Realm Of Ruins by Hannah West ARC Review

Realm Of Ruins by Hannah WestRealm Of Ruins by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles #2)

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Pages: 464

Available Through The Book Depository: Realm Of Ruins

Summary: Valory’s power is different . . . it’s dangerous, unruly, and destructive. But can she channel it to crush a cunning enemy and save the realm from chaos? 

Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies—including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger—Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Readers are back in land of Nissera in Realm Of Ruins, the spin-off/companion to West’s 2016 debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!  Valory Braiosa is sent on a quest to not only clear her name, but take down a darkness that threatens to ruin her world! This YA Fantasy melds so much from action, magic, fairy tales, quests, dark powers, royalty, & so much more! If your also looking for wholly unique twists on the classic fairy tales, West’s books are the ones to check out!

*Before I get into my review–just want to say I’m so happy to be back posting on the blog! 😍💞✨📚🎉 Finals are coming up and that’s why this book took me a bit longer to finish than expected! But happy to be posting my first review (finally) in December!

Back in the early days of my blog, I fell in love with West’s debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! So, of course I just had to get an ARC of it!

Realm Of Ruins takes place generations after KOAAB! To start, I loved that the story was plotted that way because throughout the novel we explore this idea of those who came before us, legacies, how history plays a role into our future, & so on!

Now the plot itself has a lot of different elements to it and weaves in a lot throughout this single book–so sorry if my review is all over the place!

Valory Braiosa, descendant of Bristal & Anthony from KOAAB is a royal, but not exactly an Elicromancer–unlike her other cousins and family members.

As a student of a magical academy, she’s joined by her best friend Knox, and cousins such as Melkior (who isn’t exactly nice to her) and Ander!

There’s a scene in which Val is in classes and we learn about the school, history and how its shaped the ways of magic in her time now and the way West makes it such a seamless, but integral part of the story was one of my favorite elements when it comes to the world building!

On a quick side-note, often times in YA fantasy books (when it comes to future books in series or spin-offs) there isn’t always much explanation or exploration from previous installments and how they really shape numerous aspects of a world from its politics, magic system, beliefs–and I felt West really made it clear how important that was to the world!

Especially reading about the academy in general, because in KOAAB Elicromancers are somewhat on their own and guide each other. But, seeing how the world has grown to meld elicromancy into the everyday and train new generations was so fascinating to read about!

But of all her family members, her cousin Ivria is practically her best friend and they are always honest with each other–or so, Valory thinks!

During Val’s birthday dinner, she finds Ivria having run off and head towards the Water through a magical portal.

The Water is what allows an Elicromancer to get their fully harness their abilities. It chooses them and with that, they get an Elicrin Stone which also symbolizes their power.

Ivria has the ability to sense danger and fears she will never fully grasp her powers. So, she heads to The Water alone to see for herself.

However, Ivria is set on getting to the Water & as Val jumps into save her, she realizes Ivria didn’t make it & the Water has disappeared!!

Now being seen as a murderer and forced to go to trial by the Conclave to the Realm Alliance. This requires a journey away from her kingdom and with those she though were on her side, now against her. Also, a neutralizer (by the name of Brandar) to keep her powers in check, doesn’t help either!

When Valory’s grandmother joins and mentions something about people in white cloaks & masks, they also learn of a mysterious (possibly looming threat) known as the Summoners!

As stops along the way allow Valory to visit her cousins (Gliselle, Perrenia, & Ambrosine) they convince her to talk to their brother Deovrian–there we learn of a mysterious tablet & how the Summoners may be involved?

When the tablet unleashes a dark force, Valory learns more about what the Water left behind (that now resides within her–some dark & dangerous power) and the journey she will have to undergo to clear her name.

I love how this story really takes on an anti-hero vibe through Val as we see the extent of her powers near the end!

Val goes through so much in this book where it looks like the world is stacked against her, but with her cousin Glisette, fellow princess friend Kadri, & mysterious Mercer who we learn time-traveled from generations in the past!

Now they team up to help Val on her journey to learn more about the mysterious force known as The Summoners which are spreading illness and death wherever they go!

