Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Blog Tour: Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller
Guest Post: Lady Pirates in History

Tour organized by Fierce Reads
See below for the full schedule

Daughter of the Siren Queen is the follow-up to Daughter of the Pirate King and it is a strong and thrilling sequel, making this a duet not to be missed. 
(You can see my thoughts on both books in the series in the title links above.) 

Now for today's post: I'm excited to have author Tricia Levenseller on the blog today to talk about lady pirates in history.

About the book: 
Daughter of the Siren Queen 
by Tricia Levenseller
Published: February 27, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Series:  Yes. 2/2 end of duet
See my review HERE

Book Description: Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

Lady Pirates in History
Guest post by author Tricia Levenseller

One of my best research finds was the simple fact that lady pirates really existed, and there were a ton of them! My three favorites are Ching Shih, a Chinese prostitute turned pirate captain; Jeanne de Clisson, a French aristocrat who turned to piracy as a means of obtaining revenge for her husband’s death; and Grace O’Malley, an Irish pirate queen who was sick of the English invading her land.

Female pirates were often much fiercer (and more successful) than their male counterparts. Ching Shih, for example, inherited her pirate fleet after her husband died. She grew the fleet to over 80,000 men and was the most successful pirate to ever exist. She retired and died of old age a wealthy woman.

Jeanne de Clisson eventually fell in love again during her life of piracy. She gave it up to live in a castle with her new love for the rest of her days.

Grace O’Malley? She is reported to have fought alongside her men in battle shortly after giving birth.

Let me tell you briefly about some dude pirates. Blackbeard? He died in battle. Captain Kidd? Tried and executed. Calico Jack? Also executed. But perhaps you’ve heard of his female companions Mary Read and Anne Bonny? They escaped the noose because they were pregnant. To be fair, Mary did die in prison later, but no one knows what became of Anne.

I wish real life lady pirates were more well known because their stories are fascinating. I couldn’t hope for more perfect inspiration when writing Alosa’s story.

*I love history and I'd definitely read more about these women! Thank you for the post today!

About the Author

Tricia Levenseller is the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology and forthcoming standalone, Warrior of the Wild. She likes to describe her books as young adult alternate–world historical fantasies with heavy romantic subplots.
Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing Overwatch with her siblings, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

Find Tricia Levenseller: Website | Twitter | Goodreads 

Follow the Tour

Here's my photo inspiration for this story: 

See my bookish instagram @loveisnotatriangle for more book inspired posts

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Blog Tour: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

 Organized by Fierce Reads
See the full schedule HERE

The Prince and the Dressmaker
by Jen Wang
Read: February 9, 2018
Published: February 13, 2018 by First Second
Source: Galley from publisher (TY!)
Category: YA, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Dresses, Prince, 
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: 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.

The Prince and the Dressmaker is a lovely, happy book about embracing who you are and not settling for what everyone else thinks is right for you. I was completely delighted by this story, especially, it's lovable characters and gorgeous dresses. The graphic novel format was perfect to tell the tale of seamstress Frances and Prince Sebastian, aka Lady Crystallia! I zipped right though this on a plane ride and am impressed with all the details, from the sewing patters at the start of each chapter to the intricate dress designs throughout. I wish I could have an outfit designed by Frances and spend a night on the town with Lady Crystallia. 

As part of this blog tour I get to share my favorite panel in this book and it was so hard to pick just one. Impossible, actually. You should definitely go through the rest of the blog tour to see the images everyone else picked because I love all of those too. Now to my choice:

All throughout this book Jen Wang is the master of combining many different emotions into one scene and this page is one of my favorite examples of that.

(I apologize for any differences in coloring due to my photographing this page)

Through facial expression and body language Wang captures the hilarity of when a character - usually Sebastian - is trapped in a moment that they can't avoid. Sebastian's facial expressions in this panel are especially good. I love the humor in this book and you can see it here as Sebastian is being forced to play prince when he'd rather be doing something else. And all of that is juxtaposed by this eager girl and her mom that he's being forced to entertain. 

But even more, I am always a romantic and what I love the most about this scene is the longing in Sebastian's face as he watches Frances off screen. It is here that he begins to really consider what he wants and doesn't, and he takes action towards that. It's a bit of a reality check for Sebastian, and I love the way Jen Wang captures that moment. It is something that only he and the reader sees. A quiet second while he's in the middle of something else entirely. 

There are so many other great examples of humor and heart in The Prince and the Dressmaker, as well as the wow scenes of Lady Crystallia's dresses that had me falling more in love with Sebastian and Frances. I love these two and the way they support each other. They are the perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day! 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone
About the Author

Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger's Fake Mustache.  Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow) were published by First Second. jenwang.net


Happy Valentines Day from Sebastian and Frances!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Love Songs and Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

Love Songs and Other Lies
By Jessica Pennington 
Read: June 7 - 10, 2017
Published: April 24, 2018 by Tor Teen
Source: BEA
Category: New Adult, Contemporary, Musicians, Second Chance Romance, Reality Shows, Tour Busses
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Love Songs and Other Lies is a book that I discovered pretty randomly at BEA last year, and though I don't traditionally think of Tor Teen as publishing contemporary romances, they've been releasing some addicting examples recently, including this one. I'd also personally label this book more of the New Adult category than Young Adult, since these characters are college aged in present time. But I know those distinctions can get a little bit muddled. 

