If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: A Review of This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: Signed copy from UppercaseBox

About the book:

There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?

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


Rants and Raves of This Savage Song

If Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a book-baby, their offspring would be Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song. This book has the all the right elements to a story that is both socially aware of prejudices and discrimination, while also situating the reader in a high school setting that is heavily fogged with tragedy, comedy, and mystery. Each chapter is filled with villains, twists, and possible heroes-in-the-making. And just like every coin that has two sides, Schwab’s novel creates monsters that have the stigma to be vigilantes, while humans have the capacity of being actual nightmares.

One of my favorite things about fantasy books is that they have the power to pull you into an alternate world. And although fantasies are a good way to escape the real world, I love that many books, like Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song, parallels the complications and injustices that shadow reality. From the very beginning, Schwab’s elegant writing had me hooked. I could not turn away from the monstrous world that her main characters, Kate Harker and August Flynn, inhabited. Kate and August are complete opposites, two different beings from different sides of a wasted city, but they use their differences to help each other, creating a friendship based on accountability and trust.  

Schwab layers her fast-paced storyline with undertones of friendship, family, and vindication, which kept me invested in the story for one sitting. An uprising is approaching, and I cannot wait to read the fates of Kate and August in Our Dark Duet

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NOTE:  I received this book in an Uppercasebox Subscription. 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.

W…W…W…Wednesday: 1/25/2017

W…W…W…Wednesday

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W…W…W…Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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What does your own W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

Top Ten Tuesday: FREEBIE!

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic is a FREEBIE!…

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

(Click on the book cover to be linked to its Goodreads page or my review)

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If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: A Review of The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

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Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publication date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Signed, personalized copy I bought from Kepler’s Bookstore

About the Book:

Vika Andreyev can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose

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


Rants and Raves of The Crown’s Game

First I like to note that this review is a flashback and flash forward response to my two readings of The Crown’s Game. 

When I first read The Crown’s Game in the Summer of 2016, I went into the book with such high hopes and the lingering, earful of praises of how amazing it is. At first the book started off really show for me, and I had such a hard time immersing myself into the story. The writing was beautiful but the characters and storyline just would not click with me. But of course the magic, fantasy, Russian setting, and alt-history elements were the main reasons I stuck to finishing the book. All of these elements were beautifully executed on the page, and in the end, I rated The Crown’s Game 2.5 stars out of 5.

I felt bad for not fully loving a book so reminiscent of one of my favorite novels, The Night Circus, but I guess I was just in a terrible reading funk. And as a side note, I am a mood reader, and 2016 set my record of 5 reading slumps–2016 was just a bad year all around. But as the months passed by, The Crown’s Game stuck with me. In my original review of the book, I stated on my Goodreads, “Evelyn Skye’s Russian tale upholds as an unforgettable story about power, betrayal, and friendship,” but I still felt like something was missing. And months after reading The Crown’s Game, it was in my mind, my heart, my soul, and constantly whispering to me for a reread.

Now flash forward to 2017, and my second reading of The Crown’s Game. HOLY MOLY, people, I’m so glad I was in the right reading mood for this book. In preparation for a The Tsar’s Guard Spotlight tour (visit my post HERE), I decided to reread The Crown’s Game to get a more in-depth look into the characters. This was probably the greatest decision I have made this year (yeah, I know it’s only January 20th, hahaha). I cannot believe I forgot how enchanting Skye’s writing is–her words glue you to the page, and with every turning of the page, I felt like I was mesmerized and wrapped in swirls of magic, with a dash of worry lingering over me like a rain cloud.  I was finally attached to these characters and their stories.

So as I’m submerging myself into the series, I found the characters to be so perfect, and gut-wrenching and so fully developed with dreams, strengths, flaws, and hopes. Vika is a firecracker! I love how she is portrayed as a female badass protagonist, an enchanter that is not only strong emotionally and physically, but mentally Vika is such a fierce heroine I wanted befriend her and also encourage her to win. And her competitor, Nikolai, a fellow enchanter, is portrayed as a jack-of-all-trades, plagued with worries and loneliness. After being raised by a hellish person, I could not believe how caring and admirable he is as a competitor and friend. And even though he is not my favorite character, Pasha has a whole kingdom on his shoulders, and I have so much faith in him to mature and mentally evolve in the The Crown’s Fate. Skye’s characters are so well-rounded and emotionally developed, that I’m kicking myself for not falling in love with them when I first read this book.

And as I previously loved in my first read of the novel, the elements of magic, fantasy, and the alt-history of Russia were once again cherished in my second reading. I could get lost in Nikolai’s tailoring and tinkering of mechanics and dreams, or in Vika’s ability to make one feel like fizzy champagne. The magic in this book is so beautifully written that it can be both alluring and terrifying at times. In a world that needs more beauty, hope, and aspiration, the enchanters bring their power to full force that is both emotionally gratifying and heart-pounding.