We soon learn that Mercer may have the answers as he has the ability to see visions! This leads to even more being uncovered about the Summoners, Mercer’s past (like his brother Tilmorn) & how this all ties to a mysterious elicromancer known as the Moth King!

Similar to West’s debut, fairy tales are twisted in such unique ways that really bring even more magic to the world of Nissera! From The Little Mermaid (seen through Kadri’s boyfriend who’s a prince who loves sailing & becomes interested in finding a mermaid who saved him), even Beauty & Beast (when Devorian’s cost of unlocking the tablet turns him into a beast).

The fairy tales are uniquely woven, but also into the story and have such distinct details mentioned that really make them their own. For ex. there’s mention of Devorian keeping mirrors closed to not be in contact w/ his sisters, even a sea witch & mermaid who are reminiscent of The Little Mermaid)

The characters all have their own flaws and secrets that make them feel real and I love how their imperfections or fears really allowed me to see their growth by the end!

I love how this journey isn’t exactly linear! While it seems that way in the beginning, the way West plots her stories allows for the story to go in so many directions, yet all tie together as it progresses. From numerous royal families, fairy tale homages, dark magic, quests–West packs so much into this standalone tale!

Also what made the magic so interesting was seeing how Val, a person who wasn’t born with magic, inherits this magical ability from the Water which we learn has the power to destroy, but also create! The Water itself becomes a pretty major part in the magic system as the story progresses and I love how it was explored! This also allows for her to explore, throughout the book both before and after she touches the Water, the legacy her ancestors left behind and how she questions whether she’s even capable of such things that family members who came before her managed!

Also there was one particular thing that really surprised me and that just brought back all the memories from KOAAB! We meet a very interesting Elicromancer who has ties to Bristal and I loved how that story line tied into the major plot! The references and ties to West’s first book was just something I did not see coming in the way that it did-but I loved how it was explored!

Time-travel was explored so well in this novel and I loved how it tied into the main story.

The world itself is incredibly vast and you sense that through the journey Val takes and just the way West describes the little details of the kingdoms. However, there were a few moments where a lot of the locations did get a bit confusing & could have had differing explanations when it comes to their depth. But overall, you can tell West has built such a vast world!

Now on to some of things that did lower my rating! Personally, I found the pacing to be rather slow for me and it dragged quite a bit from the middle on-wards. There were also some plot points explored when some time passes & Val returns home, which I wish had a little more explanation (b/c while it does make sense with the story) I found for me personally it came a little out of nowhere and I was a little lost as to how all that happened in that amount of time!

There were also some side characters, one’s that take on a villain role & at times the villain himself, that I wish had some more development b/c they become so important later on–that I found there character at times just needed a little more!

Returning to the plot, as the story continues I loved how it becomes clear what the goal is (to destroy the Moth King), but the uncertainty as to if Val & her friends could do it, made it all the more interesting to figure out!

Another element which made this fantasy book so unique too, was how it concludes after the battle (which I won’t spoil). Just seeing how characters naturally go their separate ways and explaining all the work left to do after all that’s happened really left it on a note where your satisfied with the ending, but still know there’s much more to explore! ( Valory’s ending was really epic & kind of ambiguous, but I loved that).

Realm Of Ruins is a YA Fantasy that weaves in classic fairy tales, while also delivering a wholly unique story all its own! From journeys across magical lands, dark magic, royalty, & the importance of self and how you can shape your own destiny! West’s spin-off continues to build on her magical world of Nissera and leaves opportunity for future installments!

November 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean1.Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean 

ARC| Started November 2 + Finished November 8 | My Rating: ★★★★☆ | Empress Of All Seasons ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Empress Of All Seasons is a wonderfully character-driven YA Fantasy that’s inspired by deeply woven Japanese Mythology! There’s intrigue, action, politics, adventure, and rising rebellion! Mari is part Yokai (those who have the ability to transform into monsters or other supernatural creatures) and we soon learn her mother has been training her all her life to prepare her for a competition in the royal palace where all female contestants must battle within the 4 seasonal rooms for the prince’s hand in marriage! Mari definitely had a bit of an anti-hero vibe which I loved so much! Told through 3 POV’s we follow Mari, her childhood friend Akira, & Prince Taro! The character-development and plot are explored in ways you don’t really expect and the world is incredibly immersive. Though the pacing was a bit uneven at times and the writing was rather direct & simplistic, above all Empress was a book that really subverted tropes and expectations as the story developed!

