Raving Review of Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

35707080
Title:
 Bloodleaf
Author:  Crystal Smith
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her.

But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

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

banners (30)

Crystal Smith’s debut novel Bloodleaf is a unique fantasy that integrates an intricate magic system, familial bonds, a root-worthy romance, and a story of survival and sacrifice. From the first chapter, the story sucks you in with forbidden magic that has been bombarded by politics and a full-out witchhunt. 

Aurelia, the main character, is not only a fierce and determined heroine in the novel, but her constant ability to analyze every situation she is thrown in allows her to mature throughout the chapters. I love that she wears her heart on her sleeve and is always protecting the people she deeply cares about. She is cautious but friendly. Aurelia is a protector, a fighter for justice, and a survivor. She is so straightforward and honest with everyone she encounters. Additionally, I love her interactions with the other well-developed side characters. 

As Aurelia explores her magical abilities, she is thrown into many twists and turns. Her journey throughout the novel is to survive multiple assassination attempts and save her kingdom, which all leads to some surprising secrets. However, as her well-paced story unfolds, I found some of the plot twists to be predictable (or I’m just really good at picking up on very subtle clues). 

Overall, if you are in the mood for a new fantasy trilogy filled with royal politics, a slow-burn romance, and NO CLIFFHANGER (that’s right, there’s no cliffhanger . . . YASS), then definitely pick up Bloodleaf. You will gasp, laugh, cry, and cheer throughout Aurelia’s story as she learns to control her magic and help those that she loves. 

green swirl
Note: Thank you to HMH 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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

37569318

Title: Empress of All Seasons
Author: Emiko Jean
Publication date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. 

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

35721194
Title:
Brightly Burning
Author: Alexa Donne
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Science Fiction

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

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet


banners (5)

If we have ever discussed favorite books together, you probably know that Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is my all-time favorite book. I love the Gothic elements, the brooding Mr. Rochester, and Jane’s fierceness. But most of all, I adore Jane because she is bold, a fighter, and holds a firm ground in her beliefs. So when I found out that Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne was a sci-fi retelling of my favorite classic, I was on a mission to read this book as quickly as I could.

Brightly Burning parallels with many elements found in Jane Eyre, and although this Jane Eyre-retelling in space plays true to the classic, it also holds up on its own as a great book. The main character Stella, an orphan like Jane, is smart, determined, and hardworking. She has no family and she’s not rich, but she does have so much potential to prove that she is great at her job, and you know what, she deserves a good life.

And Hugo, Stella’s new boss and our very own re-imagining of Mr. Rochester, is a teenage boy that is bombarded by so many “adulting” responsibilities. Hugo is far from perfect, and he knows it, but when he and Stella cross paths and fall into a routine of sharing personal thoughts and their love for books, I was swooning so hard. SO HARD! Does Hugo always make the right decisions? No. Do these decisions have consequences that go awry? Yes. But I will tell you, each and every plot twist in this book will have you spinning and on the edge of your seat. And trust me this wild ride is worth it.  

Like its classic counterpart, Brightly Burning is littered with secrets that unfold just in time to a make mess out of all the characters’ lives. Stella is so straightforward and honest that it is hard for her to not react to the chaos that is thrown into her life when she works aboard Hugo’s spacecraft the Rochester. Add in the humanity’s destruction of Earth from hundreds of years ago and living on ships floating in space, and you too will feel the madness that comes with cabin fever, terrifying room fires, jealousy,  and creepy laughs echoing in the hallway. 

Even if you are not familiar with Jane Eyre, but you love adventurous romantic stories and you enjoy novels that are set in space, definitely give Brightly Burning a read. The characters are sassy and snarky and so darn lovable. The futuristic feel and living on spaceships adds that dark and lost feeling that is often depicted in Gothic novels, and works perfectly for this retelling. 

4 star rating

swirl

Note: Thank you to HMH Teen for providing me a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Waiting On Wednesday: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

35721243

Title: Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publication date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres:  Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”

Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”

“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn. 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Treat Yo Shelf: January 2018 Recap

treat-yo-shelf

January 2018: Monthly Recap

Welcome to my monthly recap post, in which I highlight the books I read in the last month, bookish items I acquired, book events I attended, bookish news, and/or subscription boxes I received this month.

what did I read

 

what did i review

(Click on the banner to be linked to blog post)

Between_the_Blade_and_the_Heart_blog_banner--768x288

here we are now banner

bear and the nightingale banner

bnner love and otehr alien experiences

say you'll remember me banner

publishers and authors

Spring Fierce Read books

I received one of the Spring 2018 ARC boxes from Fierce Reads. Thank you, Fierce Reads. I cannot wait to read and review these beauties. 

Sarah Barley from Flatiron Books made my biggest dream come true and provided me an early copy of Legendary. Spoiler: I read it and LOVED IT! Review to come soon.

My friend Cassidy sent me a copy of Brightly Burning, and then a week later HMHTeen sent me a review copy. Now I have two copies, so expect a giveaway on one of my social media accounts soon. Also, I read it, and really enjoyed it.

monthly raves

January’s OwlCrate

January’s Uppercase Box

Swirl break

How did you treat your shelves in January?