Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Blog Tour organized by Griffin Teen

A Crown of Wishes is the gorgeous sequel to The Star-Touched Queen and I loved it even more! 

A Crown of Wishes
by Roshani Chokshi
Read: March 11 - 13, 2017
Published: March 28, 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: NetGalley (TY!)
Category: YA, fairytales, myths, Indian culutre

Book Description: Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Book Thoughts: 

Crown of Wishes is a lush and enchanting tale full of magic, deception and swoon. The story is narrated by both Gauri and Vikram, and I loved both of them. These two approach the world very differently, arguing and sparking against each other from the start. While she is more likely to fight her way out of a situation with blood and sharp daggers, Vikram's wits are his weapon of choice. These two clash from the start, especially as they meet when Vikram is supposed to be telling Gauri of her upcoming execution. Obviously the meeting doesn't go as either of them expected, and it is the beginning of a reluctant partnership that completely changes the course of both of their lives. 

From the start, these two banter endlessly over their differences, but those differences are also what make them such a strong team, and slowly through their journey to compete in the Tournament of Wishes, they realize that they are not as dissimilar as they once thought. I loved watching these two characters fall for the other slowly through the course of the book, as they also realize how much more they could accomplish when they support each other. 

But this book isn't just a love story, and Gauri and Vikram each have their own path to forge ahead. As they they face the wonders, as well as the perils of the Otherworld where nothing is what it seems, including it's various residents, they begin to see themselves and their histories and abilities more clearly. I especially love the message that every person's story is interconnected to someone else's, and can look completely different depending on your perspective. That is a hard but important lesson for both of them that weaves through the entire book.   

A Crown of Wishes is a sensory experience of delicious food, decadent textiles, new sights to explore and dangers to escape around every corner all wrapped in the fabric of Indian culture and mythology. Don't miss this story! 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone - Companion to The Star-Touched Queen. I don't know if this is the end of the companion series, but there is one character I would love to see get her own story. 

About the Author

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately 
By Jenn Bennett
Read: January 6 - 9, 2017
Published: April 4, 2017 by Simon Pulse
Source: Borrowed from Andi @AndiABCs
Category: YA, Contemporary, 

Book Depository: In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

This was so so good. In all genres Jenn Bennett is a favorite author of mine! Here are some reasons I loved Alex, Approximately:

1) The setting is so vivid it's tangible. 
This town came alive with colors, sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Cornado Cove is a Californian mid-coastal tourist town with lots of surfing, a boardwalk, delicious food (I was hungry every minute of reading this book), and a weird and wacky museum called the Cavern Palace. I'm desperate to book a trip to visit. I nearly cried when I looked it up and found out it isn't a real place (is it based on one?). 

2) I liked Bailey right away. She's got some things she's fighting from her past and she's a little bit of the broken girl, but her tone was still upbeat and hopeful. I didn't get the heavy 'here we go...' feel with her at all. Not that that isn't an honest portrayal within this trope, but I get exhausted following a character who's fighting against everything. I enjoyed watching Bailey learn to open up and get closer to her father and make friends with Grace and of course get to know Porter better. She makes mistakes (who doesn't?!), but she learns from them and doesn't create unnecessary angst for herself. I do wish we'd been able to explore her relationship with her mom more, though. It felt a little tacked on to the end. 

3) I love the banter between Bailey and Porter and everything about watching their relationship develop. I like that they don't seem to have anything in common at first but the more they got to know each other, the more they realized that wasn't the case at all. Even when their direct interests didn't align, they were constantly fascinated by and being challenged by each other. Jenn Bennett is so good at showing a relationship develop from awkward meetings and misconceptions to fluttery feelings, changing perceptions and more more more. It was gooood. 

4) This story is a little bit hate to love and a little bit You've Got Mail and all adorable summer read. Also I totally thought about the song they reference at the end while reading this book! 

I can't wait until this comes out for real. Recommended for sure! 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Six Degrees of Separation - Book Style (6):
Wintersong to Thick as Thieves

How is Wintersong related to Thick as Thieves?

Guys, it has been over FOUR years since I posted one of these. YIKES! Where has the time gone? I used to love this feature, and I'm excited to share a new iteration of it. 

If you're new to my Six Degrees of Separation posts (which I'm sure more of you are), this is where I look at some of the books I've read recently and make connections between them. In today's post I'm featuring 7 books with 6 connections. These are all non-contemporary reads, because that's mostly what I've been reading recently. The similarities between them are spoiler free. 