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri2.Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri (The Books Of Ambha #1)

ARC |Started November 9 + Finished November 12 | My Rating:★★★★★ |Empire Of Sand ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Empire Of Sand has easily become one of my favorite books of all-time and I HIGHLY recommend this utterly fantastic epic fantasy debut! Set in a world inspired by India’s Mughal Empire, we follow Mehr who’s the daughter of a governor who is 1/2 Ambhan & Amrithi (those descended from desert spirits). When her Amrithi powers put her in jeopardy, she must now embark on a journey and leave her family behind to a religious temple taken there by Mystics while, through complex circumstances, she becomes married to a fellow Amrithi (Amun). The two learn more about each other and the power they have when faced with important choices and a mysterious and important religious figure in the temple! One of my absolute favorite elements of Empire was the dynamics between Mehr & the other characters (especially Amun <3). The writing is lush, vibrant and allows you to connect with everything from the characters, world, complex themes, etc.! I can’t put into words just how phenomenal this book is! I loved everything about it, from the writing, story, deeply explored & complex themes of choice, love, family, and so much more! The richly detailed story is immersive, magical, & complex! Suri’s debut is not one to miss and I’m incredibly excited to see where the series is headed!

Fields Of Fire by Hannah West3.Fields Of Fire by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles #1.5)

Owned | Started + Finished November 16 |My Rating: ★★★★☆ | Fields Of Fire Full Review

Overall Thoughts: An immersive novella that brings reader’s back to the land of Nissera from West’s debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! This short story runs parallel to KOAAB and follows a group of spies as they attempt to uncover the identity of an alchemist linked with a dangerous weapon that could turn the tides of war! Following Drell, Reed, Gannan, & Skye–they scope out a local inn and attempt to gather intel. What made this novella so much fun was how through West’s writing, you were easily immersed in the story and action. One of my favorite dynamics was Drell & Gannan as they go undercover as a couple at the inn! There’s a good amount of backstory for such a short novella. My only minor issues are that the world itself did take me a bit to fully re-connect with and there were minor/side characters I wish had more development. However, this novella above all is a tale that is filled with intrigue as it builds a little more into the Nissera Chronicles and left me absolutely excited to dive into Realm Of Ruins the companion/spin-off!

This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada4.This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #2)

Library | Started November 17 + Finished November 21 | My Rating: ★★★★☆ | This Cruel Design Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Suvada’s sequel delivers on even more depth and exploration in terms of Cat as a character and her past, the world, even the technology introduced in This Mortal Coil! As Cat is faced with the conflict of the past she knows vs. the past everyone else remembers of her, she is faced with loneliness and we learn much more about her life as Jun Bei! Cat & the crew are tasked with finding Lachlan and an antidote to a quickly mutating virus. There’s new characters (like Mato–who really surprised me) and a more centralized focus on the characters and city of Entropia which really allowed for a unique kind of depth! However, I did sadly take off a star with the fact that we already know the end-goal going into TMC, I found the pacing to be really slow and the introduction of a character later into the story, which I found to really take away from the centralized group already in the story! However, the plot was great and I loved the character-development and as with Suvada’s ending to This Mortal Coil, This Cruel Design leaves you wanting the next book right away!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Travels feat. The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Pre-Order Book Swag, Using Libraries, & Why Libraries Matter To Me As A Book Blogger {Book Blog Discussion}

2018 Reads Giveaway List! for my current Giveaway on Twitter

~ For November 2018, overall I had a pretty solid reading month, but I was expecting to read a couple more books! 😭📚✨

Plans For December:

~ With this being the last month of 2018, I want to try & finish up some 2018 releases that I’ve kept on my TBR throughout this year and have really been looking forward to reading! 😍❤📚

~ Share a podcast review that has been sitting in my drafts for the past month 🎙✨😂 Its a really great podcast and I’m really looking forward to recommending it!

