Book Review: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller 

39073382
Title:
 Warrior of the Wild

Author: Tricia Levenseller 
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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

Synopsis:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.


banners (29)

It saddens me that I did not love Warrior of the Wild as much as I hoped. I had very high expectations for this book because I loved the humor, smart wit, and female empowerment of the author’s first action-packed series, a pirate-themed duology called Daughter of the Pirate King. However, even though I know many readers will enjoy Warrior of the Wild, I personally found the character development very static and the story predictable at times.

In regards to the main character, I had a really hard time connecting with Rasmira because she stays very guarded and stasis throughout her journey in the book. She is very determined and goal-oriented, but I felt like she lacked the capabilities to learn and mature. It’s at the very end of the book that she finally opens up and allows herself to accept change, new friendships, and experiences. 

As for the predictability of the storyline, there were a few twists in the book and some epiphany scientific discoveries. But overall I seemed to pick up on the betrayals and surprises before they occurred, which unfortunately stilled the story for me. 

Although this book did not work for me, I can definitely see it being an amazing read for people who love slow-burn romances and Vikings. The main character Rasmira is a female warrior who physically guards herself and her emotions very well. She wants to make her father and her village proud. She is fierce and determined, which are not favorable attributes with her male peers so she makes enemies really quick. In the beginning, Rasmira has her life carefully planned out, but after experiencing betrayal on multiple fronts and then banishment, her main goals are survival and killing a god. 

Warrior of the Wild is a very well-written book sprinkled with action-packed scenes and complex friendships. Add in some ax fighting  with a dash of romance and you have a recipe for an engaging Viking-inspired novel.

1 star rating

Note: Thank you to Macmillan/Fierce Reads for providing me an e-arc of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.
Advertisements

Book Review: Famous In A Small Town by Emma Mills

35526663
Title:
 Famous in A Small Town

Author: Emma Mills
Publisher:  Henry Holt
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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

Synopsis:

For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for. 

Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm’s length. Sophie in particular. 

Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.


banners (27).png

I’m not much for country music, but the small-town feel of Famous In A Small Town by Emma Mills won me over. If I could count how many times I laughed out loud on my fingers, I would need more fingers. But even though I found myself laughing throughout the story, I did find this book to have a more serious tone than past Emma Mills’ books that I enjoyed.

I love the friendships that Emma creates in her books, and Famous In a Small Town has A LOT of them…A LOT! The numerous amount of friends in this book overwhelmed me at first, but that did not falter me from staying focused on the story at hand. I had a hard time relating to the main character (Sophie) and her friends and family, but this doesn’t mean that other readers won’t connect to her. Sophie’s story broke my heart and then carefully pieced it back together with love, laughter, and macaroni and cheese (the good kind, that you make on the stove, not that gross kind that you make in the microwave). 

If you are already an Emma Mills fanatic, and even if you are not, this book will make your heart ache like a country song that you tell everyone that you hate, but you actually might love because it’s so damn catchy! Plus there are some swoons! I love me some good “Emma Mills” swoons!

3 star rating

Note: Thank you to Henry Holt and Fierce Reads for providing me an early copy of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

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. 

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. 

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: Review of Legendary by Stephanie Garber

36329818
Title:
 Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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

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.


legendary banner

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. 

star rating

swirl

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.