Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of Romanov

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Title:
Romanov
Author: 
Nadine Brandes
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling

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Synopsis:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.


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I have always been fascinated by the history of the Romanov family, and through the narrative of many historical truths with a dash of magic, Nadine Brandes takes her readers on a new journey that explores Anastasia and her family’s lives. From the first page, the main character, Nastya, provides such a captivating voice and point of view that leaves the reader craving more about this mischievous spell caster and her daring trial to survive and save her family.

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Romanov hits a lot of the high points of the Romanov history, but this fictional mouthpiece also provides a unique perspective into one of the most sincerest families. While the Romanovs are imprisoned and hidden from society, this tight-knit group longs for justice, peace, and the chance to truly live again. They are often thrown into such uncomfortable situations but their tenacity, along with Nastya’s fierce but playful attitude, create perfect moments of relief. Every page had me emotional invested and yearning to see hope for Nastya and her family.

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Overall, Romanov is a very captivating story that portrays strengths in themes of forgiveness and love. I really enjoyed the steady pacing of the book, which allowed the book to smoothly flow and unfold. Plus, adding in a dash of magic and young love to a historically well-known story had me ingrained from beginning to end.

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AUTHOR
Nadine once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She’s the author of FAWKES and of the award-winning The Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine and her Auror husband are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

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Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me an e-ARC to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material are not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

Blog Tour: Review of Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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Title:
Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: E-arc from publisher
Rating: ★★★★

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Synopsis:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy . . . 

RAVING BLURBS:

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval


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Oh, Wicked Saints, you were just a whirlwind to read, and I was so happy be caught up in your storm. As a fantasy novel, Wicked Saints started off with a bang . . . but a very confusing bang: chaos and war proceeded throughout the pages and I was desperately scrambling to understand the magic system and who was who. In all honesty, it took me about 15% of the book to finally familiarize myself with all the characters, who had what powers, and understanding the political and religious powers that fueled the war littered throughout the pages. But once I started to understand the holy mess and revolutions that ensued, I could not put this book down. 

As a rarity among society, Nadezhda can speak to gods. With this commodity, the gods grant her divine powers, but the power-granting gods hope for something in return. As Nadezhda tries to break the veil for the gods to finally return and stop a war, she is thrown into political intrigue and religious turmoil. The country and kingdom are crumbling, while her path interweaves with a drunken prince who has seen nothing but war and blood throughout his young adulthood and she also joins ranks with a band of misfits (and an often-smiling, monstrous boy) who seem too trusting and all too good to be true to accept as allies. 

You guys, you need to prepare yourself for the dark character agencies and merciless blood magic that saturates Wicked Saints. There are jaw-dropping moments of lies, deception, bloody kisses, and utter betrayal. And you know what, I am so here for the next book to knock me off my feet. 

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“The future was magic, it was power, it was mankind stepping out of the shadows and finding out the world had been kept in the dark by these gods.”

“We’re all monsters . . . some of us just hide it better than others.”

“You must make a choice, little bird. Do you continue on with your wings clipped or do you fly?”

“I don’t think love is such a force that it will stop you. I’m not sure you’re even capable of it.”

“He was a liar and she wanted his truths.”

“A witch is just a girl who has realized her power is her own.”

Emily A. Duncan
About the Emily A. Duncan

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

 


SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

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Note: Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me an early copy of this book. I received this book as a #partner with St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material are not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of The Waking Forest

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Title: The Waking Forest
Author: 
 Alyssa Wees
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Pan’s Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?


review and quotes

You guys, I found The Waking Forest to be a combination of one of the most mind-boggling, creepiest, and eeriest books I have read in a long time. Told in chapters with alternating settings, this book was like reading dark fairy-stories within other grim fairytales. The novel truly felt like a web of dreams within nightmares within dreams.

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I have a strong fascination with fantasy books set in dark forests, and I loved how The Waking Forest used the forest as an entity to thicken the plot and mold the most magical scenes. Sometimes the highly decorated language was jarring and puzzling because it was literally being told through the character’s own eyes, which often stilted some scenes for me. But overall these specific instances kept me entranced by well-kept secrets and the yearning to know what was going to happen next.