Overall, my second reading of The Crown’s Game came at a perfect time in my life. It came at a time where I needed a fantasy to captivate me in a world of magic and hope, while also serving as an imaginative inspiration to one of my blog posts. I’m so happy that I gave this book a second chance, and I CANNOT wait for the conclusion of this series. I am definitely on the verge to sell my soul to read The Crown’s Fate

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NOTE:  I bought this book 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.

W…W…W…Wednesday: 11/18/2017

W…W…W…Wednesday

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W…W…W…Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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New adult books are my guilty pleasures, and this book has me hooked.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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This was a reread for me, and I loved this book even more this time around. I need The Crown’s Fate NOW!!!

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I posted last week that this would be my next read. I’m hoping to get to it this weekend, so I can add a review post up soon.

What does your own W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

The Tsar’s Guard Spotlight Tour: Character-Inspired Teas & Giveaway

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Welcome to the 7th day of The Tsar’s Guard Spotlight Tour hosted by Brittany’s Book Rambles! I am so excited to be part of this tour, which highlights our love for The Crown’s Game and one of our most anticipated 2017’s releases, The Crown’s Fate. Today I will be matching the main characters to teas that reflect their traits and personalities. Do not forget to enter the giveaway below for an ARC of The Crown’s Fate. And be sure to stop by each of the tour spotlights to check how some more great posts about The Crown’s Game series. 

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RED HOT CINNAMON ORGANIC BLACK TEA: As an enchanter, Vika has amazing power over the elements. Although she is a force of nature, Vika is also very loyal. Just like black tea, she is strong and bold. And like cinnamon, she is truly the “lightning girl”: fiery, fierce, and unpredictable. 

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EARL GREY MOONLIGHT TEA: Beyond being an enchanter, Nikolai has impeccable talent in mechanics, tailoring, and dancing. Like any earl grey tea, he is sharp and powerful, with a hint of sweetness. As a friend and competitor, he is very patient, admirable, and kindhearted. 

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EMPEROR’S CLOUDS AND MIST® GREEN TEA: As a master of disguise, and a member of Russian royalty, Pasha has a good soul full of laughter and enthusiasm. Like green tea, he is strong, but wistful, sweet, and carefree. Pasha is loyal and positive, but oftentimes he falls short from being responsible. 

about-the-book

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The Crown’s Fate (The Crown’s Game, #2) by Evelyn Skye
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Hardcover: 432 pages
Expected publication: May 16th, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kepler’s Books

Synopsis:

The gorgeous and darkly compelling sequel to The Crown’s Game—perfect for fans of Red Queen and Shadow and Bone.

Magic is growing, shadows are rising, and the throne is at stake…

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

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Win an ARC of The Crown’s Fate (Open International)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

tour-schedule


Jan. 9th – Brittany’s Book Rambles: The Crown’s Fate Review
Jan. 10th- Sarcasm & Lemons: Fancast
Jan. 11th- The YA Book Traveler: History of Russian Crowns
Jan. 12th Picnic Reads: Character-Based Book Tag
Jan. 13th Book Nerd Addict: Inspired Tote Design
 
Jan.16th Dazzled by Books: Top 5 Reasons I Love The Crown’s Game
Jan. 17th– Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile: Characters Matched to Teas
Jan. 18th– The Book Buzz: New Enchanter
Jan. 19th The Aus. Library: Famous Russian Fairytales
Jan. 20th–  My Thoughts Literally: Character Inspired Dessert
 
Jan. 23rd Omg Books and More Books: Books that Characters of TCG Would Enjoy
Jan. 24th– It Starts at Midnight: Virtual Tour of Russia
Jan. 25th Next Page Please!: Character Blog
Jan. 26th– The Book Nut: Playlist
Jan. 27th Arctic BooksMake-up Looks
 
Jan. 30th– Two Chicks on Books: Pinterest Recipe Board
Jan. 31th– Lost in Ever After: Typical Date for Nikolai & Vika
Feb. 1st- Alexa Loves Books: Fashion Book Look
Feb. 2nd- Sophie Reads YA: Russian History In and Out of The Crown’s Game
Feb. 3rd 21st Century Once Upon A Times: Drink Your Way Through The Crown’s Game
 
Feb. 6th- The Eater of Books: 10 Reason I’m Excited for TCF
Feb. 7th- A Thousand Words A Million Books: Top 5 Magical Moves in The Crown’s Game
Feb. 8th- Seeing Double in Neverland: Fanmade Bookmarks & Swag
Feb. 9th- A Page With A View: YA Fantasy Books set in Russia
Feb. 10th- Dana Square: Recipe from The Crown’s Game
 
