The Star Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi – Book Review

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25203675Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

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The Star Touched Queen is the story of Maya. Maya, a princess of Bharata, has a terrible horoscope which states that her marriage will result in death and destruction. Because of this, she is shunned in the palace. All the bad things that happen around her are blamed on Maya’s horoscope, stating that her presence was the bad omen which made bad things happen. Maya just wants people to stop treating her the way they do. She dreams of being a scholar, because she knows that after knowing her horoscope, no one will want to marry her and she couldn’t descend to the throne as she is a girl. But, her life changes when her father arranges for a swayamvara, for her to chose a groom for herself from a platoon of princes, for a political alliance. Maya choses Amar and starts to fall for him, but he has his own secrets, which cause a rift between them and leave Maya in a place where she is fighting, not only for her own life, but for that of the world.

What I absolutely loved about the story was the writing. It was lush and beautiful, full of imagery and context and simile. The narrative is captivating and you can’t help but love it. Yes, the extreme amount of ‘purple prose’ used got on my nerves in places, but it was such a refreshing change to read something like this. A feast for the eyes. This book is extremely well written with SO MANY PRETTY WORDS. I adore that!

The plot is basic and simple. I think that is the beauty of it. The motivation of characters to act the way they do is simple – love, jealousy, revenge. It shows how far a person can go to just extract revenge for something they believe is the fault of someone else. The whole book revolved around the revenge plot of one woman who felt that Amar had wronged her.

I liked Maya, the MC, an okay amount. She started as this headstrong girl who wanted to break free of the patriarchy and carve her own path herself. I really admired that about her. But, halfway through, she did such a stupid and naive thing. I mean, I couldn’t believe she did it. Her character arc for the first half had shown that she was reluctant to trust anyone, but then, suddenly, she’s blindly trusting this one person, just because she saw one memory of the two of them together. I didn’t like that part. I mean, Amar had been trying to gain her trust for half the book and she didn’t trust him, was quick to write him off, but she trusted this person within seconds of meeting them. It didn’t make any sense to me. Especially since the story started moving forward only from there.

And then, there’s Amar. He was an enigma and mystery in the beginning of the story and he stayed that way till the end. Literally. By the end of the story, all I knew about Amar was what job he had and that he loved Maya unconditionally. That is it. Amar and Maya had maybe 10 complete, meaningful conversations in the story and more than half of them were before Amar could tell Maya anything about him and his kingdom. I would have liked to know more about Amar, about who he is as a person. Is he kind, smart, charming? Or is he villainous and cruel? I don’t know. I wish I did.

The worst disappointment about this book is how stilted the romance is. Maya and Amar both are prima facie great characters and they had amazing chemistry in the beginning. Their relationship could have been beautiful, but, it was not explored in the story. I wish they had interacted more, spent more time together, gotten to know each other. Amar appears after 5 – 6 chapters in the story and the second half is virtually free of him. He only appears in the last 30 pages. So, yes, he didn’t have much screen time, but what time they had together is glossed over, just saying that Amar was showing Maya around the palace and all its intricacies. They could have been a great couple and I wish that their relationship had been given more screen time. I really do.

What I absolutely adored about this book was all the references to Indian Mythology that were scattered throughout the book. Some of them wove into the main theme beautifully and some were mentioned in the passing as stories and folk tales, but I loved them all. It felt so good to read about them.

I felt that this book could have been so much more beautiful if the author had explored Amar’s character more. There were good things and bad things, but overall, reading TSTQ was a beautiful journey and I enjoyed it, for the most part.

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13695109Roshani grew up in Georgia, where she acquired a Southern accent but does not use it unless under duress. She has a luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She is the 2016 finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and a 2016 Locus finalist for Best First Novel. Her short story, The Star Maiden, was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

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Immortal Fire, Annette Marie – Book Review

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32862986
Once, Emi believed the heavenly gods were righteous and wise, while the earthly yokai spirits were bloodthirsty and evil. But with a traitorous deity poised to destroy her world, and the yokaistanding as humanity’s only defense, the lies of her upbringing have toppled to reveal a far more terrifying reality.

