The Valiant by Lesley Livingston Review

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

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in her father’s war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

*Received a finished copy through a giveaway*

My Thoughts: Livingston delivers a character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator!

Recently announced, The Valiant will b getting a sequel!! I can definitely see how the ending would be nice to it conclude it as a standalone, but I truly fell in love with this world + characters and I’m so happy there’ll be a second book!

The first few chapters alone, really pull you into the story and wastes no time showing the complexity and depth of the main character Fallon.

While this novel does have action, it is definitely more of a character-driven story and the gladiator aspects do appear throughout the novel, but a really featured more at the end!

Fallon truly changes over the course of this story, but above all changes for herself and is an independent and determined heroine! I loved reading from her POV!

On the evening she is hopeful her father will add her to her to the warband, she gets captured and is forced to become a gladiator for Rome. Once there, she is determined to get her freedom, however along the she learns more about herself and her family, but mostly the enemy territory that invaded her home years ago.

While forced to train as a gladiator, she learns more about the people who brought her to Rome and what the costs truly are if she is to find a way back home.

The other side/main characters were also very well written and developed. Through Livingston’s writing, you really get to understand these characters, even with just a few passages! (Cai & Elka were my favorites!)

There’s so much girl power + amazing female characters. Over the course of this novel, Fallon finds friendship between her gladiatrix companions (especially Elka) even the Achillea  and its clear while they may not always get along, they are there to look after each other!

They were very much like sisters and overall I loved how the females were given a central role in this world/story!

Reading about these female gladiators was truly fascinating and it sucks there isn’t much historical record of them, but it was definitely wonderful to get a chance to read about them from this novel!

Fallon struggles with the loss of her sister and it’s clear that both her sister Scorcha & the loss of her, pushes her and has molded Fallon into the person she is.

I felt it had the perfect amount of romance! Wonderfully done! It never felt too forced and it never felt like it took over the plot or changed Fallon’s motivations in any way! Through out the novel she really focuses on earning her freedom on her own personal development, with out help from Cai and it showed just how determined she was to prove herself.

I did take off 1/2 a star b/c I felt the pacing was slow at times & I wanted more action!

Regardless, this is a very character-driven novel with twists + turns and delivers a tale about honor, family and sisterhood + foreshadows an even more epic journey to come in the sequel!

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations Based On YA Books

literary-listens-podcast-recommendations-based-on-ya-booksSo happy to bring you today’s blog post, I had so much fun making it!

Literary Listens is the working title for this new series I’m planning on doing which will feature podcasts + books!

To start off, I’ll mostly be recommending books/podcasts based on different topics, but I’m hoping to expand this series beyond just that and integrate discussions on storytelling between the two and so much more!

I’m excited for where this feature will be going and would love to hear your feedback! 

Now on to today’s post 😄✨🎙📚

I’ve been wanting to talk more about podcasts on the blog and was unsure of what kind of post to make, then I got the idea of recommending/pairing some ~AMAZING~ podcasts with Young Adult Books!

✨🎙 *Podcasts featured are On-Going Audio Dramas*

the diviners1.If you’ve read: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Or are planning to read: Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Coming Jan. 2017)

Listen To: Audio Dime Museum 

Why: History comes alive! Both The Diviners + Audio Dime Museum are magical/captivating and have the perfect amount of mystery and suspense! 

From the excerpt I’ve read, both  Caraval + Audio Dime Museum have gorgeous writing that transports you and makes the magic, mysteries, and oddities of their worlds come alive!

audio-dime-museumSummary: From the Just A Story team, comes a weekly, serialized experimental storytelling podcast which explores historical legends through the artifacts on display in the Audio Dime Museum. Part guided tour, part radio drama; each episode presents the curious story of one object from the collection. Meet your guide on this journey, The Curator, and learn her secrets as you delve into the world of possibility, magic and the unknown. Merging the suspenseful style of mystery with the conventions of ghost stories and the peculiarity that only historical fact can provide, this podcast is not for the faint of heart.

the-raven-boys2. If you’ve read: The Raven Boys (Or The Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater

Listen To: Return Home (created by Jeff Heimbuch)

Why: Both have central themes of mystery + the supernatural with peculiar happenings in their respective towns.

return-home-podcastSummary: Return Home is the story of Jonathan Barker, who returns to his home of Melancholy Falls, NJ, after five years away. An unknown entity beckons him back East, in order to unravel the mystery of what his home town has become…or has always been. Reunited with his best friend, Buddy, Jonathan must discover the secrets of Melancholy Falls, and why he was told to return home.

vicious-ve-schwab3.If You’ve Read: Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Categorized as Adult but does have YA/Crossover Appeal)

Listen To: The Bright Sessions (created by Lauren Shippen)

Why: Both not only heavily feature people with superpowers/abilities, but show the shades of gray that come with it + the lines between good and evil!

the-bright-sessionsSummary: Dr. Bright provides therapy for the strange and unusual; their sessions have been recorded for research purposes. The show documents these patients’ struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright. 