~ I want to try and beat my previous amount of books read in 2017 (which was 72)! Hopefully it’ll happen? I have 10+ books I want to finish before 2019, so I’m going to try & stick to it! 📚🍀✨

~ Finalize some 2019 posts, hopefully share some 2018 TBR Lists & maybe a yearly wrap-up? (I’m still thinking about it 😂✨📚📚)

This has been my November 2018 Wrap-Up! What books did you read in November? & What’s on your End-Of-The-Year TBR? 😍📚📚✨

Fields Of Fire by Hannah West Review

Fields Of Fire by Hannah WestFields Of Fire by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles #1.5)

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: September 18, 2018

Pages: 32

Summary: In the war to save the magical realm of Nissera, every battle counts—including those fought on the smallest fronts.

Across the land, the powerful sorceresses Bristal and Tamarice are marshalling their armies, readying for a climactic battle to decide the fate of their world. But in a hay-filled barn far off in the countryside, a small group of spies led by a courageous young warrior named Drell is about to launch an offensive in order to root out the identity of a shadowy alchemist. If Drell’s team is successful, one of Tamarice’s most dangerous accomplices will be destroyed. If they fail, the sorceress will come into possession of a weapon that could turn the tide of the war against them. Drell knows everything must play out perfectly for their mission to be successful, but even she cannot fathom the depths of the alchemist’s cruelty—or the sacrifices her own spies are willing to make to stop him…

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Readers return to the land of Nissera in West’s novella that runs parallel to the events in Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! Following a group of spies, they attempt to uncover the identity of alchemist and his plan for a dangerous weapon, which could turn the tide of war in their favor! This short, but character-driven novella easily immerses readers looking forward to more from The Nissera Chronicles!

I was really looking forward to this short story because its been practically 2 years since I read West’s debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! So, I was really looking forward to diving back into the magical world of Nissera before starting my ARC of the companion/sequel: Realm Of Ruins!

This short story follows Drell, who is a spy helping the main character from KOAAB, Bristal, to turn the tides of a looming war in which the villain is attempting to take over the country (who I won’t spoil if you haven’t read Kingdom yet!).

There’s Drell, Reed, Gannan, & Skye! These 4 are close friends and are working together as spies to find as much intel as they can to shift the tide of an upcoming war!

It turns out there’s an alchemist whose used dark magic from in far island kingdom of Galgeth’s Caverns to retrieve black granules which he’s been experimenting with to create what’s called: Shadowfire.

This novella essentially follows the team scoping out a local inn where Skye has been doing recon. for a while & they are convinced they’ll be to find all the information they can on the Alchemist, Cecil and his work, to destroy it and prevent this dark force from potentially wiping out cities!

This short story is so immersive and even if you aren’t familiar with the world, West makes it so incredibly easy to follow and allow you to feel like your a part of this mission with Drell & her crew!

For an incredibly short novella, the characters are all really well-developed and you really understand them through such few pages!

One of my favorite dynamics was Drell & Gannan as they go undercover as a couple at the inn to keep an eye on Skye as she tries to get more intel! Though its very brief, I liked that there was backstories on each of these characters!

I loved the friendship between Drell & Skye! Its also hinted that Gannan & Skye may like each other, so it was interesting seeing their dynamic become somewhat of a conflict as Drell tries to keep Gannan focused on the mission.

There’s also a few plot twists I really didn’t see coming and because this novel focuses on an upcoming war, there is a good amount of tension and stakes throughout the story!

There’s intrigue, mystery, & a lot of action! 

I also really loved the quick references to Kingdom Of Ash And Briars, Bristal and what she’s up to which runs parallel to this novella!

My only issue that had me drop a star, was that I honestly forgot a lot about the world of KOAAB than I thought, so it did take me a bit to really connect with the characters mostly.

And from what I read up before getting into this novella, is that Drell is originally from KOAAB, but again its just been so long that I forgot.

There was also a couple of really minor/side characters that I wish had a little more development.

