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. 
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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. 

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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.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of 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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First off . . . WHOA!

There is no one way to explain the profound literary oddities and beautiful complexities of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. But for me, this book was a combination of my favorite movie, one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite TV shows. Mix the quirks and cerebral explorations found in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, add in a dash of Holden Caulfield’s blunt honesty and independent drive and the uncensored monologues of Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, and you get the perfect tome called The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a modern-day coming-of-age story that highlights and explores the emotional aspects of being alone versus loneliness. Told in first person point-of-view, Noah (the main character) explains to the reader that he is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. He is tired of everyone expecting a traditional path for his future, when he honestly doesn’t even know what he wants. So after drinking the fruitiest of alcoholic beverages and ranting to a random stranger, Noah is hypnotized and wakes up noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. The only constant in his life is his hilarious and good-hearted sister, Penny. For months, Noah unravels his own thoughts and exerts himself into the lives of lonely strangers. And in the end, Noah wakes up to a world of panic, concerns, heartache, but more importantly, love, compassion, and a triangular friendship.

David Arnold is one of my favorite young adult writers because his novels always encompass so much passion; his characters are so authentic and his storytelling always provides a realistic truth and the raw grittiness of teenage life. So when it comes to The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, once again, David wrote a book that took my love for his work to the next level.

This contemporary book, with a sprinkle of science fiction, made me laugh so hard but also tear up in other scenes.  The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik made me want to listen to Bowie non-stop and watch my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls. And oddly enough, this novel made me think about how much I love my younger brother and how I appreciate that he is that stable constant in my life. If you love humming to the theme song of Friends and following a eccentric character that takes you on an unbeaten path, pull up a chair and open the pages to Noah’s strange and fascinating life known as The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

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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.

 


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BSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK   /   INSTAGRAM

 

 

Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

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Title:
Starry Eyes
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?


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If you love second chance romances, complicated friendships, and downright brutally honest characters, Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett is the perfect book for you. Take everything you love about Bennett’s past young adult books (if you haven’t read them yet…OHMYGOD, READ THEM!) and then multiply that love by a bajillion, and you get Starry Eyes. This novel is a mix of coming-of-age discoveries, molding friendships, and holding on to the aspect that pure love exists in all shapes and forms. 

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Starry Eyes is a meshing between Katherine Center’s Happiness for Beginners, an adult hiking story centered on new beginnings and self-discovery, and the messy complications of teenage life found in Jenn Bennett’s own Alex, Approximately.  The main characters in Starry Eyes, Zorie and Lennon, struggle throughout the pages trying to understand what happened to their past friendship, how did they come to this point in “hating” each other, and can their friendship re-ignite as they hike through mountains, fend off bears and snakes, and map their way to new beginnings. I love the chemistry between these two characters. Zorie and Lennon have a fantastic history between each other; it’s filled with inside jokes, the “great experiment,” and familial dynamics that balance on a thin line of love and hate. 

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Furthermore, I really enjoyed Starry Eyes because it focuses on so many relevant topics and diverse characters. Without providing too many spoilers, Bennett takes a refreshing stance on modern-day families. She challenges the idea of the traditional sense of parents, and it made my heart grow 3 times bigger whenever I read a scene between Zorie and her stepmom. I also liked Bennett’s ability to write about positive and safe sex decisions in a young adult novel. Zorie and Lennon’s path towards discussing sex is based on affection, consent, respect, and love. 

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In the end, this story is a beautiful mashup of star-gazing, glamping shenanigans, and a destined friendship that can withstand anything. I’m going to say it right now, Starry Eyes is by far my favorite contemporary book of 2018, so far. Zorie and Lennon’s fierceness, angst, determination, and quirks made them so captivating and so hard not to love and root for throughout each chapter. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romantic story filled with great character-development, laughs, swoons, and warm, slow-rising smiles. 

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star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

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