Book Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Title: Rebel of the Sands
By: Alwyn Hamilton
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Source: Uppercasebox Subscription

ABOUT REBEL OF THE SANDS:

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 


My Rants and Raves of Rebel of the Sands

First, Rebel of the Sands saved me from another reading slump. I am a mood reader, and lately I’ve been thinking that I need to read fluffy contemporaries or romantic NA books, but I was wrong, I needed this engaging fantasy! I needed Rebel of the Sands, because in the end, it had beautiful world-building, elaborate folklore and creatures, well-rounded characters, and an eager-to-finish storyline. 

I am sucker for badass female characters, and Alwyn Hamilton, the author, does not disappoint with creating a feisty, determined heroine named Amani. Amani is not a character that grew on me; instead I fell instantly in love with her.  Like Shakespeare’s Rosalind in “As You Like It,” Amani can crossdress with the best of them; she can shoot better than Annie Oakley; she upholds the compassion of J.K. Rowling’s Ms. Weasley; and she is as baddass as  Joss Whedon’s Buffy. Furthermore, I loved Amani’s ability to think before she acted, and a majority of the time her actions are cautious, selfless, and merciful. 

Along with Amani, I loved the character Jin. He has the roguish, “outlaw” persona, but under his mischievous personality he has a caring heart. Plus the chemistry between Amani and Jin is perfectly crafted. These two characters challenge each other in the most swoonworthy ways. They are definitely a dynamic duo that will give you the warm fuzzies. 

Rebel of the Sands is one of the most satisfying books I have read this year. I loved how unpredictable this book is, as well as how intricate it is, and how thought-provoking the main characters, secondary characters, and the fantastical characters, like the Nightmares, Skinwalkers, and Djinns, are depicted. More importantly, I loved how smoothly the plot unfolded; as I read each chapter, I honestly felt like I was delicately being carried away on a wistful breeze across the hot, desert sand. 

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

NOTE:  I received this book in an Uppercasebox Subscription, which I paid for with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Top Five Wednesday: Characters I WOULDN’T Want to Trade Places With

Top 5 Wednesday

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY is a weekly meme created by Lainey @ GingerReadsLainey and is currently hosted by Samantha @ Thoughts on TomesEvery Wednesday a new topic is listed on the Goodreads group, and you list your top 5 books related to the particular topic.

This week’s topic is…

Characters I WOULDN’T Want to Trade Places With

  1. Katniss from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne CollinsImage result for the hunger games .gif
  2. Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead graphic novels by Robert KirkmanImage result for rick grimes and zombies .gif
  3. Cassie from The Fifth Wave series by Rick Yancey Image result for cassie The Fifth Wave .gif
  4. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth Image result for lady macbeth and macbeth
  5. Lynn from Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis 13112869

 

What are some characters that you would never trade places with?

Top Ten Tuesday: Audiobooks

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic is…

Audiobooks I Have Loved

I am not a huge audiobook fan. I rarely listen to them, but here are a few that I have enjoyed in the past. 

(Click the book cover to link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)

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That’s right friends, I have only listened to and enjoyed four audiobooks, HAHAHA.

What audiobooks would you highly suggest that I listen to? (It seems I have some catching up to do.)

 

Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday Blog Tour!: Skins and Other Stories & Giveaway

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Welcome to Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday Blog Tour hosted by Hannah from Irish Banana and Wunderkind PR. I am so ecstatic that I was invited to review one of my all-time favorite collections of short stories, Skin and Other Stories by Mr. Dahl. 

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By: Roald Dahl
Published by: Puffin Books
Genres: Young Adult, Short Stories, Fiction, Horror, Fantasy

 

About Skin and Other Stories:

How would you get rid of a murder weapon without causing suspicion? Where would you hide a diamond where no one else would think of looking? What if you found out that the tattoo on your back was worth over a million dollars? You will discover that just about anything is possible in a Roald Dahl story, and here are eleven of his very best.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | The Book Depository


MY RANTS AND RAVES OF SKIN AND OTHER STORIES

Roald Dahl is most known for his novels, but what some people do not know is that he has a collection of short stories, Skin and Other Stories, which are equally as intriguing, humorous, and amazing as his most cherished children’s books. Each story in this book is quirky and unique. This is definitely a collection of short stories that I always turn to during Autumn, because it is the perfect combination of dark, witty, and wicked tales to curl up with. 

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The first time I read these stories was in high school, and after recently rereading them, I love this collection even more. These stories are strange, imaginative, and have the most elaborate twists. This collection ranges from a story about a  priceless, all-covering back tattoo to helpless, crying roses to an overly suspicious, wounded WWII-pilot. I like that these stories are entertaining, but there is also some satire behind these stories, which are layered with commentary on the irrationality of human actions and human nature. If you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, or Chuck Palahniuk, I highly recommend that you read Skin and Other Short Stories. Dahl’s storytelling is indifferent, frightful, and creepy, which make his stories overwhelmingly memorable. 

Overall, Dahl’s Skin and Other Stories is the perfect book for any young adult and/or adult fan that loves dark humor and mystery. It is hard for me to pick out a favorite story in this collection, but if I had to choose, I would highly recommend reading “Lamb to the Slaughter.” The female protagonist is smart, witty, and so deceiving. I believe this is the most well-known short story written by Dahl, but there is a reason for that notability. This story is brilliant. The major twist in this short story is humorous, dark, and shocking. But mainly, I like this story, because it is so absurd. It would definitely make a good episode for a “getting away with murder”-type of show.

 

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Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.

Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach – when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication ofJames and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.

Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film.  Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.

Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.

The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.

On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.