From characters with anxiety to different sexualities, The Bright Sessions has a lot of great+diverse representation! Highly recommend it!

If you’ve listened to any of the podcasts mentioned or have recommendations definitely leave a comment! 🙂

Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin Review

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.24.46 AMBlood For Blood (Wolf By Wolf #2)

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 481

Summary: There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A heart-pounding conclusion to the dark and thrilling Wolf By Wolf duology!

It was everything I hoped for and more! Blood For Blood was phenomenal and concludes wonderfully!!💖

This novel opens up with glimpses into the pasts of Yael, Luka, Felix, and Adele. I thought that was a brilliant start because, it sets up the tone for the rest of the story!

By the end of Wolf By Wolf, we learn Yael didn’t kill Hitler as she had planned, but a doppelganger. Now with the SS not far behind, she is racing against the clock to return to the resistance HQ and put an end to him once and for all.

I will admit the pacing in this novel was slower for me than with Wolf By Wolf, but the plot was filled with mystery, action and suspense and it kept on surprising me!

Now with multiple perspectives from Luka, Felix and Adele, we’re shown more in-depth layers to these characters and get more from the politics/world introduced in WBW.

We are introduced to a character from Yael’s past and come to get a bigger picture of what happened all those years ago when she escaped.

However issues arise when Yael, Luka, and Felix find themselves on he run from the SS, back to Germania and must stay out of sight to avoid capture.

The tone of this book is definitely darker than WBW, with interrogations,violence, it was difficult to read at some points. However, Graudin really shows the darkness and severity of this world and the dangers that Yael + others could face.

As for characters, they were all spectacularly written! While I love each main character equally, Yael was definitely my favorite. I was rooting for her every step of the way! She has been through so much, yet no matter what stays strong when all seems lost. In this novel you definitely get to see more of her emotional/vulnerable side as she no longer needs to disguise herself as Adele, with Felix and Luka understanding who she truly is.

Luka has been taught to never show weakness and because of it is unsure of who he wants to be, but knows that, similar to Yael he wants to change things. He doesn’t want to be the “poster child” he’s grown up to be and along the journey learns what it means to be a hero.

Felix will stop at nothing to find his sister and reunite with his family,even if it means siding with the enemy. He struggles with his oath to the SS to get information on the resistance while determination to be with his family and ensure their safety puts Yael and Luka in danger.

Graudin’s writing kept a similar tone to WBW, however in this novel she definitely showed more emotional/vulnerable sides to her characters which not only was heart-breaking to read at times, but definitely gave them more depth and added more to the overall world.

It was incredible being a part of Yael’s journey to change her world for the better! The Wolf By Wolf Duology is a tale I will never forget!

Tears shed, but overall Blood For Blood raises the stakes! There’s intrigue, blood and betrayal but it all comes together to an epic and unforgettable finale!

 

 

October 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

175645191.Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Walk On Earth A Stranger Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Pages: 436

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: An immersive mash-up of Fantasy & Historical Fiction! I loved the atmosphere Carson weaved into this story and the characters are all well developed! However, due to slow pacing and not getting enough from the plot, I was a little disappointed. But once I reached the end, I definitely found myself interested to see what happens in the sequel!

the-female-of-the-sepcies2.The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female Of The Species Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 344

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts:  McGinnis discusses rape/rape culture through multiple POV’s among other topics that weave together to craft an important read with phenomenal writing and complex+well-developed characters.

forest-of-memory-by-mary-robinette-kowal3.Forest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

Forest Of Memory Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Pages: 88

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A mysterious and immersive short story! There were so many unique concepts from an antiquities dealer, AI tech part of daily life, and a futuristic setting of the Pacific Northwest! Its a quick read and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. My only issue was the slow pacing and there were some aspects discussed that I wish were given more of a central role! Highly recommend if your looking for a short but different Sci-Fi story!

4.The Universe Of Us by Lang Leavthe-universe-of-us-lang-leav

The Universe Of Us Full Review

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 240

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A delightful collection of poems about love and loss with a central theme/backdrop of space and the universe. However I did take away 1/2 a star b/c not all of them revolve around this theme, which is what I was expecting. Regardless, its a quick but very moving collection.