However, West’s writing style and use of 1st person POV really brings you into the story right away which I really loved!

Similar to West’s debut, she builds such an immersive atmosphere which pulls you right into the story!

This novella brought me back into a fun and fascinating fantasy world I’ve missed a lot & has me so excited to start Realm Of Ruins!

Fields Of Fire is a short story filled with intrigue and builds a little more into the fascinating world of Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! The Nissera Chronicles continue in this tale that highlights another side of a looming battle that was introduced in Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!

Book Bytes I #10

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!

As a part of my 2018 Bookish Goals, I really want to continue w/ my blog features & Book Bytes is one that I sadly hadn’t kept up with in 2017!

Also with so much Young Adult book news recently, I thought it was the perfect time to bring back this feature!

I’ve also decided to update it from previous Book Bytes, by adding categories, other than just dates to have it more organized and make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d want to read about!

If there’s any YA Book news I may have missed, definitely let me know in the comments below!

Adaptation News

781.The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly Starring Cast Announced

Stephanie Oakes 2015 debut novel, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly was announced to have been picked up as a TV series adaptation for a 10-episode series w/ Facebook Watch.

Announced March 2 by Deadline: “Elena Kampouris (Before I Fall), Kevin Carroll (The Leftovers), Kiana Madeira (Dark Matter), and Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary) are set as leads in Sacred Lies (working title)..”

2.Netflix picks up rights to There’s Someone Inside Your House

Announced March 15, Stranger Things Producer Shawn Levy, 21 Laps, and James Wan are teaming up to adapt Stephanie Perkins’s novel into a movie for Netflix.

No release date has been announced.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han3.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Movie Coming to Netflix in 2018

Variety announced that Netflix acquired the rights to Jenny Han’s To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before film.

Filming had occurred in 2017 and as of March 21, 2018 the film is set for a Summer 2018 release date!

However, there hasn’t been an official release date announced yet!

4.The Darkest Minds movie Stills + Trailer

As of March 26, EW released the first look of The Darkest Minds movie and also giving some background to the upcoming film.

The Darkest Minds film is set to be released August 3 of 2018 and as of March 28, the The Darkest Minds movie trailer was released which you can check out on the movies official twitter Here!

5.The Hazel Wood picked up by Colombia Pictures

On March 27, The Wrap announced Ashleigh Powell, who wrote the screenplay for Disney’s upcoming film: The Nutcracker And The Four Realms, has signed on to adapt Melissa Albert’s debut novel The Hazel Wood.

Also picked up by Colombia Pictures, no other news has been announced.

Book Deals

1.The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Set to be released by Henry Holt pub. in 2019, The Kingdom is set in a fantasy theme park and follows “Ana, a human-android hybrid whose only purpose as a “Fantasist” is to make dreams come true, until she’s accused of murder.(announced March 13)

2. I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

Set to be released by Scholastic with June 2019 release date, I Wish You All The Best is “about a non-binary teen who is kicked out by their parents after coming out, but learns that sometimes from disaster one can build a happier new life. ” (announced March 28)

Cover + Title Reveals

1.Crown Of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi 

The sequel to Onyebuchi’s 2017 debut YA Fantasy novel, Beasts Made Of Night, had its cover revealed on PenguinTeen’s site March 2.

Crown Of Thunder is set to be released October 16, 2018!

2.Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Adib Khorram’s debut novel, Darius The Great Is Not Okay, had its cover reveal on PenguinTeen’s site, March 4.

The cover reveal also included an interview with the author and cover designer, Samira Iravani.

Darius The Great Is Not Okay is set to be released August 28, 2018!

3.The Wicked King by Holly Black

The sequel to Black’s The Cruel Prince, which is titled The Wicked King, had its cover revealed, which also included an excerpt, on EW on March 8.

The Wicked King is set to be released January 8, 2019!

4.Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Revealed on March 15, Sarah Beth Durst revealed the cover to her latest YA Fantasy, Fire And Heist, on her website!

According to her website this novel is a “contemporary fantasy about a teen were-dragon who must steal her first treasure. But a dark discovery during her heist could put her family in incredible danger.”

