Review: Serene

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such an interesting and unique read. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. 

At the beginning I was super into this book. I found it mesmerizing in an odd but good way. I loved the scenes with the parties and New York night life. It had such a cool vibe and was an intriguing blend of fantasy and high society. However, once the book got into the more spiritual stuff it kind of lost me for a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting but there was just so much of it. The characters were constantly globe trotting from place to place and it got repetitive at times. The cool vibe I got from the beginning was gone.

As for the characters, I loved the love interest, James. His character was so fascinating. Like the way he was described was so beautiful. The book states, “His voice, like a drop of sepia in water, as if he came from several generations of opera singers that had all committed suicide” (pg. 7). I wish he was in it more and that we got to know more about him and his life. It was touched upon but there could have been more. 

Overall, this is a unique read. If you’re looking for something different to read, definitely try this book out. 

Review: The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Stories Untold) in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was so magical! It reminded me a lot of different fantasy books I read as a kid so it felt very nostalgic to me. If I had read this as a kid, I know I would have loved it. 

The whole story was very whimsy and imaginative, perfect for young middle grade readers. It was so creative. I loved learning about the school, the creatures, and just the world of Croswald in general. The world building was fantastic. 

I also loved the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. They were so cute and just added to the magic of the story. If only there was a map! 

I have read some reviews that compared this book to Harry Potter, but since I haven’t read Harry Potter I can’t say how it compares.

The only thing I had an issue with was that it got a little confusing and convoluted towards the end. Some things weren’t totally clear, but I still managed to figure it out. 

Overall, I recommend this book for young readers who love fantasy or want to get more into reading. This book has enough action, mystery, and magic to keep them entertained. Plus it’s the first book in a series! 


February 2019 wrap-up

Hi beauties! So I am back with my second wrap up. February was a pretty disappointing reading month for me. I only read 4 books. Life and school has been crazy this month so that is why. I’m hoping March will be a better month.

Here’s what I read:

Overall, I enjoyed most of what I read this month. I didn’t have any 5 star reads, but was still happy. The Gilded Wolves was probably my favorite of this month because omg the representation!

How was your reading month? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from BookSparks as part of their YA Winter Reading Challenge. 

I just want to preface this review by saying that I haven’t read Six of Crows, which everyone has been comparing this book to. Since I haven’t read it, I can’t speak as to how similar this book is to SOC. Personally, I got a tiny bit of an ACOTAR inner circle vibe. 

I have to admit that I was pretty confused at the beginning of this book. There was a lot going on and I didn’t quite understand the forging and the dynamic of the houses. But after about 50 pages I slowly started to get it and from then on I really enjoyed the book.

The best part of this book is the diverse cast of characters. There is so much diversity and the author highlights it so well. She showcases the struggles each of the characters face in a nuanced way. I also loved the interactions between the characters and their friendship and blooming romances. So. Cute. 

My favorite character is of course, Enrique, the bisexual biracial (half Filipino, half Spanish) historian. As a half Filipino myself, I’m always thrilled to see any Filipino representation and I loved that there was even some Tagalog words. There was one line in particular that I loved: “Enrique muttered something in Tagalog that would have made his grandmother smack him with her slipper” (65). I read this line and thought it was such an accurate Filipino response. 

As for the storyline, it is your typical YA book so no surprises there. There wasn’t anything that I haven’t seen before but that’s not a bad thing. I liked that it was historical, as opposed to being a straight up fantasy novel. By adding that historical touch, it allowed the author to comment on the time period and the reality of the “La Belle Epoque” era which I think is super important. 

Overall, I enjoyed this diverse fantasy take on historical France and am looking forward to the next book in the series!

I’m a BookSparks #YAWRC2019 ambassador!

Yesterday I received an email from BookSparks saying I was chosen to be an ambassador for their YA winter reading challenge and I’m so excited! I was an ambassador for them for their YA summer reading challenge and I can’t wait to do it again.

If you check out their site, you can see the three books that will be featured this challenge. They all sound so interesting and I’m especially excited for The Tesla Legacy by K. K. Perez because her debut book, Sweet Black Waves, was in the summer reading challenge and I just loved it. I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

Are you planning on joining the reading challenge? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Review: Reflection (Twisted Tales #4)

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Rating: ★★★★★

For the longest time I’ve been debating whether or not to read the Twisted Tales from Disney. Typically, I’ll read any Disney related book, but the first two books in the series got such mixed reviews, that it deterred me from picking one up. Then the Beauty and the Beast one and this one came out and they got better reviews. So I finally decided to try one out. I’m so glad I did because this was really good!

First off, I was really happy that Disney choose a Asian author   to write this book. I think #OwnVoices literature is so important. You can tell that the author knew the culture so well. She did a great job incorporating the Chinese underworld and mythology into the story.