Despite the looming threat, Emi can’t escape her greatest distraction: Shiro, the fox yokai who has so deftly claimed her heart for his own. Soon—too soon—she will have to break the curse that binds his magic and memories. And once the ancient power inside him awakens, the yokai she loves will be changed forever.

As the earthly gods gather to wage war against the heavens, Emi and Shiro must gamble everything to turn the tide against their immortal, all-powerful foes. Together, they will find a way to save her world—even if it means losing each other.

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*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Okay. Okay. Okay. Breathe in, breathe out. It is over. Starts crying all over again. I have A LOT OF FEELS FOR THIS, OKAY? A LOT OF FEELS. IT IS OVER AND MY POOR LITTLE HEART CANNOT COPE.

I LOVED IT SO MUCH. SO MUCH. SO MUCH. GOD, SO GOOD. I LOVE IT.

First of all, so much cover love. I mean, it’s purple! And so good. I adore the cover. It’s just amazing. How can you not like it? I think it’s impossible to not like this cover.

And then, the story itself. I loved it. I absolutely adored how Marie wrapped the entire story up. It was so satisfying after everything that went down. I loved Shiro. Obviously, I did. I really, really love him. He’s just so amazing. I have liked him since the first book and then I fell for him in the second and the third one just gave me all the feels because Shiro is my baby and I adore him so very much. His character arc was just as interesting as Dark Tempest. His memories are returning and that is causing strain on his relationship with Emi, but they soldier through it all. And I like that. Yes, Shiro comes off as too overprotective in places, but if you overlook that, he is just so good. I adore him and love him. Did I mention that I absolutely adore him? Cause I do!

And, then, Emi. She has grown so much since the first book and I love all the growth her character has undergone. She is timid and demure but a fierce warrior all the same and she takes charge of the situation. She makes the best of what is available to her and she just gives me goals. She’s such a relatable heroine. I really like her a lot. She is a great main character.

As always, the relationship between Shiro and Emi is adorable. I love how much they love and support each other and how they’re always there for each other and just being there makes it better. They don’t hold each other back, in fact, they nurture each other. I love seeing them together.

The story is action packed and all those scenes are so amazingly written. The plot is simple but it kept me engaged. It predictably slowed a little somewhere in the middle, but I love it nonetheless.

All in all, an amazing ending to the story and a very satisfying conclusion! Go read this series!

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Goodreads | Amazon

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8546572Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every single book.

Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Dark Tempest, Annette Marie – Book Review

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32605659Emi has dedicated her life to becoming the perfect vessel for the goddess Amaterasu, but the insidious betrayal of another deity has changed everything. Now Amaterasu has charged Emi with an urgent mission: to find and free the earthly gods before mankind is brought to its knees beneath divine tyranny.

At her side is Shiro, the mysterious fox spirit. When she first saved his life, she could never have imagined that behind his cunning and confidence, he was lost—his power bound by a devastating curse and his memories obscured. His veiled history is somehow tied to the missing gods, but he can’t remember how or why.

As their search leads them into the murky depths of the spirit realm, the shadows of Shiro’s past begin to emerge. With each brief awakening of his true self, she loses a little more of him. The fate of the heavens and earth rest in her mortal hands, and she must find the missing gods before time runs out for her world—and for Shiro.

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*ARC received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Okay, so this book. Just, this book. *sighs* I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. GAHHHH! IT IS AMAZING. I LOVE IT. GO READ IT RIGHT NOW!

Yes, it is that good. Dark Tempest picks up where Red Winter left off and is just as amazing a story as the first one in the trilogy. I loved the characters, the plot, the structure, all of it. So much. Yes, the first half of the book is slow. I had a similar issue with Red Winter, but once the book picks up, it really picks up, you know? So much action, drama, mystery and romance. You can’t help but love it!

I love how Emi comes into her own in this story. Yes, she was a good protag in book one and she had a great character arc then, but in this one, she really grows. So much. She’s just amazing. She’s smart and kind and just so good. I also love how she’s not badass and ready to fight anything and everything thrown her way. There are so many people who are much more powerful than she is and that is totally okay with her. I like that about her a lot. It makes her so much more relatable than one badass heroine who can take on everything. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE SUCH HEROINES. THEY’RE AMAZING. But, I loved how Emi wasn’t like that. It made her a better character.