In Wintersong and Caraval a responsible elder sister will do anything to rescue her flighty, younger sibling. Along the way she will let loose her own inhibitions and find love. 

Both Caraval and Crown of Wishes begin with an invitation to play a mysterious game, and feature an unlikely partnership that turns to more (aka swoons abound!).

Crown of Wishes and Strange the Dreamer feature boys who look for magic and dream of the impossible, and their lives changes in unexpected ways when they find it.  

Two of the main characters in Strange the Dreamer and Traitor to the Throne are powerful godspawn who have become trapped in places they want to escape. 

In Traitor to the Throne and The Valiant, powerful heroines are captured against their will and taken away from their beloved homes and families to the capital city of their lands. There they are pressed into service to the ruler. 

Both The Valiant and Thick as Thieves center around empire slaves - the former character goes towards that life, the latter, away from it - who take long journeys where friendships are formed and their perspectives on their world is changed. 

 See any connections that I missed? 

Have you read any of these books recently? Which were your favorites?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blog Tour: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour organized by Penguin Teen
See below for the full schedule

I am THRILLED to be part of the blog tour for Traitor to the Throne. This sequel to Rebel of the Sands does not disappoint. I was once again transported to Amani's world of sand and magic. Read on for more of my thoughts on this second book in a trilogy, and don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Traitor to the Throne
by Alwyn Hamilton
Read: February 19 - 21, 2017
Published: March 7, 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA MW 2017 
Category: Fantasy, desert, magic, Djini, Revolutions
Series:  Trilogy, book 2/3

Book Description: Mere months ago, 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 djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.


NOTE: Traitor to the Throne is a second book in a series. See my thoughts on the thrilling first installment, Rebel of the Sands.

I'm always a little bit apprehensive when I start a middle book in a series, especially when I loved the first installment as much as I did Rebel of the Sands. But I shouldn't have worried about this book!  Although Traitor to the Throne does employ the separation trope, this is a very strong sequel. I liked it as much - and maybe more than its 

Amani is my first love of this series. W
hether she is on a mission to a desert town, or unexpectedly finds herself captured and taken to the Sultan's palace, this girl is strong and capable. But Amani is not a typical martyr heroine, offering herself up as a sacrifice in need of saving. She's able and willing to make smart but difficult choices in the name of rebellion. Amani is badass and a survivor, even in moments when her choices are taken away from her. But Amani is not an island to herself, and I enjoyed seeing Amani as part of a larger group, with friends and people she trusts and respects. That is so different from the girl we met in book one.

Although I hated seeing Amani captured, I love that through the experience, Amani's understanding of her world is broadened. Amani gains invaluable perspective when she is taken right to the heart of the ruthless Sultan's palace, coming face to face with the very ruler the rebellion is fighting against. While in the palace, Amani begins to think about what the rebellion means for all sides, as well as how her previous - often rash - decisions have affected others. Some of my formed opinions of characters even changed throughout this book, and I loved the further complexities that gave the story. 

Traitor to the Throne is not always fast paced, but this pacing allows more reflection, and I think that's almost more important for Amani's growth and continued work with the rebellion. Even so, this story is intense. A lot of action is packed in too, especially near the end. These characters are starting a revolution and that means people are going to die - and do die in this story. Very hard choices have to be made, and though they made my heart break, I admired the characters' willingness to make them and keep moving forward. 

The romance was definitely one of my favorite parts of the first book, and continues to be so in this installment, despite the fact that Jin and Amani spend a lot of time apart. While separations are never my favorite, and I love seeing these two work together the most, it wasn't as painful as I feared. Mostly because Amani has Things To Do and she doesn't let herself get pulled into unnecessary angst. I love Jin and I think he's a great match for Amani - they are stronger when working together, but I have to admit to being a little bit upset with him in this story. Jin loves Amani and his brother Ahmed, but his heart isn't in their rebellion and that definitely causes some issues. However, Jin and Amani's love for each other is palpable and this story does have some sweet and swoony moments. I have high hopes for the continued progression of their romance in the final book in this series. (GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER BOY). 

I loved how this story developed. However, I do think some of the official cover copy was overstated a bit. There were definitely revelations and surprises and moments of reflection, but not exactly what I anticipated from my first look at the book's description. Thankfully, I'm very happy and excited about where this story took me and its characters. 

