If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

34506912
Title:
 The Prince and the Dressmaker
Author:  Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBT, Historical

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.


banners (24)


The Prince and the Dressmaker
is a heartwarming graphic novel about hope and being yourself. I didn’t know what to expect from this book but I am so glad I read it. The positive message to be proud and happy with who you are and always shoot for your dreams will make your heart ache (in a good way). I loved watching the dynamics grow between Sebastian and his dressmaker Frances, the two main characters. Their friendship is so adorable and heartwarming. Additionally, 
the illustrations in The Prince and the Dressmaker are so gorgeous and match perfectly with the style of the Sebastian’s alter ego, Lady Crystallia, a true fashionista. Definitely give this graphic novel a read for both the colorful illustrations and the cute, positive story. 

4 star rating
Note: Thank you to First Second for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange of an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. 
Advertisements

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s a Rave: Check, Please!: #Hockey, Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukazu

37534577
Title:
 Check, Please!: #Hockey, Vol. 1
Author:  Ngozi Ukazu
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBT, Sports

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.


banners (22)

AHHH! I highly enjoyed Check, Please!: #Hockey, Vol. 1. It’s cute and swoony and funny. Bitty, the main character, has the most honest and sweetest personality. I love how positive Bitty is, and I really enjoyed him talking directly to his vlogging audience (us the readers) with updates on his life, cooking adventures, and friends.

Through each page, Bitty provides the most joyful and welcoming commentary on his college experiences, what it’s like to go from a figure skater to joining a hockey team, and creating new friends who he is very hesitant to tell that he is gay. Bitty’s personality is engaging and his story is like a welcoming warm hug.

Definitely give this graphic novel a read if you love to laugh and swoon and eat pie…YUM. 

IMG_9974

4 star rating
Note: Thank you to First Second for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange of an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. 

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

40772063
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

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

 

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.


banners (21)

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!

Related image

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

Related image

My Rating of :

4 star rating

swirl

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.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

37168303
Title:
 Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher:
Del Rey

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

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

 

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.


banners (20)

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. 

spinning silver aestheic board

My Rating of :star rating

swirl

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.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

Keeper of the Bees tour banner

37638219
Title:
Keeper of the Bees
Author: Meg Kassel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Summary:

Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.
Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links: Entangled Teen

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


My Rants and Raves Keeper of the Bees

**please note that this review may contain spoilers**

There’s something dark and eerie about Meg Kassal’s storytelling, and when it comes to her atmospheric companion novel Keeper of the Bees, Kassal does not disappoint in giving her readers the creeps and the chills. Paralleling the the same fantasy world of her first novel Black Birds of the Gallows, Keeper of the Bees focuses on a beekeeper, Dresden, along with other paranormal beings like the harbingers.

At the very beginning of the novel, Dresden’s cursed life is shifted and it is all because of Essie, a human who chews peppercorns to stop hallucinations and delusions. But the sudden burst of pepper, does not halt this teenager from seeing Dresden for what he really is: a creature that wears the many faces of his victims that have gone mad and died due to his venomous stings.

I really enjoyed the banter and conversations that are ping-ponged back and forth between these two unusual characters, Essie and Dresden. While one thinks he is a monster, a beastly being, the other finds him “pretty” but doubts herself because she suffers from a family curse which is treated like a mental illness. There is an instant bond between these two characters. It starts with fascination, turns into friendship, and develops into romance. 

Keeper of the Bees is also a very fascinating read because Kassel creates her own legends and fantastical foundation. This book reflects some similar characteristics of traditional young adult paranormal books, but Kassal also gives a unique take on her own monsters and myths. I honestly love that her beastly characters heighten my sense of wonder but they are also so freaking creepy.  

If you are fond of books with a bit of mystery, myth, romance, paranormal elements, and a hint of horror, Keeper of the Bees is the right book to add to your TBR. The story is well-paced and I liked that the characters are challenged to face their own personal demons and actual monsters of the world.

swirl

MegKassel-Headshot
About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook  / Instagram  / Amazon / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

YA Bound Tour Button

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

Title: To Be Honest
Author: Maggie Ann Martin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 21st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


My Rants and Raves of To Be Honest

To Be Honest is such a feel good read that I could not put down. I wish I could tell my teenage self: “in 2018 there will be books you can relate to. They are fat positive and realistic and swoony as hell.”

In To Be Honest, I adored the main character Savannah. She is fat and healthy and proud of all her successes. Yes, she is apprehensive about big life changes and possibly dating, but this young adult rocks at math, journalism, and being an amazing friend, sister, and daughter. I loved that Savannah is bold and funny; I love that she is determined and 95% of the time says what is on her mind. 

One of my favorite parts of this novel is that the book focuses on Savannah’s internal thoughts and doesn’t sugarcoat her flaws and struggles. Instead, we are there for every verbal fight with her diet-obsessed mom, every tear-stained mascara mark, every sloppy kiss from a handsome poodle, and every laugh between half pepperoni half pineapple pizza-loving friends. I adored this book so much; every page was like a comforting hug of support and love.

If you are fan of realistic high school stories, tulle skirts, and watching young love struggle to ignite, definitely give To Be Honest a read. I loved the story and the characters and of course the white poodle named Fiyero.

4 star rating

to be honest mood board

Swirl break

Author Bio:

Maggie Ann Martin hails from Iowa City, Iowa but moonlights as a New Yorker. She has a shiny new BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, the most welcoming literary community in the world. When she is not writing, you can find her binge watching TV shows or passionately fangirling over fictional characters on the Internet. The Big F is her debut novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

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

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

 

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.


banners (19)

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. 

mood board

My Rating of The Wicked King:star rating

swirl

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.