And then, there’s Shiro. My babyboy. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So many heart eyes for that perfect, amazing, amazing, amazing boy. I love him so much. I love him, I love him, I love him. So very much. He’s snarky and smarmy and flirty. So very flirty. But, he’s shown being vulnerable and lost and panicked too. This story had more of Shiro than the first one. We learn a lot about his past and who he was and why he is the way he is. His past beings out so many of his vulnerabilities and he feels like he’s not good enough many a time, but it doesn’t take away from his personality and he is his usual charming self. I love that. His personality is so varied and he doesn’t adhere to one emotion all the time. That is amazing!

All in all, such an amazing read with so many elements and such great writing! A definite must read! I’m looking forward to starting book three after reading this!

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Goodreads | Amazon

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8546572Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every single book.

Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Red Winter, Annette Marie – Book Review

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31829155In a few short months, Emi’s mortal life will end when she becomes the human host of an immortal goddess. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess—and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.

Shiro is a spirit of the earth and an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command—whether she wants him or not.

On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate—but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope … and hope is all she has left.

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*Review copy received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Red Winter is the story of Emi, who has been chosen to be the vessel for a goddess. She seems eager to embrace her fate, is looking forward to it even. But, an important truth about the union of the goddess’ spirit and her body has been hidden from her. When she learns what it is, she isn’t eager to embrace her fate anymore. Instead, she wants out, but she can’t because being a vessel is all she knows, is all she’s been prepared for, her entire life. And, with forces trying to kill her, it’s a race against death.

I like Emi’s character. She’s the portrait of a lady, always doing what is expected of her, never deviating. She has accepted her fate and doesn’t question it or what she has to give up because of her fate. But, as the date for her sacrifice nears, she starts questioning whether she is actually ready to give it all up and her doubt is fueled by Katsuo, the sohei who is assigned to protect her from harm. What I didn’t like was that her character didn’t have much of a development arc. She was always compassionate, always curious, right from the beginning to the end. And she didn’t really change her beliefs from the beginning of the story to the end of it. But, there’s two more books to come, so I’m holding out hope for her.

Then, there is Shiro, the kitsune who owes Emi a life debt. He’s mysterious and dangerous and has an agenda of his own. He tries to protect Emi when he can, but his selfish motives are clear throughout the book. I like that about him. He never pretends to be someone who he isn’t. He’s established as an untrustworthy character and he doesn’t shy away from it, in fact, he embraces it wholeheartedly. That’s amazing.

Then, there’s Katsuo. He’s Emi’s bodyguard but they have a sort of complicated history. It is alluded that he may have feelings for her and Emi sure had them in the past. So, their relationship is complicated to say the least. But, Katsuo cares about Emi a great deal. And he’s kind and compassionate and caring. He’s always helping Emi whenever she needs it without question. I really like his character.

All in all, this is a nice kickstart to the trilogy. The starting 100 pages were a little slow but then it picked up and became this intriguing mess of want and need and bargains for what you want. Everything comes with a price and I like how entangled all these bargains are because everyone wants something from someone else.

So, yes I would definitely recommend this to you if you’re into mythology and retelling and fantasy.

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Goodreads | Amazon

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8546572Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every single book.

Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Palace of Assassins, Aditya Iyengar – Book Review

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33140986Leper. Murderer. Hero.

The battle of Kurukshetra has come to its catastrophic end after eighteen long days. As Ashwatthama, the lone survivor of the Kaurava camp, slowly regains consciousness, he realizes, to his horror, that he has been condemned to a life of immortality and leprosy by Krishna, the mastermind behind his opponents’ victory. Burning with hatred for the Pandavas for killing his friend Duryodhana, and stricken
with anger at his own fate, he vows to seek revenge.

When he hears of an infallible gemstone that promises to restore his mortality and cure his leprosy – and allows him to exact vengeance – he is determined to go to any length to acquire it. But he finds himself facing an impossible choice, for his quest could result in the death of the woman he loves.