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Overall, The Waking Forest is truly a dark and spellbinding novel. Once I was used to the alternating chapters and the multiple character perspectives, the book became a constant page-turner. The twisted lore and fascinating character development created a hint of mystery, and the unraveling of fantastical secrets was a constant eyeopener. Purple prose decorates the story with vivid imagery and unbelievable scenes filled with fox pets, undiscovered constellations, and tasty wishes that melt on your tongue. Family, friendships, sacrifice, and self-acceptance are important themes that allowed this story to grow into its own form of a memorable fairy tale.

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about the author

 

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In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.
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Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Delacorte for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material are not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Dysasters by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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Title:
The Dysasters
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

P.C. and Kristin Cast, the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of the House of Night phenomenon, return to the scene with The Dysasters—the first action-packed novel in a new paranormal fantasy series.

Adoptive daughter of a gifted scientist, Foster Stewart doesn’t live a “normal” life, (not that she’d want to). But controlling cloud formations and seeing airwaves aren’t things most eighteen year olds can do.

Small town star quarterback and quintessential dreamy boy next door, Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor has never thought much about his extra abilities. Sure, his night vision comes in handy during games, but who wouldn’t want that extra edge?

From the moment Foster and Tate collide, their worlds spiral and a deadly tornado forces them to work together, fully awakening their not-so-natural ability – the power to control air.

As they each deal with the tragic loss of loved ones, they’re caught by another devastating blow – they are the first in a group of teens genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements, and worse… they’re being hunted.

Now, Foster and Tate must fight to control their abilities as they learn of their past, how they came to be, who’s following them, and what tomorrow will bring… more DYSASTERS?

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It has been so long since I have read a book by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, and The Dysasters fixates their readers into a whole new world of teenagers with superpowers and a scientific villain who knows all about their “elemental” powers. Told in multiple points of view, mainly through the eyes of Foster and Tate, the book provides action-packed scenes and their fight to survive and to also understand themselves. The story is often sprinkled with black-and-white comic-stylized artwork, which adds a stunning aesthetic to the engaging dialogue. 

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About the Authors

#1 New York Times & #1 USA Today bestselling author P.C. Cast was born in the Midwest, and, after her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Booksellers’ Best, and many, many more. Ms. Cast is an experienced teacher and talented speaker who lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses.

Kristin Cast is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who teams with her mother to write the wildly successful House of Night series. She has editorial credits, a thriving t-shirt line, and a passion for all things paranormal. When away from her writing desk, Kristin loves going on adventures with her friends, family, and significant other, playing with her dogs (Grace Kelly and Hobbs the Tiny Dragon), and is currently obsessed with her baby.

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Note: Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me an early copy of this book. I received this book as a #partner with St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of A Soldier and a Liar by Caitlin Lochner

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Soldier
Title:
A Soldier and a Liar
Author: Caitlin Lochner 
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian

Synopsis:

In a world on the brink of war, four superpowered teens must learn to work together for peace in Caitlin Lochner’s action-packed debut novel, 

Lai Cathwell is good at keeping secrets. As a Nyte, a supernaturally gifted teenager who is feared and shunned by the ungifted, this skill is essential to survival. Orchestrating her own imprisonment to escape military duty has only honed her ability to deceive others. But when rebels start attacking the city, Lai is dragged back into the fight with a new team of Nytes.

Thrown together with Jay, a self-conscious perfectionist consumed by the desire to be accepted; Al, a short-tempered fighter lying for the sake of revenge; and Erik, an amnesiac hell-bent on finding his memories and his place in the world, Lai realizes she’s facing an entirely different kind of challenge—one that might just be impossible. But if this team can’t learn to work together, the entire sector will be plunged into war.

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REVIEW

It has been so long since I have read a dystopian novel and A Soldier and a Liar was the perfect book to fall back into the genre. Providing a futuristic setting where the world is in disarray and people are fighting to survive, this book provides an outlet for multiple characters to shine brightly in two main perspectives of gifted soldiers: Lai and Jay.

