If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

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Title:
 The Lost Sisters 
(The Folk of the Air #1.5)
Author: Holly Black
Publisher:
NOVL

Release Date: October 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Novella, Short Story

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Synopsis:

Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes . . . 

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke. 

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

The Lost Sisters is a companion e-novella to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince by master writer Holly Black.


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The Lost Sisters is an e-novella that provides Taryn’s , Jude’s twin sister’s, point of view of the events that took place in The Cruel Prince. And you guys, it feels so good to back in Elfhame even if it is through a handful of pages. I enjoyed this short story because we get another person’s perspective of the twisted dynamics that play between Cardan and Jude. And more importantly, we watch and understand the relationship that blooms between Taryn and Locke. UGH, and LOCKE! He is such a weasel. I hope his trickster ways finally catch up to him. 

I also liked that Taryn puts her heart and soul in this confession to Jude–we begin to understand Taryn’s motivations and heartache. But overall, even with Taryn’s actions explained, I still do not sympathize with her. 

Taryn, what happened to sisters before misters?!

Home fries before fae guys!

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Taryn, I swear, you need to get it together, because Jude doesn’t take betrayal too lightly!

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My Rating of :

4 star rating

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Note:   I bought this e-novella with my own funds, and was not asked to review it by the publisher. All statements and opinions are my own.
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If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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Title:
 Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher:
Del Rey

Release Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling

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Synopsis:

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


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Spinning Silver is the second book I have read by Naomi Novik, and once again I fell in love with her characters and storytelling. You guys, I spent weeks savoring this book because I did not want it to end. Naomi Novik’s gift of writing is enchanting, mesmerizing, and overall, purely a magical experience. 

Told in multiple points-of-view, Spinning Silver weaves together the fairy-tale features of “Rumpelstiltskin” with a new tale of female empowerment. Multiple characters provide details of their surroundings but their narratives are intricately bounded and immersed into one main story. At times the storytelling can become so complex and dense that you have to pay attention to detail to acknowledge whose point of view you are reading. But overall the pacing is executed so well, which allows the narration to mirror a theatrical experience. 

In the end, I highly recommend that if you love fantastical fairy-tale retellings, you have to read Spinning Silver. I loved that there are multiple villains in this novel, and both of them are just as sharp and biting as the wintery setting. I admired the idea that romance and relationships are not taken lightly in this book; the fierce female characters make sure that love and respect are earned. Overall, Spinning Silver is a slow-burning fantasy that interweaves rich magic, cunning and bold female protagonists, and antagonists that teeter on being morally gray, and in all honestly, this book was a delectable morsel to read. 

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My Rating of :star rating

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Note:   Thank you to Del Rey and Netgalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Although I was provided a galley of the book, my review is of the final published copy of the book. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Mood Board of The Wicked King by Holly Black

26032887Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: January 8, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


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Remember how floored I was after reading The Cruel Prince. Well, I’m not going to hold anything back, but you guys, The Wicked King is just as enticing and brutal as the first book. Jude is still badass and fighting tooth and nail to survive in the Faerie folk world; Cardan is slouched on the throne in a state of boredom and drunken bliss; and every character that we encounter throughout the story is just as biting and cutthroat as the other.

And instead of going into a full review of The Wicking King (which I will post closer to the release date), where I talk about how my heart cannot take much more of these twists, turns, and acts of betrayal inked by Holly Black’s storytelling, I decided to dabble in creating an mood board, which I hope gets you more excited for the upcoming sequel. Because honestly, right now, I cannot fathom to express my thoughts on the angst and treachery ingrained in this book into words. I just CANNOT! *sobs uncontrollably* . . . I need The Queen of Nothing now. 

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My Rating of The Wicked King:star rating

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Note:   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I received an early copy of this book from a friend, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. Please note that not all pictures/photos used in the mood board are mine, but were found on stock photo sites and Pinterest. 

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: of The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace

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Title:
 The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Publisher:
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Poetry, Feminism

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Synopsis:

2016 Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace returns in the witch doesn’t burn in this one — the bold second book in her “women are some kind of magic” series. 

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.


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You guys, Amanda Lovelace has done it again. Amanda’s poems in The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One are an eye-opening message to a past that has shaped women and feminism. The message picks up on women’s continuing struggle to break out of the box because we are told that we are too fragile and emotional and weak for the outside world.

As a collection of poems, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One is empowering and bold and I could feel my soul ignite with the courage and indestructibility that Lovelace ingrains through each stanza and each word. I love that these poems are emotional and raw. They are the words of a survivor and a fighter.

Lovelace’s poems do not act like a wake up call for the reality of what woman have faced and continue to face; instead it is a siren song: “You are fierce, you are beautiful, you are worth it, you are flames…Burn! Leave a path of ashes for the past to acknowledge where you came from, but also a path towards a future of change. Overall, I loved this collection of poems, because each poem is a reflection of loss, grief, acceptance, self-love, strength, and/or healing. I read the book in one sitting, and I can see many rereads of it in the future. 

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Note:   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. 

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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Title:
 Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher:
Del Rey
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Genres: Young Adult/Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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Synopsis:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.


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Uprooted reads like a dark fairy-tale that ignites the most luminous story of courage, female empowerment, whimsical magic, and a hint of romance. I read this book back in November 2015 and this year I decided to do a re-read, because honestly I cannot get this story or the characters out of my head. And once again, I savored Uprooted to the very end.

