Frostblood by Elly Blake ARC Review

frostblood-by-elly-blakeFrostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1)

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

*Received ARC through a trade*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Frostblood has all the elements I love about YA Fantasy! Blake delivers a fascinating world filled with magic, intrigue, and the perfect amount of romance! I could not put it down!

This novel was definitely high up on the list of most anticipated books of 2017! From early reviews and buzz surrounding Frostblood, I was worried the hype would get to me, but I’m glad I was able to push it aside and ended up absolutely loving this book!

Blake crafted a fascinating world where frost and fire are enemies and Ruby finds herself tangled up in the politics of this world!

In terms of world-building, legends and myths slowly get weaved into the story as does the history between Fire/Frostbloods.

While elements of the world are introduced rather quickly at times, overall its built in a way where your able to really picture this world and a solid foundation of the setting, politics and history!

Blake develops the divisions between Fire/Frostbloods, light/dark, good vs. evil, but also really shows the shades of gray that come with it and that really helped to set the tone for the entirety of the novel. And overall this was one of my favorite aspects of the world.

In terms of characters I loved their dynamics and considering this novel is in Ruby’s POV, through her voice the characters are all well developed/established, engaging, and I felt her dynamic and banter with the mysterious Arcus was done very well and through her POV his character really comes to life!

At the start of the novel, Ruby’s mother tells Ruby to never practice using her powers, however she soon finds herself caught by Frostbloods. Then when her mother is killed during the incident she is soon caught and is sent to a prision. However, she is soon rescued and finds herself at a monastarey. Once there Arcus helps her to strengthen her powers but he along with Brother Thistle soon convince her that she must destroy the Frostking. Along the way she comes to accept what has happened and while dark forces are always lurking she stays on the right path and continues to fight for what she believes in. She does find herself in trouble throughout, but along the way is willing to grow and learn (especially when it comes to the Frostbloods). I loved reading from her POV!

The plot itself is rather slow paced and there were times I wanted more from the plot itself (hence the 4.5), but truly with each page I got more and more invested in the story! There are hints of romance throughout the novel, but it never felt like it took a central role in the story which was a plus! Additionally there are some fun plot twists that definitely surprised me and had me even more invested as the story continued!
Overall this is a delightful debut with intrigue, adventure, and magic woven throughout that has me eager for the sequel!

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill ARC Review

ever-the-hunted-book-reviewEver The Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash Of Kingdoms #1)

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 400

Summary: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: A fun murder-mystery/fantasy mashup! Summerill delivers wonderfully written characters, with the plot setting up for an epic conclusion in the sequel!

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book there were strong elements of this story that made it really good, yet there were some elements (that I didn’t like as much) that have me unsure of how to rate this still! (Though will most likely stay at 3.5!)

Summerill did a fantastic job with plotting and pacing. The plot went in directions I wasn’t expecting which kept me invested and with each chapter I found myself hooked on the murder-mystery of Britta’s father and wanted to figure out what happened!

While the pacing was slow, due to Summerill’s plotting and character development it never felt like it was dragging which is a plus!

Along with plotting and pacing another great element to this novel was the characters. Even the side characters I really enjoyed! Summerill wrote them with enough depth/mystery to have me wanting to know more about them, while also giving them enough depth to get the full picture even if they sporadically appear through out the story.

The writing itself was well done. Reading from Britta’s POV (1st person) really made me attached to the characters and world, even though there were some moments I wasn’t really a fan of Britta as much. And in general, I could picture the world/characters rather well.

However there were 2 issues that prevent this from being a full 5-stars!
1.World-Building
We are thrust into this world quickly and along with Britta we come to understand it, however because she is just learning about certain aspects (like the magic) it makes it very difficult to have a rich view of the kingdoms/politics. Much of it is told from other characters Britta encounters which makes the world itself feel rather underdeveloped and difficult to grasp.

Additionally there were moments where the side characters made things a little too convenient for the plot/world and while it did help it to keep the pace moving, I will admit that it didn’t do much in terms of developing to create a richer/fuller atmosphere.

Also I felt there were times when the descriptions of locations + setting were very surface level and didn’t go into much depth which could have really helped with the world building!

