If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

traitor to the throne banner

29739361

 

Title: Traitor to the Throne
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Publisher:  Viking Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, 
Format: Signed Hardcover, purchased

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of Traitor to the Throne

I loved Rebel in the Sands, so I was so happy to dive back into this world. One of my favorite things about Traitor to the Throne is that it quickly picked up where we left off in the previous book. I was so afraid that I would forget the characters and the whole plot, but this was not the case. Alywn Hamilton writes with such great description and drops great hints of the backstory, so I was happily engulfed and surrounded in Amani’s world, thoughts, and motives all over again. 

What I loved most about Traitor to the Throne is that even though I am in love with the old band of characters, I also started fangirling over the introduction of new characters. As I was reading the book, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who the “traitor” might be, but you guys, there were a lot of revealing twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming. I love how action packed the story is, which honestly allowed the story to quickly flow. I could not put the book down. 

Additionally, Amani continues to be one of my favorite heroines to root for in young adult literature. I love how independent and quick thinking she is. Her motives and actions are always selfless, which usually puts her…uhhh…in not so good situations. And in Traitor to the Throne, she once again proves that she is fierce and badass. 

The only rant I have about Traitor to the Throne is that I wish there were more scenes between Amani and Jin. I love the chemistry and dynamics between these two characters. Their relationship makes my heart ache, in a good way though, and I think they are dynamite on the page. Although the plot rarely portrayed these two on the same page, I was always yearning for them when they were separated and overly excited when they were in a scene together. 

As a second book to the series, Traitor to the Throne did not disappoint. I am definitely excited for Book 3, because OHMYGOD what is going to happen next?

IMG_2662

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

Book Review: Gilt by Katherine Longshore

gilt banner

12952710

 

Title: Gilt
Author: Katherine Longshore
Publication date: May 15, 2012
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Format: Hardcover, purchased

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of (14)

This month, the book club that I am part of picked Gilt as our March read. And even though I didn’t love the book, I still enjoyed it. I love historical novels, but when it comes to King Henry VIII’s life being fictionalized, I usually cringe. He’s not my favorite king to read about, but there’s always something about his selfish choices and his numerous wives that lead to fascinating stories. Gilt was a great book to jump in and focus on the life of his teenage wife, Catherine Howard.

The author, Katherine Longshore, did a great job with sticking to a lot of the historical facts that took place during this time period. I’m one of those people that believes that history affects literature and literature affects history; so of course, this book focuses on the shenanigans that took place during Henry’s reign. Although the book highlights the marriage of young Catherine Howard and Henry, the main focus is wrapped around Catherine’s humble friend Kitty, who I adored. 

I’m not a big fan of Catherine Howard in the first place, so focusing on her marriage to Henry was probably my biggest complaint in the book. Catherine is so young and immature when she marries Henry, so it didn’t phase me that I found her annoying and infuriating in this book. However, her advancement to marrying Henry allows the character Kitty, Catherine’s childhood friend, to shine. I really enjoyed Kitty as a character. I think she is well-developed, and Longshore pays close attention to capturing Kitty as a vulnerable bystander that has a lot of spark and positive qualities, which only made me feel for Kitty’s situation and root for her success in the book. The ending is left open-ended, but I really do wish and pray that Kitty got her happy ending, especially in regards to one of her love interests. 

gilt infograph

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

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Starfall by Melissa Landers

Starfall banner

 

Title: Starfall 
Author: Melissa Landers
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi 
Format: Hardcover, purchased

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics—she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of Starfall

I swear Melissa Landers should write for a TV show. Her gift for storytelling is so engaging, and Starfall had me on the edge of my seat from chapter 1. There were so many twists and turns that I did not see coming, and I could not have asked for a better story to unfold in the Starflight series. UGH, WILL THERE BE MORE IN THIS SERIES?! PLEASE TELL ME THERE WILL BE MORE!

I love the chemistry between Cassia and Kane. Their dialogue, actions, and feelings toward each other is sizzling, swoony, and oftentimes frustrating (but so, so good). Their friendship, teasing on-and-off-again relationship, and sacrifices that they make for one another throughout the book fueled me to the very end. Their relationship is so imperfect, yet swoony, which made me root for them throughout the entire novel. 

Starfall is so quick-paced and action-packed, but it’s the development of the roguish Kane and the smart, cunning, and fierce princess Cassia that strengthened my love for this book. And I loved that behind Cassia is a gang of misfits who would sacrifice anything to keep her, and each other, from becoming a victim of their enemies. The friendships in this book (and series) are true squad goals, and allow the story to unfold with excitement and adoration. If you’re a fan of television shows like Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even The Magicians, this book is for you! You will fall in love with the strong friendships, wild escapades, snarky attitudes, and witty dialogue that meshes this novel into a one of a kind sci-fi adventure.