Every chapter of Uprooted is captivating and beautifully written. The main character, Agnieszka, is a fierce heroine that is very in tune with her natural ability to be bold and selfless. I loved that Agnieszka is portrayed as being very intuitive to her magical gifts, but she never tries to outshine those around her. She observes, learns, and reacts with her instincts. Although her teacher, the Dragon, often gets irritated with her  because she doesn’t stick to the rule book of magic, you can definitely see that he respects and cares for her. 

Along with Uprooted being an enchanting, fairy-tale-esque  story, the book also contains a slow-burn romance that will make your insides tingle. I loved reading the pages where Agnieszka and the Dragon argue and banter. The chemistry between these two characters is deeply rooted with passion, care, and respect for each other. 

I also want to rave about the portrayal of female empowerment in Uprooted. While men in the novel try to play by traditional (patriarchal) standards and set rules, the female characters listen to their intuition and solve problems by their innate reactions. The female characters do not try to cut each other down. Instead they work together, often becoming each other’s saviors instead of the men being the “knights in shining armor.” 

Overall, once again, I loved every second of Uprooted. The magic is dark but the characters are incredibly stunning. I really enjoyed the whimsical twists and gruesome turns. But most of all, I love that the quiet, simple girl doesn’t get lost in the pages or overshadowed by potential heroes;  instead she uses her fears, instincts, and vulnerabilities as strengths to conquer evil. 

star rating

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Note:   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. 

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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Title:
 Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.


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Hello, again! Yes, I am back to gush and rave about the world of Caraval (RAVING REVIEW HERE), but more importantly its sequel: Legendary. As some of you already know, I am a huge Caraval fanatic. I’ve read the book three times, and each time it gets better and better. So when Legendary was announced, I knew I had to get my hands on it, and of course buy all the copies: US edition, special editions, Goldsboro’s edition, Waterstone’s edition, and all the UK editions. I’m a mess, you guys! I know it’s the same book with the same exact words with the same story, but I need all the editions. And finally, after much . . . and I mean so much contemplation, and trying to accept that my raving review would have to be sufficient enough to explain how much I LOVED Legendary, here are a few of my raving thoughts on the book.

Once again Stephanie Garber, creates a world filled with magic, romance, mystery, enchantment, and the most beautiful darkness. I adore Stephanie’s richly descriptive writing style. Each of her sentences are like shimmering swirls of an enchanting spell. Stephanie’s storytelling is very atmospheric, metaphoric ,and spellbinding; it has that hint of pulling at the heart and the aching emotion that true magic encompasses the world of Caraval.

Legendary is Tella’s story (Scarlett’s sister). I will admit, at first, I was not 100% on board for Tella’s story, because I wanted more Scarlett, but WHOA! I am so glad I gave Tella and her story a chance. Tella acts so fierce and determined on the outside. But behind her fire, Tella bottles up her loneliness, the motivation to protect her sister, and the emotional effects of being abandoned by her mother at such a young age. Even though everyone seems to underestimate Tella, she is definitely a fighter. What I like about Tella is that she doesn’t hold back any attitude or motivation to do what she believes is right. There is a darker aura that surrounds Tella compared to Scarlett, but I enjoyed watching Tella mature throughout the novel.

I also found Legendary to be much more darker than Caraval, and the darker atmosphere definitely adds a lot of intrigue and mystery to the novel. Death and loneliness tend be constant entities that litter Tella’s story, and you just cannot look away from the action that ensues. I highly recommend that you read Legendary NOW! Not only will you discover the true identity of Legend, but you will also be swept up into a new game of Caraval with deadly kisses, the power of the fates, and sacrifice. 

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Note: Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour: A Playlist for THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold

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Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All except his Strange Fascinations . . . 

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.


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Told in first person point of view, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a coming-of-age story that explores the strange and fascinating life of Noah Oakman. Noah is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. After being hypnotized, Noah starts noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. As Noah explores these odd occurrences, he also starts contemplating the definition of being alone versus alienation. Throughout the novel, Noah delves into his life choices while backpacking his favorite authors, books, musicians like David Bowie, and iconic songs along for the ride. Check out my 5-star RAVING review HERE

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Music and notable musicians play important roles in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and throughout Noah’s mind-boggling life he highlights the most fantastic tunes. But what fascinated me the most is that Noah’s world is surrounded by great people who inspire the perfect playlist. Below, check out some of my favorite quotes which sparked an eclectic playlist of songs. 

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WEEK ONE

May 7 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
May 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + My Strange Fascinations
May 9 – Forever Bookish – Review
May 10 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Playlist with Graphic Quotes
May 11 – Adventures in YA Publishing – Author Q&A

WEEK TWO

May 14 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 15 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Graphic Quotes
May 16 – BookCrushin – Review + Playlist
May 17 – Mind of a Book Dragon – Review
May 18 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post:  What Would Your Strange Fascination Be?

WEEK THREE

May 21 – Pop! Goes the Reader – Wallpaper
May 22 – The Young Folks – Author Q&A
May 23 – Page Travels – Creative Instagram
May 24 – Bookfoolery – Review
May 25 – Dazzled by Books – Candle Creation Post + Review

WEEK FOUR

May 28 – Paper Trail YA – Author Q&A
May 29 – Snowandbooks – Review + Aesthetic Board
May 30 – Reading Writing and Me – Book Review
May 31 – The Radiant Reader – Playlist + Creative Instagram Picture
June 1 – We Live and Breathe Books – Review + Moodboard

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David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.

 

 

WEBSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK 
 /   
INSTAGRAM

 

 


Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that I do not own or have rights to any of the music, lyrics, quotes, or videos shown in this blog post. All quote images were created by me.