Fire And Heist is set to released December 4, 2018!

A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma5.A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

A Room Away From The Wolves Cover + Excerpt was revealed March 15 via Bustle!

“Along with her mother, Sabina escaped her abusive father as a child. But when her mother settles down with a man and his two daughters, it pulls on the seams of their precarious relationship. Ten years after their escape, Sabina is 17 and alone, after being kicked out of her stepfather’s house. In search of refuge, she heads to New York City and secures a room at Catherine House, an all-girls boarding house in Greenwich Village. But she quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right about the house… or anyone who lives there. But is there a sinister underbelly to Catherine House — or has Sabina been lying to everyone around her?”

A Room Away From The Wolves is set to be released September 4, 2018!

6.Realm Of Ruins by Hannah West

The companion to Hannah West’s  debut YA Fantasy, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars had its cover reveal (+ giveaway) on YABooksCentral!

Realm Of Ruins is set to be released October 2, 2018!

7.Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

On March 21, the cover to Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s YA Thriller, Last Girl Lied To had its cover reveal + excerpt on Paste Magazine!

Last Girl Lied To is set to be released April 16, 2019!

8.Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

On March 23, EW revealed the cover + excerpt to the sequel/finale to Julie C. Dao’s Rise Of The Empress Series.

Kingdom Of The Blazing Phoenix is set to be released October 23!

9. Warcross #2 by Marie Lu Title Reveal

On March 26, the title for the sequel/finale to Marie Lu’s Warcross duology was revealed through Penguin Teen’s twitter!

The finale to Warcross is titled:

Wildcard

Wildcard is set to be released September 18, 2018!

10. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera + Becky Albertalli

On March 28, EW revealed the cover + a Q&A w/ both Adam & Becky of how What If It’s Us came to be!

What If It’s Us is set to be released October 9, 2018!

Book Bytes 24hryabookblog BannerEver since I created Book Bytes, I’ve always used this feature image! But because I’ve gotten more used to newer sites for editing and creating banners since then, I don’t think I’ll be using this particular one anymore.

I feel not only will it help my blog because the newer banner will follow similar theme to my other ones, but I also feel that giving it an upgrade shows how much I’ve grown as a blogger!

Let me know your thoughts on the new image!~ 

And that’s the YA Book News for March! Lets discuss in the comments!!~😄✨📚

Thoughts on March’s YA Book News? + Do you have a favorite piece of YA Book News from the month? 📚💻📰✨

Top 5 Wednesday {#2} Underrated Books

top-5-wednesday-booktube-bannerTop 5 Wednesday is a weekly book/booktube meme hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes

originally from Lainey over @ Gingerreadslainey

To learn more about T5W here is the goodreads group: http://bit.ly/1kmldQ6

This weeks T5W I will be listing the Top 5 Books:

Favorite Underrated Books

Listed below are books I absolutely loved that I feel need to be talked about/read more & overall just need more bookish love! 💕

Do you know of any books you feel are underrated? Let’s discuss in the comments below! 🙂

Truest1.Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

I read this book last year and I can honestly say this book has truly stayed with me since then and tops my all-time favorite books list! There’s so much depth and heart to this novel with topics of family, love, loss + it really takes time to discuss topics such as religion and mental illness in a very honest way. The characters, which are wonderfully written/developed will capture your heart + the writing is so beautiful and really creates atmosphere and depth to West’s (the main character) World. I know I was skeptical based on how the summary was written, but if you’ve had this book on your TBR or have been wanting to read it, DO IT!! You won’t be disappointed!

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore2.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is a marvelous & magical tale more people NEED to read! McLemore delivers a magical-realism story with lush and wondrous writing, phenomenal characters and storytelling! There are so many important messages of culture, identity and family. But overall its the story of Miel and Sam and the strength of their beautiful friendship. The magical-realism elements blend beautifully with the captivating writing and while reading you can feel the magic with each page. This is a very character-driven story and one that is truly unforgettable! Highly recommend!