IMG_2614

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

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

hunted review banner

hunted-photo

 

Title: Hunted 
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Physical ARC

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of hunted

Hunted is the fairy tale that I want to read to my future children. It is the retelling that I want every girl to read, and realize, “when the world pushes me down, I can lift myself up.” The author, Meagan Spooner, has molded a beloved classic story, “Beauty and the Beast,” and has shaped it into a book where Beauty (Yeva), a beloved sister and a devoted daughter, sets out into a wilderness where only beasts are guaranteed to survive. And as the heroine of the tale, Beauty is a fighter: a fierce, fearless, and determined woman with a good heart and a quick reflex to persevere. 

One of my favorite aspects of Hunted is the pacing. The story does not move too quickly, with one action domino-ing into a quick reaction. But the story also does not linger with the slow steady steps to a happily ever after ending. Instead, Spooner’s “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, purposely chimes like a steady hand playing Claude Debussy’s “Clair De Lune.” Spooner’s words hit all the high and low notes at the precise duration and location. The book reads like a sheet of music with a steady and heart-lifting tone. 

I also enjoyed how Hunted bridges the reader between reality and the enchanted unknown. As snow hides and blankets the pawed-footprints of a predator, the wind whispers the sad melodies of cursed beasts and creatures who yearn to be saved even if the risk of death lingers in between the whirlwind of snowflakes. Spooner creates a fantastical world that is both pleasing and awe-inspiring to the senses. The world of Hunted smells of musky fur, tastes of crisp air, and crunches with the sound of dried pine needles, all while the sharp bitter frost aches your bones. And although the Beast’s forest is wild and his castle is crumbling, I loved that it is Beauty’s presence that tames his surroundings into a eyeopening world of loyalty, understanding, and compassion.  

This novel will make you believe that magic and fairy stories are real. Hunted is assorted with a dynamic cast of characters; characters who are vulnerable, feral, bewitched, haunted, or even tricksters. The world-building is lush and the characters are so sharp and primitive. I loved every aspect of Hunted, and I cannot wait for readers and dreamers to experience it. 

img_2562

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 physical ARC copy through a blogger exchange. I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

the-bone-witch

30095464

 

Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: e-ARC/Netgalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


the-bone-witch-banner

This is a story about a girl named Tea.
No, not like the drink, but “Tey-uh,” instead.
She loved her brother, Fox, so much, that she raised him from the dead.

Now necromancy is not a praised trick.
Instead of being in awe of her magic,
Her village called her a bone witch.

Though her witchcraft could help heal sickness and hearts,
A bone witch was feared most of all,
Because no one understands their darkness and their art.

Tea is forced to leave her village, family, and friends.
She is taken under the wing of another bone witch,
Where she starts a new life with a darkening power to spin.

Summoning the dead can be seductive and dark.
Tea is told by strangers that she is soulless from the start.
But our heroine is fierce and remains protective over her heart.   

With the rare gift of death magic, Tea can control others’ minds.
She has the ability to conquer monsters, dragons, the Faceless, and spies. 
But her gift comes with limitations, and love and trust is not easy to find. 

Although this story is very slow in pace,
It is the love interests that might keep you vested and make your heart race.
Or maybe you will fall for the boy who loves to dance and dress in lace.   

Tea’s story is filled with twists and turns; a bewitching tale so deep.
She’s infatuated with a Prince, so prepare yourself for a romance that slowly reaps. 

And I promise you this, when you begin The Bone Witch, you will find no time to sleep. 

img_2524

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire  for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book 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 The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

the-shadow-queen-banner

img_2500

 

Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publication date: February 16, 2016
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Format: Hardcover (purchased)

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


my-rants-and-raves-of

Confession time: I have met C.J. Redwine over ten times (probably even more, but hey, who’s counting?). I love going to C.J.’s events and hearing her talk about her books, life, and her writing shenanigans. I’ve met her hilarious husband, while purchasing her first book; during our first meeting, he showed me his tattoo of the barcode for one of C.J.’s books (yes, he is just as awesome as C.J.). But even though I am a huge fan of the wonderful and passionate C.J. Redwine, and I own all of her books, this is the first book of her’s that I have read, and you guys, I loved it!!!