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore5.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

When The Moon Was Ours Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 240

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A beautifully written magical realism novel with so much diversity and important themes, remarkable characters, and a writing style that is truly magical! I highly recommend this book. With character development at its core, McLemore delivers a story of the importance of family and self-identity!

our-chemical-hearts-krystal-sutherland6.Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Our Chemical Hearts Full Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnams Sons Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 313

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A YA Contemporary with equal parts humor and heartbreak! What I loved about this novel was definitely the characters! They were wonderfully written. If you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell or John Green, definitely check out Our Chemical Hearts! Its an engaging and honest tale of first love! Highly recommend

descender-volume-1-tin-stars7.Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen

Full Review To Come

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: September 24, 2015

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fascinating Sci-Fi comic which features AI Tech + Robots!! I don’t usually read much sci-fi, but this comic had been on my radar for quite some time, so I decided to give it a shot & wow I loved it! The watercolor art-style is absolutely stunning and the story is very unique! More to come in my full review!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Crooked Kingdom Playlist

Book Bytes I #7

YA Book Recommendations For Hispanic Heritage Month

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Cover Reveal

What Did You Read This Month? 🙂

 

 

Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson Review

17564519Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Pages: 436

Summary: Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Gold Rush comes to life in Carson’s YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy mash-up!

Leah/Lee’s 1st person POV really transports the reader to the era of the Gold Rush. Additionally, the wild west elements really show the gritty/strenuous journey of traveling during this time period!

Carson does a fantastic job at slowly weaving in the light fantasy elements (Lee’s gold sensing ability) with historical fiction while still making it an immersive + rich world!

There’s also discussion about women, considering Lee dresses up as a boy for a majority of the novel, with a lot of discussion of how she views herself and begins to question if she should stay disguised or not when she goes to California.

I will admit my rating is low for a few reasons:
1.The pacing was really slow for me + dragged in some parts (mostly on the journey)
2. Lee’s magic isn’t used as much as I expected  + isn’t given much explanation either
3. I wanted more from the plot 

Regardless I will definitely be reading the sequel! The 1st person POV made the novel feel very immersive and I was really able to connect with Leah and her struggles as a character. Her overall character and character-development/growth along the way was the best part of this entire novel. Additionally, the elements of mystery and suspense made the novel fun + enjoyable.

I loved reading how Leah slowly but surely became friends with the people on her journey, considering this takes place over numerous months, it made sense that the development of those relationships took quite some time.

Carson does a phenomenal job at creating the atmosphere/setting of the Gold Rush and weaving in “Wild West” elements and the small hints of fantasy. They all flowed very well together.

Overall an enjoyable 1st book in the trilogy + great setting! While the pacing + plot suffer a little, I’m definitely interested to see where the story goes!

September 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

sam-maggs-25-innovators-oct-181.Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors + Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

ARC Review To Come 

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 240

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: An inspiring collection of stories that shares + celebrates the amazing  accomplishments of 25 women who, against all odds, changed the world! Highly recommend checking this book out ❤

Girl In Pieces August 302.Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Girl In Pieces Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Pages: 416

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: After using self-harm to free her of her pain, Charlie wants to start a new life for herself. Handling many tough topics + through a unique writing style, Glasgow’s debut delivers a powerful and inspiring read as Charlie undergoes a journey to put herself back together. Highly recommend!

Stalking Jack The Ripper Sept. 20, 20163.Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (SJTR#1)

*Debuted @ #1 on NYT Bestellers List*

Stalking Jack The Ripper ARC Review

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This is a dark/immersive mystery that will keep you  turning the page! Maniscalco’s 1st person POV brings the characters/world of Victorian England to life. Audrey is such a delightful + engaging main character that really makes you feel connected/part of this mystery trying find Jack The Ripper! Highly recommend!

Unscripted Joss Byrd August 234.Unscripted  Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor

Unscripted Joss Byrd Full Review

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Release Date: August 23, 2016

Pages: 224

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A delightful coming-of-age story about a young actress who is trying to find herself in the bustles of Hollywood. So many topics are discussed in this novel + characters/character development are the heart of this moving contemporary.

Crooked Kingdom Sept. 27, 20165.Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (SOC #2)

Crooked Kingdom Spoiler-Free Review 

Publisher: Henry Holt &Co.

Release Date: September 27, 2016

Pages: 546

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Bardugo masterfully concludes her Six Of Crows duology! With Six of Crows, the world wasn’t as developed as I had hoped. However, the world of Ketterdam in Crooked Kingdom is greatly expanded + developed! Along with the world-building, character development is a huge part of this novel. This finale as with SOC, is filled with an exquisite writing style that really transports readers to this magical world + non-stop action and plot will keep you reading to the very end!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #6

A Torch Against The Night Playlist + Kingdom Of Ash And Briars Playlist

September 2016 Book Releases

I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maureene Goo Cover Reveal

Supporting Diversity In YA {Book Blog Discussion}

Kingdom Of Ash & Briars by Hannah West ARC Review {August 2016 Wrap-Up}

Top 10 Tuesday: Podcasts

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

 

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco ARC Review

Stalking Jack The Ripper Sept. 20, 2016Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (SJTR #1)

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 336

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. 