The Forbidden Wish3.The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

This is a book that I feel more people need to read, especially if you’re a fan of retellings! If you’ve enjoyed reading The Wrath And The Dawn, this book would be perfect for you! Khoury delivers a retelling of Aladdin w/ Zahara a jinni, who wants to be free from her lamp and a deal with the King of the Jinn may be her only way to freedom. Through her writing and wonderfully developed characters it delivers a spark that really makes this retelling her own. There is so much girl power + the romance is written beautifully!

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-24hryabookblog4.Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West

In this standalone YA Fantasy, West weaves together classic fairy tales. In this novel, Bristol discovers she’s an elicromancer and must use her magic to unite the three kingdoms before an evil force takes over!

The writing pulls you in from the start and West’s fantasy world of Nissera comes to life on the page! If you are looking for a unique YA Fantasy that will keep you turning the page, I highly recommend Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!

the-queen-of-blood-review5.The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Its books like this that remind me why I love to read YA Fantasy!💕 Durst creates a fantasy world heavily based around spirits and nature and through her writing it comes to life on the page! The characters and world are so memorable and unlike any YA Fantasy I’ve read before.

The story centers around Daleina and her journey (along with other women just like her) to becoming a queen in the magical world of Aratay. And then there’s Ven, a disgraced Champion who finds himself teaming up with Dalenia when they both realize the spirits of their world are becoming restless.

If your looking for an immersive YA Fantasy that has atmospheric writing and an engaging plot and characters, then definitely add The Queen Of Blood to your TBR!

Kingdom Of Ash And Briars Playlist

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-playlistHappy Monday!

Today’s reading playlist is inspired by A Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West!

If you’ve read it, check out my ARC Review Here!

If you haven’t read KOAAB, this debut novel centers around Bristal a girl who realizes she has elicromancer abilities and is tasked with protecting the 3 kingdoms of her world when an army/war is brewing! It incorporates many classic fairy tales and puts unique twists on them (Cinderella, Mulan,Sleeping Beauty)

While reading, I listened to many Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep OST’s & I felt they really matched with the overall plot/tone of the story + I’ve also included a few tracks from Final Fantasy!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

 

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!

 

September 2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

September is an amazing month for YA! So today I will be sharing with you the books coming out this month, I can’t wait to read!

The Cat King Of Havana Sept. 6, 2016
Sept.6 KatherineTegen Books

1.The Cat King Of Havana by Tom Crosshill

Summary: Rick Gutierrez is . . . the Cat King of Havana! A cat-video tycoon turned salsa-dancer extraordinaire, he’ll take Cuba by storm, romance the girl of his dreams, and ignite a lolcat revolution!

At least that’s the plan.

It all starts when his girlfriend dumps Rick on his sixteenth birthday for uploading cat videos from his bedroom when he should be out experiencing the real world. Known as “That Cat Guy” at school, Rick isn’t cool and he knows it. He realizes it’s time for a change.

Rick decides joining a salsa class is the answer . . . because of a girl, of course. Ana Cabrera is smart, friendly, and smooth on the dance floor. Rick might be half-Cuban, but he dances like a drunk hippo. Desperate to impress Ana, he invites her to spend the summer in Havana. The official reason: learning to dance. The hidden agenda: romance under the palm trees.

Except Cuba isn’t all sun, salsa, and music. There’s a darker side to the island. As Rick and Ana meet his family and investigate the reason why his mother left Cuba decades ago, they learn that politics isn’t just something that happens to other people. And when they find romance, it’s got sharp edges.

Kingdom Of Ashes And Briars
Sept. 15 Holiday House Books

2.Kingdom Of Ash & Briars by Hannah West

ARC Review Coming Next Week!

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.

Kids Of Appetite Sept. 20, 2016
Sept. 20 Viking BYR

3.Kids Of Appetite by David Arnold

Summary: Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love. 