You guys, whenever I’m in Nashville for a book event, I make sure I am in C.J.’s audience. She’s a great public speaker, and even though she has faced many difficulties in her past, her power and fierce attitude shine bright when she talks about her work, and I love that about her. First off, I have heard C.J. talk about the beginning formation of The Shadow Queen at least 3 times. I know it started off after viewing The Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. I know that this is a planned series of 10 books, 4 confirmed to be published, and each book can be read separately. 

the-shadow-queen-quote

Fantasy books and retellings will always be dear to my heart. They are my escape from reality. They are my dreams manifesting into unknown worlds filled with feisty and independent princesses, talking animals, and die-hard adventures. Fortunately, The Shadow Queen contained all the elements I love about fantasy books and MORE. 

The main character of The Shadow Queen, Lorelai Diederich, is now one of my favorite literary heroines. She is fiery, caring, and dedicated to righting the wrongs of her kingdom. Throughout the story, she stays faithful to her mission to save her kingdom, but she also faces each obstacle she encounters with relentless strength and  diligence. As a princess, a sister, a friend, and a warrior, she offers a lot to the story. Lorelai loses so much in this book, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, SHE PERSISTS! 

the-shadow-queen-3

And not to give too much away, but I love how magic and magical beings are immersed in this Snow White retelling. We have everything from poisonous apples, transforming dragons, mind-speaking pet birds, and terrorizing ogres. Magic is cherished in this book, and even though it may be used by some as a selfish means, it is also the perfect resource to conquering evil. 

Last, even though one of my favorite characters dies in this book (WHY?! THERE WAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL and DEVELOPMENT THERE!!), I really enjoyed this book. I honestly cannot wait to start The Wish Granter and read C.J. Redwine’s new twist on an old fairy tale. 

img_2486

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds. I reviewed it 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 Unrest by Wendy Higgins

unrest-banner

33828087

 

Title: Unrest
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publication date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Format: Kindle (Purchased)

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins brings you the second book in this thrilling apocalyptic world…

Being on the run in the desert means food and sanctuary are hard to come by, but Amber Tate and her crew are not about to give up. Not after having the things they love brutally ripped from them by an unknown enemy who sent their world into the apocalypse.

Survival takes precedence, but once safe shelter is found, their guards fall and the emotions they’ve been holding in are finally released. Anger, insecurities…lust. In their tight quarters, Amber, Rylen, Tater, and Remy can’t escape it. The past must be faced, and passions run even stronger in the darkest of times.

In the midst of unrest, their worlds are rocked again when they discover the truth about the war that’s ruined their lives. They thought finding out the enemy’s identity would give them the edge; instead it’s revealed terrifying dangers they never thought possible.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 


My Rants and Raves of Unrest

Wendy Higgins has a natural talent for writing engaging books, and her latest edition to the Unknown Trilogy, Unrest, proves how amazing of a storyteller she is. I swear this story sucks you in, and with every page you cannot look away. Unrest is action-packed, conspiracy driven, and contains just the right amount of romance to make your heart ache. I savored every word of this book, and afterwards immediately looked up the release date for Book 3 (which, by the way, is currently November 2017). 

One of the reasons I love this series is because of the focus on the brother and sister relationship between Amber and her brother Tater. As individuals they are fierce and strong, but as a duo they are stronger, fiercer, and smarter. I like that they have their differences, but as family they are connected on a deeper level to protect and take care of each other. They don’t always agree on things, but their sibling-love shines more brightly with every struggle they face. 

Additionally, I love this series because of the science fiction vibes behind the pages. Conspiracy theories and well articulated action-packed scenes are my favorite story-driven devices used in apocalypse books. Higgins’ craft provides so many twists, turns, and “oh-shit” moments throughout the book. I love how in one moment I’m one the edge of my seat and the next I’m in the character’s minds thinking about curing UTIs. When faced with outsiders taking over your country, Higgins proves that survival is more than finding allies. Her characters realize survival takes love, guts, strength, and the dependence on the knowledge of the past, nature, and the resources that surround them. 

And last, I’m not going to lie, but the number one reason I love this series is due to the sizzling connection between Amber “Pepper” and Rylen. When you’re facing an apocalyptic catastrophe, falling in love is probably not the first thing on your  survival list. But sorry not sorry, their infuriating crush slowly rolling into sexy times was always going through the back of my mind as I read this book. I love how endearing their friendship is depicted. They depend on each other for balance to stay sane and safe in their ruined world. And even though I might be focused on the idea of more smoochies, I just think these two belong together. 

Now give me book three, please! 

img_2472

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.