 

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1 winner can pick 5 books from the Roald Dahl collection! US Only.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: French Fries With A Side of Guys by Rebekah L. Purdy

French Fries With A Side of Guys
Rebekah L. Purdy
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: September 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Payton Carter is one of six kids (all of which are named after famous football players), not to mention the only girl in the Carter household. With this much testosterone and no mother, it’s no wonder she’s absolutely clueless when it comes to makeup, dances, and talking to guys she’s crushing on. And now she’s about ready to start her freshman year of high school, which is nerve wrenching enough, but when she ends up running into her crush, Chance Montgomery, at her dad’s sports restaurant, she finds out that the quarterback for their rival team is moving to Aller Falls. This is nothing short of fate.

Payton realizes she has to find a way to impress Chance and get him to ask her out or at least know she’s interested in him—preferably without dropping a plateful of fries on his head, like she did last time. After taking her two oldest brothers’ advice, she decides to go out for the freshman football team, figuring that between practices and games she and her crush will surely be able to talk. And maybe talking will lead to something more permanent or at least to a first kiss. Only this plan backfires in ways she never imagined, when she beats Chance Montgomery out of the starting quarterback position. Now not only does she make him the laughing stock of the team, but also has to figure out how to avoid the snotty cheerleaders, a traitor best friend, not to mention winning games for her team. Too bad this is just the beginning of her freshman year.

 

Goodreads / Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

“Hey, would you mind taking that back table for me?” Marino gestured to two teenage guys in a booth.

“Uhh … sure.” She shrugged, grabbing a stack of menus and some clean silverware. But as she got closer, Payton nearly stopped in place, recognizing the familiar faces of the star quarterbacks from Lawson High’s JV and freshman teams. Their rival school. Her breath caught in her throat. There, no more than five feet in front of her, was Chance Montgomery. Her pulse pounded like horse hooves on cement. The Chance Montgomery—who’d filled every fantasy vision she’d ever had—was sitting in her dad’s restaurant, looking gorgeous. He was the same age she was and had been in the newspaper a couple times as an upcoming star. In eighth grade he’d already had the high school coaches scouting him, dreaming of the day he’d step up and lead their teams to victory.

Chance Montgomery was the only boy she’d ever considered as full-on dating material. Not that she thought for one second he’d go for her. But hey, a girl could dream. And if you were gonna dream, you might as well go all out. Payton tried not to stare at his ivy-colored eyes, or the way his brown hair curled up at the nape of his neck.

She even attempted not to follow the line of his arm muscles to what looked like strong hands. Payton sucked in a deep breath. Okay. She could totally do this. Just smile.

Nervousness took over, and her legs felt as if they were locking. Her mouth suddenly seemed dry, like she had a wad of cotton balls stuffed in her cheeks.

“Hi, welcome to Carter’s Sports House—can I start you off with a drink?” she rattled off, barely remembering to smile, while her hands quaked with the simple effort of holding a pen. She was holding a pen, wasn’t she? She peered down to make sure.

“Lemonade,” Chance answered, giving her one of his winning, knock-’em-dead grins.

It was like a powerful punch to the gut, and she wanted to fall over from the impact.

Damn. Someone should put a warning label on this boy’s mouth. God. She needed to quit staring at his lips. Which, from where she was standing, looked pretty kissable. Not that she had any experience in that area, but she sure wouldn’t mind getting some if it involved him. After taking his brother’s drink order, too, she went off to fill them.

“Do you guys know who that is?” She glared at Bradshaw, trying to fathom how her brothers could possibly make her wait on them.

“Yep, the Montgomery brothers. Wonder if they’re trying to scout out the competition?” he teased. “Try and find out, would ya?”

Author Bio:

Rebekah was born and raised in Michigan where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. She’s lived in Michigan most of her life other than the few years she spent in the U.S. Army. At which time she got a chance to experience Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and California. Rebekah has a business degree from University of Phoenix and currently works full time for the court system. In her free time she writes YA stories, anything from YA Fantasy to YA Contemporary Romance. Rebekah also has a big family (6 kids) she likes to consider her family as the modern day Brady Bunch complete with crazy road trips and game nights. When not hiding at her computer, Rebekah enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games, traveling, and hanging out with her family and gazillion pets.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

Win: $5 Amazon gift card + ebook copy of French Fries With A Side of Guys
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Top Five Wednesday: Books You Want to See as TV Shows

Top 5 Wednesday

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY is a weekly meme created by Lainey @ GingerReadsLainey and is currently hosted by Samantha @ Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday a new topic is listed on the Goodreads group, and you list your top 5 books related to the particular topic.

This week’s topic is…

Books You Want to See as TV Shows

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All hail the writers, husband and wife behind Ilona Andrews, who have created the most innovative, heart-pounding, swoonworthy, kiss-ass heroine series. The Kate Daniels series needs to be a TV show RIGHT NOW! READ IT, PEOPLE! YOU WILL LOVE IT, AND WITH EVERY BOOK YOU WILL WANT MORE OF KATE AND CURRAN.  

 

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I cannot rave enough about this series. It is perfection at its finest. The writing is magnificent, the characters jump right off the page, and the story is so heart-wrenching and wonderful. This needs to be a TV series or at least a movie ASAP!

 

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I want a Steampunk TV show on air NOW, and I think this series would be a great way to go about that dream. 

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About five years ago, I was obsessed with this book series. Because of the humor and quirkiness in this series, it is definitely TV worthy. 

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I would love to see this book unfold into a TV show, and hopefully see how Kit and Nat live after Speare’s final chapters. 

Top Ten Tuesday: ALL TIME Favorite Books of the Fantasy Genre

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre, so I picked Fantasy 

(Click the book cover to link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)

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Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read, so this is just skimming the surface of my most loved fantasy books/series.

What are your ALL TIME favorite books in the Fantasy genre? I would love to check out your recommendations.