Three Dark Crowns
Sept. 20 HarperTeen

4.Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Summary: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Stalking Jack The Ripper Sept. 20, 2016
Sept. 20 Jimmy Patterson

5.Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (SJTR #1)

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

Frost Like Night Sept. 20, 2016
Sept. 20 Balzer+Bray

6.Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch (SLA #3)

Summary: Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

Crooked Kingdom Sept. 27, 2016
Sept. 27 Henry Holt & Co. BYR

7.Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows #2)

Summary: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

What September Book Releases Are You Looking Forward To?  🙂

August 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 10

The Kiss Of Deception1-3. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)

The Kiss Of Deception Rating: ★★★☆

The Heart Of Betrayal Rating:★★★★☆ ½

The Beauty Of Darkness Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: I will admit I had a rough start with this Historical-Fantasy trilogy with the slow pacing + difficulty connecting to the main character in book 1, but the sequel is the best book of the 3! An enjoyable trilogy with the perfect mix of romance and betrayal!

PS I Like You4.PS I Like You by Kasie West

PS I Like You Full Review

Publisher: Point

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Pages: 304

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A delightful & cute YA Contemporary with humor + mystery! I loved Lily the main character reading from her POV made this book so fun to read! Highly recommend! ❤

Mirror In The Sky June 215.Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana

Mirror In The Sky Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: June 21, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The author melds 2 unlike genres and delivers it in a wonderful writing style. However I wish there was more discussed about Terra Nova (the mirror planet) which was left more in the background of the story. Regardless, the author created such a unique concept & I’m interested in reading more of her books!

Women In Science 50 Fearless Pioneers by Rachel Ignotofsky6.Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women In Science Full Review

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Pages: 128

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: An inspiring read filled with stories + wonderful illustrations of women who throughout history, worked and studied hard to achieve their dreams and accomplish incredible feats in the fields of science and math!

Hidamari ga Kikoeru Cover7-8. Hidamari ga Kikoeru by Yuki Fumino (volume 1 &2)

Full Review To Come!! 

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A heart-warming manga about 2 college students. One is quiet, introverted + hearing-impaired and the other is sociable+ outgoing! The two develop a friendship that hints at leading to something more! Great mental illness/health discussion! I flew through these volumes & loved each and every moment! ❤ ❤

Kingdom Of Ashes And Briars9.Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West

ARC Review To Come Closer To Release Date

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: September 15, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Loved this book! An immersive YA Fantasy that mixes fairy tales + fantasy perfectly! This novel surrounds Bristol, a kitchen maid, who discovers she is an elicromancer who is tasked with protecting the 3 kingdoms in the land of Nissera! Highly recommend adding this book to your TBR!

A Torch Against The Night10.A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #2)

A Torch Against The Night Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Pages: 452

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel! The strengths of this book are definitely in the characters and their development! The tone of this book felt completely different from book 1, regardless its filled with twists and turns, non-stop action & I cannot wait to see where book 3 is headed.

Additional Posts From This Month:

August 2016 Book Releases

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Cover Reveal

Book Bytes I #5

Daughter Of The Pirate King Cover Reveal

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

 

Kingdom Of Ashes And Briars by Hannah West Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal Kingdom Of Ash And BriarsHere is the 2nd Cover Reveal of the day 😀 !

Ever since I read the summary of Kingdom Of Ashes And Briars, I was immediately hooked & knew I would be adding it to my 2016 TBR! ❤

This YA-Fantasy is Hannah West’s debut novel!

 

 

 

 

I am glad to share with you the cover:

Kingdom Of Ashes And Briars

Cover Originally From: YABC’s Cover Reveal Post

The overall style of this cover is absolutely beautiful!

I also love the contrasting colors! It really makes the cover stand out!

Let me know your thoughts on the cover in the comments below! 

Here is the summary if you want to know more:

Bristal, a sixteen-year-old kitchen maid, lands in a fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she has elicromancer magic in her blood. Elicromancers are an ancient breed of immortal people, but only two remain in Nissera after a bloody civil war. Bristal joins the ranks of Brack and Tamarice without knowing that one of them has a dark secret . . . Tamarice is plotting a quest to overthrow the realm’s nobility and take charge herself. Together, Bristal and Brack must guard the three kingdoms of Nissera against Tamarice’s black elicromancy. There are cursed princesses to protect, royal alliances to forge and fierce monsters to battle—all with the hope of preserving peace.

Published by Holiday House, this book will be in stores Sept. 1, 2016