This is a book and series that I adore and highly recommend. I'm dying for the finale now! 

Love Triangle Factor: None 

Cliffhanger Scale: Medium - This book stops in a moment that is both quiet and intense. You'll know what I mean when you get there, and you will be desperate for the next one! 

About the Author

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often. Follow her at @AlwynFJH.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram 


Follow the Tour

 Week One:

3/6 – The YA Book Traveler – Mood Board
3/7 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Q&A
3/8 – Love is Not a Triangle – Review
3/9 – Mundie Moms – Review + Favorite Quotes
3/10 – Butter My Books – Guest Post

Week Two:
3/13 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Guest Post
3/14 – The Eater of Books! – Favorite Quotes
3/15 – Two Chicks on Books – Author Q&A
3/16 – Lost in Lit – Review
3/17 – My Friends Are Fiction – Review

Week Three:
3/20 – The Yong Folks – Author Q&A
3/21 – The Book Addict’s Guide – Traitor Candle
3/22 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Review
3/23 – Bookworm Everlasting – Review
3/24 – Fiction Fare – Guest Post



Enter for a chance to win one (1) grand prize set of Alwyn Hamilton’s books, including a paperback copy of Rebel of the Sands and a hardcover of Traitor to the Throne, or to win one (1) of five (5) paperback copies of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (ARV: $10.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 6, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 27, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 29, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. 

LINK to Rafflecopter form if you can't see it below.

Follow my @loveisnotatriangle instagram for other bookish snaps.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone
by Anne Bishop
Read: October 5 - 7, 2016
Published: March 7, 2017 by Roc
Source: Netgalley (Thank you, PRH!)
Category: Adult Fantasy, Shape Shifters, 
Series:  The Others, book 5/5

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave

Find my thoughts on the previous books in this series: Written in RedMurder of CrowsVision in Silver and Marked in Flesh.  

The Others is one of my favorite series of all time. I have talked extensively about this in all of my previous reviews. I know this is dramatic, but every year I practically make myself sick with anticipation each time another installment is released. And this is the last one, so what will I do with myself now?! *insert sobbing* Thank goodness this is a series end to get excited about.

For those of you who have read the previous four books and are eagerly anticipating this finale, I don't think there's anything I can say besides READ THIS and enjoy the conclusion of Meg and Simon and their courtyard's story (at least for now - I know there will be more books in this world, I don't know if we'll see these characters again, though I can hope). 

For those of you who are new to this series, I cannot recommend these books enough.  From the complex characters to the world that expands further and further in each installment, to the small details about Meg's daily life that are a part of each book, this word building is some of the most intense and immersive I've ever experienced. The best advice I can give as you start is - this series is one to be savored. As someone who is typically very goal oriented, who likes to Get To The End, the wonder of this series is in its rich details. Don't miss them by becoming anxious to get to the next part of the story. 

All the things I love about this series are present again in this book. The Others' world comes  to life in vivid color and detail, and each time I step back into it, I feel like I'm returning to a familiar, comfortable place. Albeit one that's vicious and dangerous in a way that reminds humans to always stay alert, because they are nowhere near the top of the food chain. I could spend forever reading about Meg and Simon and Sam and Henry and Vlad and Tess and and and - all of whom I've gotten to know intimately through five books. Another thing I've loved about this series is that large scale, world changing events are happening, but the story remains centered though the eyes of this one courtyard, it's inhabitants and the few humans they've come to trust and work with along the way. Meg has been the catalyst for everything from the beginning and she is again at the center of this tale. 

Etched in Bone is in many ways about rebuilding and finding a balance of peace after the climaxes of other books. But we've seen all along that threats, even on a relatively small scale, can have very real and very lasting consequences, and these characters must once again do what they do best and come together to face a danger that threatens their Meg. Although this book features a very specific, individualized danger, in this story we get to see what can be accomplished when humans and Others work together to solve a problem. 

This series begins and ends with Meg and also Simon. These books have the slowest of slowest burn romances, but I've loved every second of it. Although greedy me wishes it had come with an epilogue, romance fans will not be disappointed in this final installment of Simon and Meg's journey, which began when a cold, frightened girl stumbled into a bookshop on a winter night. 


Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series End/solid conclusion :)
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