Love Songs and Other Lies is a second chance romance that weaves the past into the present by alternating chapters of Then and Now: Then, when the characters were in high school, and Now, on a tour bus for a music reality show. We also get both Vee and Cam's perspectives throughout both time periods, all of which just makes everything more intense and emotional and sweet and heartbreaking and heartwarming. Aaaahhh. There is so much FEELING in this book, and the song writing and performing just adds to the entire experience. I was also impressed with the pacing of how information about each character was revealed through both timelines. I sympathized with both of these characters, which doesn't always happen with second chance stories (usually I'm more upset with one of then than the other). I just wanted so much for Vee and Cam to be happy, and I was right there for the entire journey. 

If you look above, I read this one way back in last June, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since then. We still have a few months to go before release, and you should definitely preorder this now. This is Jessica Pennington's debut, and I cannot wait for what she writes next. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen's Rising
by Rebecca Ross
Read: October 20 - 24, 2017
Published: February 6, 2018 by HarperTeen
Source: Egalley from Edelweiss (TY!)
Category: YA, fantasy, kingdoms, spies, secret identities, 
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

I had no idea where The Queen's Rising would end up when I started reading it. I really like stories that do this. Books that start as one thing, and then expand into a much bigger plot with political intrigue, rebellions and hidden princesses, all of which this one does. In the beginning of the story when Brienna is spending her time at school attempting to discover her passion, I had no idea the adventure that was to come, and it was so much fun to watch it all unfold. 

However, with all the ground the story covers and the fact that Brienna travels to several different places, I didn’t feel like I became close to many of the characters besides her. I wanted more friendship with her passion sisters and Luc and Isolde, as well as more romance. Speaking of romance, there is a sweet and slow one that’s present here. I liked the direction of it, and was more anticipatory to see it happen than surprised about the direction it eventually takes. But I wanted more to happen between them earlier (no too soon, I get why it was the way it was, but sooner than the very end.). But overall this is a good debut, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else this author writes.

I enjoyed The Queen's Rising, and the ending is one that feels settled for Brienna. However, according to Goodreads it's the start of a trilogy. In light of the ending, I hope this will be a companion series instead of one with the same narrator/character arc. Brienna’s story is well wrapped up by the end, and I like the idea that every character's fantasy adventure doesn't have to be a series. But time will tell on that! 

Love Triangle Factor: none
Cliffhanger scale: Standalone

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marisa Meyer

Gone Rogue
Marissa Meyer
Read: January 10 - 13, 2018
Published: January 30, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: Book from publisher 
Category: YA, Graphic Novel, Lunar Chronicles Spinnoff, Androids 
Series: Wires and Nerve 2/2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: Iko – an audacious android and best friend to the Lunar Queen Cinder – has been tasked with hunting down Alpha Lysander Steele, the leader of a rogue band of bioengineered wolf-soldiers who threaten to undo the tenuous peace agreement between Earth and Luna. Unless Cinder can reverse the mutations that were forced on them years before, Steele and his soldiers plan to satisfy their monstrous appetites with a massacre of the innocent people of Earth.

And to show he’s serious, Steele is taking hostages.

Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin all feature in this epic new battle. But it is Iko who must face her deepest fears when she uncovers the truth about her own unusual programming.


NOTE: Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue is the second book in a series, and the continuation of characters from The Lunar Chronicles. See my thoughts on Wires and Nerve, Volume 1.  

I could never get enough of these characters or the Lunar Chronicles world. I love this cast so much - Iko, Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Winter, Jacin, Cress and even Thorne. It's been such a treat to see them come to life in graphic novel form after the original series. Though as much as I could read about them forever, it’s also a relief to leave them all in a settled place after this book, bookended by the Stars Above epilogue novella. This duet takes place in the time between the end of the original series and the novella, and it's just the perfect amount of new adventure and lots of nostalgia and swoon for the established characters to leave me grinning. Plus after defeating Queen Levana at the end of Winter these characters have a lot to do to keep the peace that's been established. 

Of course the center of this two book Wires and Nerve graphic series is Iko, and I was so excited to see her become the star of the show for once. Iko's exuberance and fierce protectiveness for her friends, especially Cinder, were just the best to watch. And I could never get enough of seeing Iko and friends scheme and kick butt again. All the while I'm swooning over their romances. I even ended up liking Thorne a little more in these graphic stories than I ever did before - though he's still nowhere near my favorite. 

Threatening the already shaky peace between Luna and Earth, rogue Alpha Lysander Steele has been gathering other rogue wolf-soliders to him, causing chaos and violence and promising a massacre if Cinder doesn't comply with his impossible demands. The danger is  real - including the threat of kidnapping - and it will take Iko and her friends to stop him. Meyer has a particular talent of stressing me out over my favorite couple and once again she plays with my emotions regarding Scarlet and Wolf - I love them so much! Finally, as much as I adored seeing Iko get her own happy ending, I have to admit that I’m still struggling a bit with an Android romance (I’m sorry, *hides*). Iko and Kinney were cute, but they didn’t excite me like the others did (however, I still liked them better than Thorne, so that's something. HA).

 If you love this series, this book is a must read. Don't miss this edition to the Lunar Chronicles world. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series end (presumably!)

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