2.Romance
I do enjoy reading romance in books, however I felt it was given too much of a central role. With the novel in Britta’s POV, I felt taken out of the story because instead of developing the rules/magic of this fantasy world, I felt there were way too many passages about her feelings for Cohen.

While near the end I liked the relationship more, I definitely felt if it was focused on less, it could have helped expand the world and make the story run a little smoother.

Regardless of the minor issues, I will definitely be reading the sequel/finale to see how it wraps up!

Overall this was a solid YA Fantasy! If you’re looking for a fun murder-mystery/fantasy mash-up with twists and turns along the way I definitely recommend Ever The Hunted!

*Received ARC from a giveaway*

Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West ARC Review

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-24hryabookblogKingdom Of Ash & Briars by Hannah West

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: September 15, 2016

Pages: 352

Summary: Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting.

An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: *Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy! This in no way influences my thoughts!*

An immersive YA Fantasy that draws inspiration from classic fairy tales and weaves together a wonderfully crafted story that is both magical and filled with adventure!

This book was all kinds of amazing! I need more!! ❤ ❤

Just as a warning, there may be some fangirling ahead!!

This book doesn’t come out for a couple days, but PLEASE do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR if you haven’t already + read it on release day/pre-order it if you can!!

Now I’ll try to explain in the best way I can, why I adored this book and why you should read it too! ❤ 

Fairy tales collide in this magical debut surrounding Bristol, a kitchen maid, who finds herself becoming an elicromancer!

From page one I was immediately transported to the world of Nissera and through Bristol’s 1st Person POV, I really felt both the worlds and the characters come to life!

Plot:

The author introduces us to Bristol who realizes she has magical abilities (shapeshifting) after being brought against her will to a magical lake that awakens Elicromancers called The Water!

With her power resonating in an “Elicrin Stone,” she finds herself meeting Brack and Tamarice who have elicromancer abilities as well and they find it best to train her and fulfill their purpose of keeping peace across the 3 kingdoms:

Volarre, Calgoran, & Yorth.

But things aren’t as they seem, when someone threatens to upset the balance and bring Elicromancers to their former glory. But will do anything (even use dark elicromancy) to achieve it!

She then finds herself tasked with protecting all three kingdoms as best she can to prevent the evil from taking over!

With her power as a Clandestine she takes on a variety of appearances to find a way to unite the kingdoms!

The plot itself is very unique and while it introduces elements seen before, through the author’s writing and her wonderfully developed characters/world + the mix of classic fairy tales she creates a wholly original and immersive story!

I won’t get into tons of spoilers, because I found it fun to make my own connections along the way with Bristol coming to understand the world of Nissera.

I will admit at some moments the pacing is a little slow, but overall the story kept me turning the page!

+  There is a time jump in this novel (explained early on) and I will admit I was unsure how I felt about it in the beginning, but along the way with the characters and intricacy of the plot I grew to not only understand it, but felt it was perfect for the story!

2.Characters/World-Building:
Both of these aspects went hand in hand! The world of Nissera is both magical and fantastical!
You get that right away from the authors descriptions!

The fairy tale elements are seamlessly weave their way into the plot from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, even elements of Mulan.

I loved how each fairy tale connected to tell an epic tale! It was incredibly done!

She wrote her characters wonderfully!
Each and every character is written with such depth and you truly feel connected to each one through Britsol’s eyes!

With the task of taking on a variety of appearance’s Bristol finds herself struggling to understand who she is, while creating such deep connections with the friends she encounters along the way.

There is a war brewing and it was written so well! The build up is the best part! With Bristol traveling across the land to form alliances and prepare for the battle, it also gives background into Bristol’s past + the deeper/intricate plot that unfolds!