I also have to give the author major props for doing her homework. It was very clear that she watched the direct-to-DVD Mulan 2 movie. There was one part where Shang says, “Perhaps when I marry, I’ll combine the ancestral temples so my bride won’t have to leave her family” (175). That is exactly what ends up happening in Mulan 2. When I read that line, I immediately remembered that part in the movie. 

Since the book starts during the battle against the huns on the mountain, I was happy that it still referenced earlier events in the movie. They were woven into the story nicely. 

Overall, I just think the whole book was so well done. From the writing style to the incorporation of mirrors and reflections, it hit all the checkboxes.  

Review: Sleep, Merel, Sleep

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Rating: ★★★★

This was such a cute children’s book! As a 23 year old with no kids, I’m not necessarily the target audience, but I still liked it. 

Since this book was about dreams it gave me a lot of Alice in Wonderland vibes. The main character, Merel, encountered many interesting and unique characters throughout her journey. A few of them reminded me of various Alice characters. For example, King Marmott reminded me of the Queen of Hearts because they were both pretty awful rulers who chased after the title character. 

The other characters were great as well. I especially loved Merel’s encounter with the moonfish. That was my favorite part. 

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The book had a whimsical quality about it that went perfect with the dream theme. The author created a beautiful world with her prose.

I loved how the flashbacks to Merel’s real life were woven into the story. Each little flashback gave insight into Merel, her life, and her sick baby brother. 

I would have loved to seen a map or illustrations because I feel like that could take the book to a whole other level. 

I also wished the book was a tad bit longer, but that’s probably because I’m an adult not a kid. The book is an appropriate length for a young reader. 

Overall, this book was a fun adventure through a child’s dreamland that both kids and adults will enjoy. 

Guest post: Review of A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

Today I am so excited to share a review from guest blogger, Tanmay Jain, for the book, A Dance of Dragons by George R. R. Martin.

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About the Author

George Raymond Richard Martin, also known as GRRM, is an American novelist and short-story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, screenwriter, and television producer, known mainly for his work on A Song of Ice and Fire.

Blurb

*Spoilers for A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows*

As the last book focused on the happenings of the characters in south Westeros, ( and Arya), this book is a parallel in the time­line focusing on the other characters, in the north and Essos. Jon Snow , after Stannis’s attack on the wildlings is understanding how hard it can be to the Lord Commander. Dany struggles to keep her empire as foes surround her from all sides and even from inside of her own city, Meereen. Fleeing from Westeros, Tyrion Lannister arrives at Essos to find unlikely allies in unlikely places. Theon continues to struggle to survive as Ramsay Bolton’s Reek.

Review

This book took an interesting turn in the series as it focused the storyline outside Westeros. Focusing more on the bigger matters, this one featured Dany, Jon and Tyrion, the three main characters. All three of them went through very interesting character arcs in this one, a transformation that can’t be felt until you compare the characters from the start and the end.

In A Feast for Crows, Jaime’s arc was fixed on one line that Tyrion had told him earlier – she;s been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleback and Moon Boy, for all I know – this line that goes through Jaime’s mind a lot of times defines his inner self. What he really wants is Cersei and now he’s having doubts. The same trick was used in A Dance with Dragons. With Tyrion it was – Wherever Whores go – he was trying to find his meaning in the world. He was no longer a part of his House, a fled exile, with a price on his head. He needed a purpose. With Theon it was – My name is Reek. I must remember my name – After weeks of torture under

Ramsay, Theon had learned to forget his old, his real identity and was trying to bend to Ramsay’s will hoping for mercy. He too needed to know WHO HE WAS.

This book is quite more fast­paced than the others in the series and the story is a non­stop roller­coaster ride. New allies, new plots, new characters, everything that we knew cannot be trusted anymore as the author constantly pricks the reader with really sharp twists.

The best part of this book, according to me was the connection it enabled between the characters and the readers. As I mentioned earlier, using key lines , the author really takes us to see what’s under the skin of these characters and what drives them. The character arc of Dany was focused a lot on how much she loved her people, and how much she suffered to see them suffering. With her growing up and with such a delicate situation surrounding her, it was a really interesting take on how she handles so many problems and really gets in the Queen mode.

Same with Jon Snow. He is struggling as the men of the Night Watch refuse to let the wildlings peacefully integrate in their institution. He is trying to explain to everybody that the real danger is out there, his frustation of seeing that people are fixating on such trifles and the pressure of being the lord commander is quite sympathizable.

The writing style is not complex. A little slow, and detailed but simple overall. The length, I consider is an added bonus because a story like this, if rushed, would be utterly destroyed.

Ratings ­

Writing – 9/10

Cover – 8/10

Title – 9/10

Story – 10/10

Total – 9/10


Guest Blogger Bio and Links

Tanmay Jain is a blogger, book reviewer, writer and bibliophile from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He has been reading books since he was a child and hasn’t stopped since. He started his first blog in 2016 and since that, after many unsuccessful attempts at managing a successful blog, he landed on his current and most successful blog, Scion of Society. Tanmay dabbles mostly in fiction writing but sometimes wanders off to poetry, book reviewing and writing tips. He is an editor for his school magazine, X-rays. He’s a teenage writer, aspiring author, and a budding blogger.

