novel truly highlights those important friendships/bonds they have with each other!

Kell and Rhy’s deep bond is also tested as darkness continues to spread and they risk everything to bring peace to their world.

My only minor issue was the slow pacing/dragging of scenes in some parts!

Schwab masterfully concludes her Shades Of Magic Series with A Conjuring Of Light! A truly unforgettable journey to bring an end to an absolutely brilliant and wondrous world!

 

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin ARC Review

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskinRonit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

Summary: This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long. Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

*Received/Reviewed a physical ARC, this in no way influences my thoughts*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Ronit & Jamil is both unique and unforgettable! Told through lyrical verse, Laskin’s modern take of Romeo & Juliet centers around an Israeli girl & a Palestinian boy and the connection they share in Israel.

This book captured my heart! 

Through Laskin’s writing-style, I was immediately transported + found that it really captured and symbolized the complications and triumphs of their instantaneous love for each other.

Getting to read from both Ronit & Jamil’s points of view really allowed me to see what both of their hearts longed for, which was freedom and a place to call their own!

Even though there was a quick and fast-paced writing-style, I felt I knew Ronit & Jamil and could sympathize with them and the obstacles they encountered.

Additionally, another fascinating aspect of the writing was the similarities between both Ronit & Jamil’s POV’s. Though they have been raised with families that have differing points of view, each of their sections throughout the novel show just how similar they truly are and how these differing ideals + beliefs clash and cause difficulty for their forbidden relationship.

Complete strangers at first, they encounter each other when Ronit’s father delivers medicine to Jamil’s father at a clinic where he works.

Though they live on opposite sides of the border and their families don’t see eye-to-eye, they can’t help but fall in love with each other!

Ronit gives Jamil her number and the two soon start texting and meeting up in secret. They find solace in each other and long for what is beyond their reach. The wall and conflict on their sides keeps them separated, but they know deep down it wont fracture the love they have for each other.

Family plays a huge role in this novel! The parents want what is best for their children and though they have the best intentions to keep them safe, Ronit & Jamil begin to question the division of their land.

There are multiple sections with both parents points of view and it adds so much depth to the story and lets the reader understand the difficulties and sacrifices both sides have encountered.

However, conflict arises in the war-torn regions and both are left to ponder if there is someone to blame, is it the opposing side? Yet even through those difficulties they push the disagreements aside and decide that what they truly long for is to be together and escape the conflict in their lives.

I did take off 1/2 a star b/c there were moments that I was unsure of who was speaking + there were some moments I felt were a little rushed.

I loved that the novel had additional notes throughout the story which helped with words or phrases I was unfamiliar with. I also loved reading the acknowledgements where Laskin explained the research and inspiration that went into her story! It was clear that this was a story she was truly passionate about telling!

Laskin’s novel delivers a captivating tale of star-crossed love that transcends and delivers messages of hope and understanding even when times may be difficult.

Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez Review

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchezBecause Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

Summary: Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.

But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.

Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.

*Note this novel does contain physical/emotional abuse*-Be aware if those are triggers for you.*

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Because Of The Sun follows Dani as she grieves the loss of her mother. Told through a unique prose, this novel discusses death, family and love.

This was a unique contemporary I won’t forget!

What made this novel truly stand out was the atmospheric writing-style! Written in an almost “stream of consciousness” we follow Dani Falls, who has lost her mother due to a violent accident and must now leave her home in Florida behind to live with her aunt Shelly in New Mexico.

After spending weeks at her aunt’s house, she rarely leaves and manages to speak only a few words at a time. We begin to wonder if Dani will ever recover and find the strength to accept.

Blurring the line between reality and dream, a bear is mentioned when Ruby passes away and throughout the novel and just like Dani, we are left to question whether it was ever truly there to begin with.

Through out the story, she struggles with the fact that she had a very difficult relationship with her mother and wonders if she ever even truly loved her. When truths about Ruby Falls comes to light, Dani questions whether she even knew her mother at all.

The characters were all very well written and I could truly picture them and understand them fully through Dani’s eyes!

She comes to know Paulo and the two bond over movies! Dani gets to know Paulo and while the do start a relationship Sanchez never makes it a central part of the novel and truly focuses on Dani’s personal growth as she grieves and comes to terms with whats happened. I adored the dynamic between the two of them and no matter what, Paulo respected when Dani wanted to help herself and always gave her the space she needed!

I do wish Paulo was included more, because he was a very loving and supportive friend/boyfriend to Dani. However I loved that Sanchez really left the romance in the background!

There is also a big emphasis on family. With the loss of her mother, Dani comes to know her aunt Shelly and understands she isn’t alone and that she can confide in her through her struggles. She also finds comfort with Paulo and his grandmother as well. They provide her with the emotional support and love she never had.

In terms of plot, it mainly focuses around Dani and her new life when she moves to New Mexico and comes to terms with her mother’s death. What I also really loved about the plot was how this novel truly centered around Dani and her personal growth.

After completing the novel it was clear that Dani still had a long way to go to recover and was doing it slowly but surely, however Sanchez did a fantastic job to show that her recovery wasn’t going to be an easy transition and would take time. She was still accepting the truths she learned about her mother, but with her new family and friends it was clear she would be okay.

I will admit I did take off a star, because while the inclusion of Shelly’s POV added much more to the story and really gave more background to Dani’s mother Ruby and why she was very detached, it did slow down the story for me. However, I really got to know more about Shelly and that was great because through Dani’s POV, I felt there was still a lot to learn about her.

Additionally after the section centering around Shelly + Ruby’s past, I felt that the ending felt a little rushed and wanted more page-time/interactions with Dani & the side-characters who now really supported and helped her when she needed it most.

Through a dream-like writing style we follow Dani as she adjusts to a new home and grows to find the strength to accept her mother’s death and all the complexities that come with it!