Feb. 13th-YA Wednesdays: Favorite Quotes from The Crown’s Game
Feb. 14th- Juniper Reads: Sorting Characters into Fandoms
Feb. 15th- Nicole’s Novel Reads: Nail Polish Looks
Feb. 16th- The Queen Reads: What the Characters of TCG would take to a Deserted Island
Feb. 17th- A Perfection Called Books: The Crown’s Fate Review

about-the-author

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Evelyn Skye is the New York Times bestselling author of THE CROWN’S GAME (out now!) and THE CROWN’S FATE (May 16, 2017). She was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When Evelyn isn’t writing, she can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies.

Author LinksTwitter | Goodreads | Tumblr Instagram | Facebook

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic is…

Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So

(Click on the book cover to be linked to its Goodreads page or my review)

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What are some underrated/hidden gem books you have read in the past year or so?

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Frostblood by Elly Blake

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Title: FROSTBLOOD
Author: Elly Blake
Publication date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: ARC (won from NOVL’s monthly newsletter)

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

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


If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Frostblood by Elly Blake

*singing* THIS BOOK IS ON FIIIRE!!!

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As a fantasy genre fanatic, lets just say, Elly Blake’s Frostblood unexpectedly won me over. It is definitely a series that had me enamored in a setting of epic world-building, swoony scenes, a feud between firebloods and frostbloods, and hilarious banter. More importantly, I fell in love with a main character with sass, power, and jaw-clenching fierceness that could melt a glacier. 

After reading Frostblood, Ruby has become one of my favorite fantasy characters to root for. As a gifted fireblood, she is fiery both literally and in attitude. I really liked that Ruby was depicted as a persevering warrior, an authentic female protagonist, with fire in her heart and virtue in her soul. Every page allowed Ruby to radiate as a character that upholds great emotional strength, determination, quick wit, passion, and selflessness. She is a fighter and throughout the novel, I wanted to fight along with her. 

I also adored the character Arcus. As a mysterious, rogue-like character, his mystery had me mesmerized and his mischievousness had me dazed with warm fuzzies. The friendship and chemistry that develops between Ruby and Arcus in this book is enough to make glaciers crack, volcanoes erupt, and the earth quack. WOOO!!! *fans self*

Frostblood is one of my new favorite fantasy series, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Ruby and Arcus. I’m a sucker for prophecies and innate magic, so of course after reading this book in less than a day, I WANT MORE! Give me a fantasy filled with secret identities and slow-burning relationships any day, and I will be a melted mess of swoons. 

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

NOTE: Thank you to NOVL for providing me an advance reader’s copy of FROSTBLOOD, which I won from their monthly newsletter. I read this book at my own discretion. All statements and opinions are my own.

To win future books from NOVL, be sure to sign up for their monthly newsletter. Click on the  picture below to be linked to their newsletter signup page.

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Happy 1-Year Blogversary & Giveaway!!!

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I have been part of the bookish community for over 6 years, mainly as a reader and Goodreads reviewer. But after much debate, I decided to enter the bookish world as a book blogger. So on January 12, 2016, I revamped my old blog that I created in 2011 (I only had one post, hahaha), and started sharing my own rants and raves on books and anything book-related. I have loved every step, and I continue to learn things about myself, the community, and the publishing world. Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog, and more importantly, thank you for making me feel so welcome in the book blogging world. 

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My Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016

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Blog Tour: Review of Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of All the Feels by Danika Stone

Blog Tour & Giveaway: AUTOFOCUS by Lauren Gibaldi

Blog Tour & Giveaway: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Street Team Blog Tour: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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

Blog Tour & Giveaway: As I Descended by Robin Talley

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Kiss Cam by Kiara London

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Amber Sky by Amy Braun

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Spells and Sorcery by S. Usher Evans

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  • Write and post a book review each week. (Hoping to have 52 book reviews posted by the end of the year).
  • Review at least one bookish inspired item, Etsy store/product, or subscription box a month on my blog.
  • Respond quicker to blog comments.
  • Blog hop more often.
  • Participate in more book tours. 
  • Write discussion posts. 
  • Read 104 books.
  • Host more book giveaways on different social media accounts. 
  • Continue learning. Be creative. Accept criticism. And keep growing. 
  • Have fun!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win one (1) book of your choice from The Book Depository (under $15.00 limit)

Open to International and U.S. followers (Be sure to check that The Book Depository ships to your country/address). Please follow the rules/guidelines listed under each entry. I will be checking that all entries requirements are fulfilled. 

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Win these 2017 ARCs

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Only open to U.S. participants. Follow me on Twitter and Retweet the link connected to the picture above or click here.