You can connect with him through his social media handles mentioned below –

Twitter

Google+

Bookinton (Personal Blog)

Facebook

Title and blurb reveal for The Metiks Fade Trilogy #2

Today I am so excited to bring you the title and blurb reveal for the second book in The Metiks Fade Trilogy by Thomas Welsh. I read the first book in the series, Anna Undreamingand absolutely loved it! If you haven’t read it already, you definitely should. So without further ado, here is the blurb and title:


 

Broken, beaten, and exiled to the Sump, Anna has battled her way back to reality, but she returns to find her friends scattered and her enemies have grown in strength and number. Though she’s learned that in the world of Dreamers, sometimes the darkness is just a different type of light, she still hasn’t found her way out. And just like in nightmares, every time she runs away, the monsters lie in wait ahead.

Anna’s only hope for survival lies with new friends and a desperate plan to walk the Moonlight Road—a ghostly passage of frozen moonlight through worlds she can never touch—straight into the arms of the most dangerous Dreamer alive.

But no one, neither friend nor enemy, is prepared for the power Anna now wields. Her flame has kindled, and when they threaten those she loves, she’ll burn them to the ground.

Anna and the Moonlight Road is book two of The Metiks Fade Trilogy.

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*Please note that this image is not the final cover. The cover will be revealed at a later date*

Blog Tour: Arcacia excerpt

Today I am partnering with Digital Reads Blog Tours for today’s post featuring an excerpt from Acacia: The Witch, The Warlock, and The Children of the Sorceress Queen. Scroll down to read the excerpt and to see links to buy the book.

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Arcacia Book Blurb

When a beautiful sorceress-queen, Selina, spurns Setanor, a powerful, jealous northern warlock, an invasion of Western Arcacia begins.  To save her newborn triplets from death, they are cast down a magical river to the New World, a place called, ‘London, England.’

Thirteen years later in a cold, Victorian London attic…  The future of Sophie, an impoverished orphan looks bleak but everything changes, to her astonishment after a young witch arrives through her bedroom window with an incredible message and a warning. So begins her life in a beautiful, enchanted ancient world…

How do Sophie and her four friends summon the tremendous courage to rescue her long lost family while restoring Arcacia from dark, ruling forces? Mystical beasts, sceptres, powerful witches and daemon-trolls are just some of their challenges. Meanwhile, the dreaded terrifying warlock, Setanor and his witch-consort Lilith have sent a secret enemy to plan their downfall…

Book Excerpt

Prologue

The prologue to, ‘Arcacia,’ outlines the events leading up to the Great thirteen year war in Arcacia, a magical realm of the Old World.  To avert the threat of invasion from the northern territories, Selina’s  father, a King of the Argenon family clan had promised his beautiful daughter, Selina’s hand in marriage to Setanor, a powerful warlock from the north.  The aggressive sorcerer ruling family houses of the North had always openly threatened to invade rich, flourishing lands of western Arcacia. So far the Argenons and their people had managed to keep them at bay but this was getting harder.

Selina, a strong, beautiful well-educated Arcacian lady is adamant she’d rather stand up to Setanor than subject the people she loves to a life-time of tyranny. After her father suddenly passes away Selina breaks his oath; gives up her magic powers, and chooses to marry an Arcacian commander.  Harris originated from a strange world called England in the New World, he is unlike other Arcacians; Harris is human.  Selina forfeits her magical powers by marrying an outsider, as is dictated by law. They have three beautiful babies, triplets a boy and two girls. But Setanor who wanted to inherit Western Arcacia and who genuinely fell in love with Selina from afar, is furious, perceiving her derisory actions to be an act of scorn and disrespect.

He declares war on Arcacia, and one fateful night he appears with his guards to Selina’s home, captures Selina, and banishes Harris to the underworld.  Before being imprisoned and spellbound in a tower, ‘Until she comes to her senses and agrees to accept Setanor,’ Selina pleads with Set’s commander, Garwain, also her paternal uncle to spare her babies.  He complies, placing them in an enclosed basket which he casts down a magical river that forks to the New world to,’ London, England,’  the land of their father, not knowing if they will live or die.  

The children survive but are separated. A mysterious woman who finds the babies floating along the river, takes one of them, a girl, to raise herself.  A wolf suckles the boy who is discovered in the forest then raised by an elf-Queen and her people. Meanwhile the third child a girl, Sophie drifts on to England.


Book Links

Facebook

T.A. Barua Children’s book author page

Amazon

Click To Buy Arcacia ebook Kindle Version From Amazon Now.

Click To Buy Arcacia paperback from Amazon now.

Twitter

T.A. Barua on Twitter  (Twitter Handle: @t_barua)

Pinterest

Author T.A Barua on Pinterest


 

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