One of my favorite aspects of A Soldier and a Liar is that the world development is articulated and molded so well, which allows the pacing of the story to be steady and straightforward. Not only is the story filled with groups of gifted and powerful people known as Nytes, but I loved how uniquely their supernatural powers are explained and used throughout the plotting of some strategically planned and action-packed scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed that along with the fight for good and survival, the book also adds in small dashes of mystery, humor, and wit. Add in some unraveled secrets, messy twists, and unexpected turns and you won’t want to put this book down. In the end, what kept me ingrained in A Soldier and a Liar was the (un)reliable narratives and newly developed friendships, which formed the strongest bonds to keep this apocalyptic and military-driven story together.

about the author

Caitlin
Author Bio:

(Um, so, wow bios are hard.) I studied creative writing at the University of South Florida and used my BA in words to become an English teaching assistant in Tokyo. I’m in love with storytelling of any kind, but especially in the form of books, manga, and video games. If you ever want to talk nerdy, I am VERY down.

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Blog Tour : Review of White Stag by Kara Barbieri

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Title:
White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Published by: Wednesday Books
Publication date: January 8th 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

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• • • REVIEW • • •

As a goblin-infested novel, White Stag is filled with chilling thrills and the gruesome politics of the goblin world. As a human living in the goblin realm (Permafrost) for over 100 years, the main character, Janneke, is hardened by the brutality she encounters in this cruel world. Janneke is always in a fight instead of flight mode in order to survive the monstrous acts of the powerful goblins that surround her. 

At the beginning of the book, the pacing of White Stag was very choppy and abrupt, but once Janneke joins the White Stag hunt, I was ingrained in her mindset to fight, survive, and escape. The reader is often thrown into Janneke’s memories and flashbacks of being tortured, mutilated, and raped, which triggers unsettling emotions and fear, so be aware that this novel may be upsetting, triggering, and too graphic for some audiences.

Overall, White Stag is a very unique fantasy that brings a new story to goblin lore. As imagined in one of my favorite goblin-narrative poems “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, goblins are also brutal creatures in White Stag. But through Janneke’s experiences, she notices that humans can be monsters too. Beyond the abrupt flashbacks that provide Janneke’s distressing backstory, the novel is littered with action-packed fight scenes and the hint of a possible lovestory brewing. 

about the author

kara barbieri
Author Bio:

Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith

Title: Match Me If You Can
Author: Tiana Smith
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 8th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Mia’s best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn’s matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.

Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn’t count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince – the guy she knows is right for her – and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn’t find out that Mia’s been matchmaking behind her back.

Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?

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REVIEW

Match Me If You Can is a drama-filled pageturner. This romantic, fast-paced story is driven by a pure drama-llama high schooler by the name of Mia. Mia is a good student and a cautious person, but when it comes to crushes and finding the “perfect” homecoming date, Mia makes some life-changing decisions that creates a pile-up of white lies and messy hearts.

I found Match Me if You Can to be very reminiscent of 90s romance movies, so obviously I couldn’t stop turning the page to see how the story ends. And once the main character starts creating a mess of her love and social life, friendships start to falter, emotions become tangled, and Mia begins questioning her feelings between two guys. I thought the frenzy that Mia causes would sway me away from the story, but actually I was enamored by her narrative and finding out how everything would unfold. 

If you are a fan of goofy guys, dating shenanigans, and 90s romcoms, I highly recommend that you read Match Me if You Can. And for more reasons on why you should read this book, check out my moodboard below, which was inspired by some of the book’s most swooniest moments. 

Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile (2)

about the author


Author Bio:

Tiana Smith is a copywriter turned novelist who grew up in the Wild West of Montana. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her ninja boy, reading, or binging the Disney Channel. She’d love to be fluent in sign language, but for now she gets by with awkward hand gestures and even more awkward French. She has double degrees in Honors and English from Westminster College but wants to go back to school to be a lion tamer.

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