Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Crown's Game #TWT

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh - Review

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

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The Rose and the Dagger is an enchanting fairytale story, if in the fairytale the princess was a headstrong, stubborn woman and the prince a guilt-ridden, intimidating warrior. The world that Renée has created is rich and vivid and beautiful. I loved learning more about the culture and feeling as though you are in this exotic, desert land. 

Things escalate quickly in this sequel. The city is suffering after magic was released with the help of a dark, magical book and both Shahrzad and Khalid are trying to deal with the aftermath, and the responsibility they both feel they hold, of the catastrophe. Other characters, such as Irsa, the warriors the camp working against Khalid, and other rulers, expand the cast, as well as expanding the people that Shazi feels she needs to protect. 

The story really focuses on Shahrzad's own journey to really claim what she wants - she wants to be with Khalid and, even if she doesn't realize it at first, she wants to be the leader than everyone believes she can be. Cost and reward is something she battles with throughout the story: Is her love worth the welfare of the kingdom? Is her loyalty to Khalid worth burning bridges with old friends? Is her plan for breaking the curse worth the danger to those she loves? While her love and relationship with Khalid is a driving force in the story, her own power, strength, and drive really propel the plot and make Shazi such an endearing, empowering, utterly feminine, and interesting heroine. 

I don't want to give too much away, since a lot is revealed concerning the magic found in the world, those who would abuse it, and Shazi's position within it all, but The Rose and the Dagger is a wonderful story about the quest for power, the desire to be with the one you love, the courage to become the person you wish to be, and the bravery to do decide what you are truly willing to give in order to live the life you want.
Check out more about Renée and her works here:

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. My YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. Its sequel, THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER, will be published on April 26, 2016. In my spare time, I like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.

Happy Reading!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Trying Something New? - A Court of Mist and Fury #TWT

Hey all! I was thinking that maybe I'd start a series called #TWT or Three Word Thursday, a quick and fun way to try and condense my feelings about a recent read into three words. This week I'm still suffering from a major book hangover from Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Mist and Fury, so I figured it could be the star of this test run!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - Review

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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Oh boy. Sorry this is really long. If you didn't know, Sarah J. Maas is my favorite author and I love all of her books. While I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, I didn't love it in the same way I loved her Throne of Glass series. I am happy to announce, though, that A Court of Mist and Fury has solidly placed Sarah's second series on the same favored pedestal. 

I don't even know how to start this review. A Court of Mist and Fury is, in my opinion, the perfect sequel. I am always in awe of Sarah's ability to develop characters so deeply in a way that is believable and interesting and really drives the plot. The changes in not only Feyre but everyone around her is apparent after the events in ACOTAR and the fear, paranoia, and tensions following the dramatic and traumatic ending of book 1 is really taking its toll. Feyre is feeling confined and babied by Tamlin, who loves her almost too deeply, showing that even relationships filled with love can become toxic. 

And with that, I think it is where this book really shines. Relationships. Relationships - between friends, lovers, fathers, rulers, subjects, Fae, humans - and how they change and the characters survive and suffer, learn and remain ignorant, grow and, sometimes, regress. Feyre's relationship with herself and her own conscience is brought to the forefront, her struggle with her actions Under the Mountain and the way that she is being coddled by someone she loves (and who is supposed to love her back). Sarah's exploration of Feyre is wonderful to read - she is a warrior and survivor and yet remains incredibly vulnerable and sensitive. Balancing her emotions and instincts is such a relatable thing to found in such a fantastic story. 

We of course learn more about Rhysand and not only his time with Amarantha but before, when he was a High Lord over a mysterious kingdom. We learn more about court machinations between the many High Lords and the rulers before them, as well as the Queens in the human realm that have their own agenda. I don't know if anyone will be surprised by the path Sarah reveals with Rhys's character, but the way that Feyre's own opinions are questioned and reformed and questioned again, develops not only his character but her own. I love, love, LOVE the fact that Sarah pulls no punches when it comes to love interests - as characters change, so do their relationships. 

We also get a whole slew of new characters, courtesy of the Night Court. Rhys's friends and court from old are introduced and they are a fantastic cast of complicated, hilarious, snarky, troubled Fae. I loved how these characters immediately jumped off the page. I also liked how, while they are all completely independent characters on their own, they work to reveal more about Rhys and Feyre, as well as how they reveal the relationship between the Fae and the human realm.

But Jasmine? Can you do anything but gush over this book? Well, no, no I can't. As a person who really liked ACOTAR and thought it was a very good book, I didn't really fall in love with Feyre or the world of Prythian until A Court of Mist and Fury. Everything is heightened - the stakes, the emotions, the writing just has a sense of...fury. I honestly can't think of another word for it - it just seems like Sarah laid her heart out on the page and I just rolled around on it with my feelings.
Bottom line: I thought A Court of Mist and Fury was fabulous. I think it's a great book in it's own right, full of action and romance and wit and, most importantly for me, a strengthening and growth of Feyre's mind and character. I think it's an absolutely stellar sequel, expanding in all the right areas while leaving some points to be touched on further in later books without feeling like she was leaving anything out. The pace was good, the dialogue fantastic (RHYS, GOOD LORD *fans self*), and the writing was great. Sarah always writes such strong female characters, but being able to get inside Feyre's head with the 1st person point of view really gives ACOTAR and ACOMAF its own style and feel. I cannot wait to see where Sarah and Feyre take us next.

You did it again, Sarah. I bow to you. 
Check out more about Sarah and her works here:

Sarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling Throne of Glass series–Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade–as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses and its sequel A Court of Mist and Fury. She wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in twenty-three languages. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, will release on September 6th, 2016

A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happy Release Day to Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton - with Review!

From the author of the Capital Confessions Novels comes the first in the steamy Wild Aces Romance series.

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.

Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.

One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

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Fly With Me is a fast flying romance with a hot pilot, sassy heroine, and unexpected, sizzling love.

Fly With Me follows Jordan and Noah as they navigate the sizzling hot chemistry that overwhelms and surprises them both. While their love affair develops rather quickly (a little too quickly for my personal tastes), they both acknowledge how their feelings and actions are sudden, powerful, and unlike them. I think their own disbelief is what saves what could otherwise be considered an "insta-romance". Their relationship, while beginning with sparks of lust, develops well, if not quickly, and readers will soon find themselves rooting for our two lovers as they navigate not only Noah's impending job obligations but also their budding relationship.

Jordan and Noah are interesting characters in an of themselves. I feel like they lose just a tad bit of their personalities since we are introduced to them in relation to each other right off the bat. However, they both stand strong independently, as do their friends.

If you are looking for a quick, well-written, hot and sexy romp, (and slight insta-love doesn't bother you) Fly With Me is the book for you. Complete with believable conflicts, quick dialogue, and a fun cast of characters, Chanel Cleeton has created the first book in a series that will satisfy any lover of romance (and hot fighter pilots).
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Find out more about Chanel Cleeton and her books here:

Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise and a fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure.

Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her husband.

Chanel writes contemporary romances, women's fiction, and thrillers. She is published by Harlequin HQN, Penguin/InterMix, and Penguin/Berkley and is the author of the International School, Capital Confessions, Assassins, and Wild Aces series.

Happy Reading!


Monday, May 2, 2016

May Releases and TBR

Here are some of the books I'm looking forward to releasing in May as well as ARCs that I've received that I hope to finish this month!

I'm salivating over A Court of Thorns and Roses. UGH.

Let me know what books you are looking forward to in May!

Happy Reading!