+ There are so many swoon-worthy princes in this story!! (Prince Anthony was my favorite BTW) ❤ ❤

I’ve seen so many fantasy series that have multiple books, however according to the author Kingdom Of Ash & Briars is a STANDALONE!
I don’t usually see that in YA Fantasy and it was definitely refreshing to see once I saw how the story wrapped up! However it just brings me to tears because that means:  I WON’T  have another book with these amazing characters and world.
I really felt this story was its own magical fairy tale come to life and loved it with each and every page!! ❤ ❤
Overall a magical debut that pays an homage to classic fairy tales, while weaving them together to deliver a tale magical and original all on its own!! 
If you’ve read this KOAAB or are planning to, let me know in the comments below! 🙂
+ I’ll have a Reading Playlist For KOAAB Coming Sometime This Month!

 

LA Times Festival Of Books 2016 Recap! #Bookfest Day 2

I sadly didn’t take many pictures of the festival for day 2, but hopefully you still enjoy this recap!

*Photos of ARCs to come*

On my list for day 2 was to see authors:

Sabaa Tahir and Ally Carter!

I arrived around 10:50 and made my way to the line for Sabaa Tahir’s panel, YA Fantasy: Beyond This Realm!

Moderated by Tobie Easton, Sabaa was with Romina Russell, Michael Buckley & Mercedes Lackey!

They gave writing advice, discussed the inspiration for their stories, and went in depth into how they create the world in their novels!

After the panel I met Sabaa, got my book signed & got a cool An Ember In The Ashes Bookmark! + we fangirled together about Ruta Sepetys after she noticed my tote bag was signed by her ❤ !!

After perusing the booths I just happened to be next to a booth w/ Kara Thomas who was signing an ARC of her book The Darkest Corners which comes out April 19th! + glad I had a chance to chat w/ her! She was so nice!

I then headed to my last signing which was for Ally Carter!

I actually met her about 3 yrs. ago for her Perfect Scoundrels Tour & she is the author that got me into reading, so of course I was so so happy to see her again + fangirled a little when I asked her if she recognized me (Which she did!) + even telling just how much her books meant to me!!

+ I also got an ARC of Alyson Noel’s new book Unrivaled!

So overall it was a fantastic weekend & I’m so happy I was able to talk to so many great authors! I cant wait to see whats in store for 2017!! ❤

*ARC Reviews of the books I received will be coming so keep an eye on the blog*

Did you go to LATFOB? If not do you plan to? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

ARC Envy Discussion/Tips

Before I became a book blogger, I was a blog reader. Along the way and through further research of my own, I gained more knowledge on a term I am sure many book bloggers know all too well.

ARC Envy

For those who may not know, an ARC  is an acronym for Advanced Reader/Reading Copy.

It is basically an early (somewhat unedited/latest) version of a book given to many in the book industry such as bloggers, reviewers, librarians etc. to promote a book.

And ARC Envy is basically the jealous/envious feeling you get when others get an arc that you wish you really had.

With so many amazing 2016 releases coming in a few months, I have definitely been getting this feeling of ARC Envy.

I do have a few tips if, you too have ARC Envy from time to time.

1. Stay away/ take a break from social media. (More specifically Twitter)

Every now and again I will see an update/photo on twitter of a blogger with an ARC I really want and if I start to get ARC Envy, I log off ASAP. This tip really helps me and gives me time to reflect on why I shouldn’t really feel this way and how I can personally improve to get to that level someday.

2. Its not even the final version.

I can’t remember where I read/heard this but it is so true! When I think about this statement in a moment of ARC Envy it really makes me realize I might be better of without the ARC.

Now I know what your thinking, “but how could you not want “such & such” arc? Haven’t you been waiting for that book for months?”

You’re right! But then I realize, if I truly am waiting for this book, wouldn’t I want to read it in its final version?

When I think about that statement, it almost immediately alleviates my ARC Envy.

3. Remember why you are doing this!

This tip is aimed more towards me! Because I constantly think about the following statement to from time to time.

Am I going to waste my energy over an ARC? & Is book blogging really about ARCs?

My answer is no! Book Blogging is so much more than that and I am learning that with each and every passing day I am here!

I’m here truly because I want to share my love of YA books and connect with others who feel the same.

 

Hope these tips/discussion helped you to better understand ARC Envy and how you can avoid it if you find yourself feeling this way.

Any additional thoughts you ‘d like to add to this discussion?

Have you ever felt ARC Envy, if so any additional tips to avoid it?  🙂