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts:*Picked up an early copy during BN Buzz Fest*

A dark/immersive murder mystery with twists/turns that will keep you turning the page!

I loved this book so much! ❤

In terms of characters, they are all wonderfully written/developed. With this novel being written in first person, through Audrey’s eyes you really feel connected with them and the relationships Audrey has with her family/friends.

There is also great character development between Audrey and many characters! One of those is between Audrey and her father. He is seen as a cold and rather distant person and doesn’t approve of her love for science/forensics.

I absolutely loved reading from Audrey’s POV! She was smart, witty + overall an incredible main character. I loved the elements of feminism in this story! ❤ It was inspiring to read how passionate she was + continued to do what she loved regardless of what others thought! She isn’t what her aunt/father expect a young lady to be, with societal expectations, etc., but she doesn’t let it stop her.

Aside from Audrey I also loved Thomas Cresswell! The banter between them was so much fun to read + their relationship is wonderfully written!

Written in an almost diary format, the author does a fantastic job at creating the atmosphere of Victorian England and really makes you feel as though you are there with Audrey finding Jack.

I will admit there are moments of slow pacing + for me I felt it was in the beginning mostly and towards the middle, however once you get through those the plot really picks up and the espionage/intrigue keeps you turning the page.

The author took this murder mystery in unique directions & really keeps you guessing on who the killer is! I had so many theories & the author overall does a great job on keeping the mystery suspenseful + unexpected!

Overall the author creates such vivid characters & delivers a fun/mysterious plot that will keep you guessing!

The ending wraps up quite nicely and hints towards a great sequel! ❤

Highly recommend if you are a fan of Ally Carter, The Diviners or are just looking for an immersive murder mystery to dive into!

 

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? 🙂

 

The Beauty Of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson Review

The Beauty Of DarknessThe Beauty Of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles #3)

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)

Release Date: August 2, 2016

Pages: 688

Summary: Lia has survived Venda-but so has a great evil bent on the destruction of Morrighan. And only Lia can stop it.

With war on the horizon, Lia has no choice but to assume her role as First Daughter, as soldier-as leader. While she struggles to reach Morrighan and warn them, she finds herself at cross purposes with Rafe and suspicious of Kaden, who has hunted her down. 

In this heart-stopping conclusion to the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, traitors must be rooted out, sacrifices must be made, and impossible odds must be overcome as the future of every kingdom hangs in the balance.

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

My Thoughts: A Solid Conclusion To The Remnant Chronicles!

As with the sequel, Beauty Of Darkness character development and world building are definitely the highlights of this novel!

The historical texts weaved throughout the trilogy, come full circle and even more backstory is given on the three kingdoms, which really ties together the trilogy as a whole.

Lia undertakes her role as a queen and in doing so, becomes immersed in  the politics of not only her kingdom (Morrighan) but also the strategies of war to prepare for the final battle between the Komizar.

I loved that Lia was able to return to her Kingdom and make things right with her people + show her parents what a powerful leader she could be!

Kaden continues to reveal more about his past (especially his father) and becomes unsure of where his relationship with Lia is headed.

Sadly there were some issues I had with this final novel:
Pacing/Length: With the wonderful pacing of book 2, Beauty Of Darkness really dragged and the story suffered for me because of it.

Along the lines of pacing, there were many moments in terms of plot that I felt really didn’t add much to the novel + felt quite forced.
Such as:
-The extended lengths of time prepping for the battle. When they first get to an outpost, it of course makes sense with the plot + perfectly fine when Lia returns to her kingdom! However, the rest of the novel (up until the final/ending) just felt like it was them in the palace & I personally felt there wasn’t much going on plot-wise, besides character development + Lia/Rafe development.

I’m still not sure how I feel about Kaden+Pauline 😥 Towards the end I was liking their relationship a lot more, but the way their relationship started felt a little forced to me considering all the Lia+Kaden development from Heart Of Betrayal!

Regardless of those issues:
Continuing with the plot, the final battle between the Komizar & Lia was fast-paced & I honestly had no clue how it would end!
Considering Lia/Rafe’s uncertainty’s about their relationship I loved how he came to visit her in Venda with Kaden & the others at the end!

 I really loved the ending and joining Lia on her adventure to not only find her voice but also where she belongs+ finding her happy ending!