An exhilarating tale of passion and redemption, Palace of Assassins masterfully recasts the events in the aftermath of the great war and presents Ashwatthama, one of the most misunderstood characters of the Mahabharata, in a whole new light.

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*Review copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

The tale of the Mahabharata is one that I have loved since I was a child. I remember my grandma telling it to me as a bedtime story when I was around 10. Since then, I have revisited this story many times, reading various versions, watching shows and movies. So, yeah, I like it. The characters, the plot, the setting, the world – all of it. It’s an interesting take on politics and war and such.

The tale of Ashwathamma, in particular, is interesting. The son of Guru Dronacharaya, he pledged kinship to Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas and fought by their side in the Battle of Kurukshetra. After the war was over, he was one of the few survivors of the Kaurava camp. He infiltrated the Pandava camp in the dead of the night and killed anyone he could find. For this, he was cursed with immortality as a leper by Krishna. Palace of Assassins explores one of the possibilities of might have happened after he was cursed.

As a story, it flows smoothly throughout, with many characters and plots. I like the writing style of the author. It is interesting and easy to follow. It keeps the reader engaged throughout the story and on edge about what might happen next.

What I love is how Ashwathamma and Dronacharya’s relationship is explored throughout the story. Dronacharya is both his father and teacher and the influence he has had on Ahwathamma’s life is huge. The way it is all hashed in the story is something that I really like. The plot and setting of the story is also very interesting and that is what drew me into the story the most.

What I don’t like is that the first few chapters are really slow and nothing really happens in those chapters. Also, the character of Ashwathamma is not as fleshed out as it could be. It feels like most of the time he was on the sidelines, waiting for something to happen before he could take action.

Since this is a part of a series, I hope that the next books have more for Ashwathamma to do and explore his character more. I’m definitely looking forward to those books!

All in all, this was a great read and I would definitely recommend it to any mythology fans out there!

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Top Ten Tuesday (#2) – 10 Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly prompt hosted by the amazing people over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s prompt is Top Ten Things I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree. The list is in no particular order.

 

1. Throne of Glass Series by SJ Maas

23599075When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

Do I even need to explain this one? I mean, SJM! ‘Nuff said.

 

2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

23395680

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This book has also been making lots of rounds on my Twitter TL and I think it would make for an interesting read.

3. Knitting In The City Series by Penny Reid

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There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Anybody who knows me, knows that I’m complete Penny Reid trash. I would read grocery lists and be happy if they were written by that lady. (Kidding. I totally wouldn’t, but you get the idea.) So, yeah, I love her work. Though I have all her books in the e – format, I would kill to own paperbacks. Preferably signed ones. So, yeah.

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

11408650Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I’ve heard so many good things about this series! I mean, so very many! But, I haven’t read it. So, I wouldn’t mind these in the least!

5. A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

22055262Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Victoria Schwab. Do I need to say more? I mean, gah! She’s so good (or so I’ve heard) and I would love to read her books!

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

The amount of longing I have to read this book is unparalleled. I mean, really unparalleled.

7. The Six of Crows Dualogy by Leigh Bardugo

23437156Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

The thing that intrigues me most about this is the variety of characters in this book. I mean, so very many. And it’s Leigh Bardugo. Can you ask for more?

 

8. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

22910900What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

The premise of this book is something that thoroughly entices me. I mean, what if you aren’t the Chosen One? I want to know about that life. Because that is the life I lead.

9. The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

8490112Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I have read some of the first book in this trilogy and it was absolutely beautiful. But, I would love to own the set and finally finish this series because it is going to be glorious!

10. The Aryavarta Chronicles by Krishna Udayasankar

15823163HONOUR. DESIRE. VENGEANCE.

Aryavarta – the ancient realm of the noble.

For generations, the Firstborn dynasty of scholar-sages, descendants of Vasishta Varuni and protectors of the Divine Order on earth, has dominated here. For just as long, the Angirasa family of Firewrights, weapon-makers to the kings and master inventors, has defied them. In the aftermath of the centuries-long conflict between the two orders, the once-united empire of Aryavarta lies splintered, a shadow of its former glorious self.

