Format: Paperback

Arc Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Posted April 21, 2017 by Emily in Review / 1 Comment

Arc Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee AhdiehFlame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 16th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I . NEED. BOOK. TWO.

I knew this wasn’t a standalone, but I got completely caught up in it and stopped thinking about how it wasn’t going to end. Now I need to know!

Flame in the Mist transports you into the life of Mariko, the daughter of a Samurai and therefore wealthy. In fact, she’s been promised to the Emperor’s son as a wife. She’s never content with just being valued as marital property only, but in the beginning she’s succumbed to her father’s wishes and is headed to be wed. That’s when her life forever changes. Her caravan is attacked and she overhears that she was the target. She fakes death, cuts her hair off to appear as a boy, and heads off to find answers as to who wants her dead.

We’re introduced to multiple characters in the Black Clan, who has been identified as the hired assassins. This is one of the best aspects of the story. The characters are so well-developed and you can’t help but feel some type of way about them.

I’m also a sucker for a mystery. If a book can keep me guessing and dying for answers, then I’m happy. This book definitely delivers. It’s the perfect mix of loveable (or hateable) characters, romance, and mystery. I also thought this was just enough Mulan mixed with originality. I love fairy tale retellings that add their own to the story, and Ahdieh accomplishes that.

5 stars, hands down. I loved it.

five-stars

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Joint Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

Posted April 10, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments

Joint Review: When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse on May 30th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, romance
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel are both recent high school graduates headed to a summer coding program in San Francisco. The big difference? Dimple is going because coding is in her soul, while Rishi is going to meet Dimple in hopes of a marriage arranged by their parents. Their first encounter is a disaster and spit-fire Dimple is bound to  win Insomnia Con without him dragging her down.

I’ve heard some say that the romantic pacing was a little “insta-lovey”, but I found their feelings to match those of regular teenagers and young adults. I thought their relationship was cute and some of the challenges they faced were relatable. I adored Rishi’s love of family and culture, and in contrast Dimple’s need for independence and desire to accomplish her dreams despite tradition. They balanced each other’s personalities well.

I thought the supporting characters, Ashish and Celia, added a lot to the story. They each had independent stories and unique personalities, but came together for Rishi and Dimple and each other. I loved the common ground the two brothers found after thinking they were so completely different. As a sister to 5, I know all about being night and day with a sibling and yet still seeing that there are times when we’re on the same team and I’ll never be alone in the world.

Cute, charming story. 4.5 stars from me!

 

 

Now contemporary books are not my usually fare. I’m much more picky and less forgiving about a contemporary romance than I am a fantasy. I love dark fantasy and horror so light romance is usually way too cutesy for me. I’m very hard to please.

When Dimple Met Rishi melted my icy black heart. It was so adorable. Dimple and Rishi have the perfect storybook meet cute. It is a hilarious disaster. They start out at odds and it was so much fun to watch their relationship blossom from there.

I loved the dichotomy of the characters. Rishi is a huge romantic. He believes in the tradition and culture that he was raised in and he wants to continue in his parent’s footsteps. Most of all, he grew up seeing their love and happiness in their arranged marriage and he wants that for himself. Dimple, on the other hand, feels trapped by the weight of tradition. She wants to have a career in technology and program apps that she is passionate about but she’s afraid that her dreams are in direct opposition to her parent’s plans for her.

four-half-stars

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Arc Review: Exo Project

Arc Review: Exo Project

The Exo Project by Andrew DeYoung Published by Boyds Mills Press on April 4th 2017 Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult Pages: 455 Format: Paperback Source: the author Buy on Amazon Goodreads This fast-paced, sharply written multiple-perspective YA science-fiction debut opens on a future Earth ravaged by solar radiation. Desperate for money to save his sick mother, seventeen-year-old Matthew agrees to participate in the Exo Project, a government plan to save the human race by flying across the galaxy in search of a habitable planet for resettlement. He thinks he’s been given a death sentence: 100 years in cryostasis, followed by a quick death on some barren world. But then he lands on Gle’ah, discovering the strange, beautiful creatures who live there, including Kiva, the captivating teenage girl who leads her planet’s matriarchal society. Kiva views Matthew as a threat and for good reason—if he tells Earth that he’s found a suitable planet, it will mean the end of her people’s way of life. But then Kiva and Matthew discover an emotional connection they never expected—and as they begin to delve into the secrets of Matthew’s mission and the dark truth behind the seeming paradise of Gle’ah, the choices they make will have consequences for both of their worlds. I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion […]

Posted April 4, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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First We Were IV

First We Were IV

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on July 25th 2017 Genres: Thriller, Young Adult Pages: 448 Format: Paperback Source: the author Buy on Amazon Goodreads It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.A secret society – for the four of us. The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that. Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.We wanted revenge.We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to. Our invention ratcheted out of control.What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion. I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Fancast This is my first time doing a fancast. It was a challenge for me, but I ended up really enjoying it. I hope you enjoy my picks and I’d love to hear if you agree or disagree! Graham Graham is described as strawberry […]

Posted April 3, 2017 by Emily in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Special Feature / 1 Comment
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Rockstar Review: Blood Rose Rebellion

Rockstar Review: Blood Rose Rebellion

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1 Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on March 28th 2017 Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Pages: 416 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place. Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary. Her life might well be over. In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t […]

Posted March 29, 2017 by Emily in Blog Tour, Review / 0 Comments
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Review: The Gilded Cage by Vic James

Review: The Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage by Vic James Series: Dark Gifts #1 Published by Del Rey Books on February 14th 2017 Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult Pages: 368 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved. Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. A girl thirsts for love and knowledge. Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? A boy dreams of revolution. Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts. He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy? I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. […]

Posted March 23, 2017 by Emily in Review / 1 Comment
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Review: American Street

Review: American Street

American Street by Ibi Zoboi Published by Balzer + Bray on February 14th 2017 Genres: Contemporary, romance, Young Adult Pages: 336 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My favorite part of this book was the voice of the narrator, Fabiola. She’s a teenage immigrant from Haiti whose mother gets detained when they attempt to come into the country. Her mother sends her ahead to Detroit where her aunt and cousins are waiting for them. The story is of her journey to get her mother released and her first few months as […]

Posted March 21, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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Arc Review: Literally by Lucy Keating

Arc Review: Literally by Lucy Keating

Literally by Lucy Keating Published by HarperTeen on April 11th 2017 Genres: Contemporary, romance, Young Adult Pages: 256 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins. Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.” I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This was such a sweet book with a really original premise behind it. Annabelle is a seemingly normal teenager living her life trying to make it through her creative writing class. When […]

Posted March 16, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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Review: The Ship Beyond Time

Review: The Ship Beyond Time

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig Series: The Girl from Everywhere #2 Published by Greenwillow Books on February 28th 2017 Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, romance Pages: 464 Format: Paperback Source: the publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy. Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father? Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is […]

Posted March 9, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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ARC Review: Dreamland Burning

ARC Review: Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning is beautifully written with a contrast between present day and 1921 and the racial issues that plague the United States. It’s not always a “pleasant” read, but it the impact was enormous. As a white person, it’s painful to read how African Americans were treated in the not-so-long-ago past. To be black and to read this must be an entirely different level of anger and disgust. I liked the characters and how they were from all walks of life, past and present. I think those were really intelligent choices made by the author. For example, the present day teenage main character, Rowan, was a biracial girl living a considerably privileged life. Her family was wealthy, her father was white and from a powerful family, and she went to a private school with mostly white students who she fit in with well because of her finances. This made her somewhat out of touch when it came to situations that afflicted other black Americans who didn’t have the same lifestyle. To balance her out, she had an asexual black best friend who sometimes put her in her place, so to speak. Her job in a clinic was also eye opening for her. On the other hand, the teenage boy from 1921, Will Tillman, presented an entirely different perspective. His journey was obviously the more horrendous because it depicts the […]

Posted February 23, 2017 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments
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