Now, the last Secret Keeper of the Firewrights is dead, killed by a violent hand, and the battle for supreme power in the empire is about to begin.

As mighty powers hurtle towards a bloody conflict, Govinda Shauri, cowherd-turned-prince and now Commander of the armies of Dwaraka, must use all his cunning to counter deception and treachery if he is to protect his people and those whom he loves.

But who holds the key to the fantastic and startling knowledge of the Firewrights, which in the wrong hands will bring doom upon the empire? And does Govinda have it in him to confront the dark secrets of his past and discover the true meaning of being Arya, of being noble?

History? Mythology? Retelling? COUNT ME IN! I need to read this ASAP!

Honourable Mentions

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Magnus Chase Series by Rick Riordan

The GameWorld Trilogy by Samit Basu

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

What are your most anticipated reads? What would you like this Christmas? Please drop in the comments and let me know! I would love to see what everyone here wants for Christmas! 😀

Happy Reading!

 

Demigods & Monsters (Sphinx #2), Raye Wagner – Book Review

1459165497497

33133715

Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence.

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose.

But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.

1459165556078

Let me start with the best part about this book. The mandatory love triangle in the YA sequels? Where a new love interest is introduced and the girl breaks up with the boy because he’s being a jerk/liar/just because happens? Ring any bells? This one had ALL the groundwork for that and then some. But, no love triangle! Ta – Da! Yes, hard to believe, huh? But, I LOVED THAT FACT SO MUCH THIS BOOK GOT A HIGHER RATING JUST BECAUSE OF THAT!

It’s not like Hope and Xan (that’s the new love interest, FYI) weren’t attracted to each other, because they were, and they came pretty close to kissing once or twice, but never did they act on it. And I like that. I like that so much. Officially, Athan and Hope were broken up the second the book started, but Athan was searching for hope in every nook and corner of the world and Hope wasn’t over Athan the way she was claiming to be. Then, she met Xan and they got close. Obviously, Xan has history with Athan. They used to be friends but something ruined it.

Anyhoo, through the course of the story, Hope and Xan got really close and Xan admitted he liked Hope on several occasions, but he never did anything about it. Hope was so wrapped up in her goal, what she was trying to achieve, that she never pursued anything apart from friendship with Xan, though she thought about Athan very often. And then, when Athan was finally there, she didn’t know what to say to him. She was rude and cruel but Athan took it in stride and tried to explain his side of things. Eventually they got around to it and they were even “a couple” in the sense of the word (you know, hugging and kissing and caring about each other) for a few hours before Hope had to run again even though Athan asked her to stay with him and told her there wasn’t anywhere in the universe she could go where he wouldn’t find her. Yeah, Athan is amazing like that at times.

I’ve focused to much on the romantic aspect of the book but it was really intense for me in this one because I’m rooting for Athan and Hope so bad! I just really, really want them to be together. Really.

The story in this one was just as strong as the first book and this book is a worthy sequel. There was so much going and the plot always kept you on your toes. It was fast paced and full of twists and turns and all that jazz. I liked that. The only thing I hated was the fact that Athan didn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked. His is an interesting character and it would have been nice to see more of him.

1459165616958

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1460788046527

Goodreads | Amazon

1459166946983

Origin Of The Sphinx (Sphinx #0.5)

33139597In Ancient Greece, the invocation “May the Gods watch over you” was more than a spoken blessing. It was an entreaty for divine benevolence.

Phoibe, daughter of Hera, is content. Raised by her aunt, her life is quiet, filled with milling grain and spinning wool. But after her Hestia celebration, Eros, god of love, visits the small town of Belen.

And now Phoibe will have to choose—

If she marries a mortal, she risks eternal solitude for a moment of love.

If she follows her heart, she risks spurning a god.

The gods are enormously powerful, but they don’t fix problems.

They make bigger ones.

Uncover the curse. . .

Goodreads | Amazon

Curse Of The Sphinx (Sphinx #1)

25905676

Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.

When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.

Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.

Goodreads | Amazon

Myths Of Mortality (Sphinx #3)

29412228In the realm of the dead, there are no lies.
Hope Nicholas is desperate to believe that the truth will set her free from the bindings of Apollo’s curse. But to get the truth, she must travel to the Underworld, a feat near impossible for the living. The gods there have their own agendas and, forced to forge alliances with the most unlikely allies, Hope will find that death is not the worst torment of the Underworld.
Athan Michael spent months chasing Hope, only to have her disappear once again. And when he discovers her destination, he knows the treacherous journey to the Underworld is one he cannot take alone. Forced to put aside his past with Xan and Dahlia, the three demigods embark on their own quest. But the past will not stay buried, and Athan must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice to help Hope break the curse.
Told in dual points of view, Myths of Immortality is a tense, action-packed story that will leave you begging for the next installment of The Sphinx series.

Goodreads | Amazon

1459165672531

7127010Raye Wagner grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington. As the second of eight children, she was surrounded by chaos, and escaped the mayhem by reading.
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus.
One sunny afternoon, the history of Apollo’s ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx dropped into Raye’s consciousness. She started scribbling notes down after her sister convinced her the story was worth writing.
She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.

LINKS – 

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

The Curse Of The Sphinx, Raye Wagner – Book Review

1459165497497

25905676Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.

When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.

Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.

1459165556078

*Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and views are entirely my own and not biased in any way.*

Okay, let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of Greek Mythology (Thank you, Uncle Rick). So, yes, this book intrigued me. A whole lot. My experience with Greek Mythology has been only with regards to Percy Jackson and thus, I held demigods in high regards.

But, in this book, it’s the demigods who’re evil, somewhat. It’s because they think that Sphinxes are monsters that they attack them – never hearing their side of the story, never giving them a chance. The sphinxes have been rumored to be dead for almost a thousand years, but that’s not true because Hope and her mom, Leto still exist, even today. When Leto is killed mysteriously, Hope and her aunt, Priska, set out to find answers to how she died. Hope moves to a town in the middle of nowhere to hide, Goldendale, while Priska goes on a wild goose chase to find Leto’s killer.

In Goldendale, she meets her first real friend, Haley and a boy who makes her heart flutter, Athan. As they both remain persistent, Hope finds herself letting them in the wall she built to protect herself. But, as time passes, she realises that Athan might have an agenda of his own and he might not be with her for the right reasons.

What I like the most about the story is the plot. It’s really captivating. The writing is great. Absolutely phenomenal. The characters are amazing. I like them all, from Hope to Athan to Hermes and Apollo. The way they behave and grow and win and lose is something that has been shown in a very nice way.

I like Hope. She’s real and scared and sarcastic as hell. She has no airs about her and she does as she pleases. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. She can hold her own in the most brutal arguments and not break a sweat. She isn’t scared to fight. Yeah, she’s an all round badass. But, she’s also the girl who just lost her mother and doesn’t know how to deal with it. She’s sad and grieving and afraid to be alone. She’s a well rounded character who isn’t too perfect.

To be honest, I didn’t like Athan in the beginning. I thought he would be one of those typical YA bad boys who’s a player and then stops sleeping around when he meets the heroine. But, from what I believe, though he had a different girl on his arm every week, he never even kissed them. So, yeah, I like that. He seems to care about Hope, but then he doesn’t and I wasn’t sure who’s side he was on till the end, which is nice because the story kept me guessing. He’s an amazing character and I really, really like him.

All in all, this is one amazing read that you should definitely check out if you like fantasy and mythology with a little dose of romance thrown in! 😀

1459165616958

_20160402_202159

1460788046527

Goodreads | Amazon

1459166946983

Origin Of The Sphinx (Sphinx #0.5)

33139597In Ancient Greece, the invocation “May the Gods watch over you” was more than a spoken blessing. It was an entreaty for divine benevolence.

Phoibe, daughter of Hera, is content. Raised by her aunt, her life is quiet, filled with milling grain and spinning wool. But after her Hestia celebration, Eros, god of love, visits the small town of Belen.

And now Phoibe will have to choose—

If she marries a mortal, she risks eternal solitude for a moment of love.

If she follows her heart, she risks spurning a god.

The gods are enormously powerful, but they don’t fix problems.

They make bigger ones.

Uncover the curse. . .

Goodreads | Amazon

Demigods & Monsters (Sphinx #2)

33133715Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence.

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose.

But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.

Goodreads | Amazon

Myths Of Mortality (Sphinx #3)

29412228In the realm of the dead, there are no lies.
Hope Nicholas is desperate to believe that the truth will set her free from the bindings of Apollo’s curse. But to get the truth, she must travel to the Underworld, a feat near impossible for the living. The gods there have their own agendas and, forced to forge alliances with the most unlikely allies, Hope will find that death is not the worst torment of the Underworld.
Athan Michael spent months chasing Hope, only to have her disappear once again. And when he discovers her destination, he knows the treacherous journey to the Underworld is one he cannot take alone. Forced to put aside his past with Xan and Dahlia, the three demigods embark on their own quest. But the past will not stay buried, and Athan must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice to help Hope break the curse.
Told in dual points of view, Myths of Immortality is a tense, action-packed story that will leave you begging for the next installment of The Sphinx series.

Goodreads | Amazon

1459165672531

7127010Raye Wagner grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington. As the second of eight children, she was surrounded by chaos, and escaped the mayhem by reading.
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus.
One sunny afternoon, the history of Apollo’s ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx dropped into Raye’s consciousness. She started scribbling notes down after her sister convinced her the story was worth writing.
She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.

LINKS – 

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Annabeth Neverending, Leyla Kader Dahm – Blog Tour

 

28303394-_uy200_At first, teenager Annabeth Prescott thinks she’s found quite a deal when she talks down the price of an ankh pendant she discovers at a flea market. She soon wonders if the bauble is more than she’s bargained for when she faints and glimpses images from a past life in ancient Egypt.

The discovery coincides with another new find: Gabriel, a handsome young man who takes an interest in her. When she meets his twin brother C. J. at a Halloween party, she realizes they look exactly like two boys who figure prominently into her memories.

Does C. J. share the heroic qualities held by his past incarnation Sethe, her bodyguard when she was Princess Ana? Does Gabriel possess the same evil powers he wielded as Kha, the black sorcerer who sought her affection?

Love meets the supernatural in this gripping young adult paranormal romance. Readers with an interest in reincarnation, as well as ancient Egypt, will be drawn to its mystical mixture of history and hesitation as Annabeth sways between the two brothers.

Will her reincarnated soulmate win out? Or will Kha finally find the way to her heart?

 

EXCERPT

I give over the encrusted ornament to Mrs. Lansing, who offers to clean the piece. She takes out a buffing cloth and polishes the necklace in a flash.

“This shape is an ankh. It’s an ancient Egyptian symbol.”

“Do you know what it means?” I ask, curiosity seeping in.

“I believe it represents some sort of key.”

Now that it’s been spiffed up, Mrs. Lansing and I admire my find, which sparkles in the muted autumn sun.

“Is it real gold?” I wonder aloud.

“I’d say so. In fact, this is the darkest, most beautiful gold I’ve ever seen. Just enough alloy was added to the precious metal to make it durable while maintaining its warmth of color. What did you pay for it?”

“Ten dollars.”

“Looks like somebody’s a born negotiator,” Mrs. Lansing states, with a hint of pride. “You got quite a bargain, kiddo.”

I take the ankh back into my possession and caress its cool, smooth surface. I feel everything around me go topsy-turvy, upside down and inside out…

 

***

 

I’m enveloped by heat stronger and more intense than any I’ve experienced before. Drops of perspiration tickle my skin as they run underneath my flowing linen gown. I feel arms clasping a chain behind my neck. My hands fly up to find the ankh resting on my collarbone, but I didn’t move them there. It’s as though I’m a mere observer, instead of a participant, when it comes to this body’s actions.

The man who has just bestowed the necklace upon me pulls away, and I’m allowed a good look at him. He’s a hideous fellow with bulging eyes, a hooked nose, and a shock of bright red hair that peeks out from underneath a black-and-white headdress. His outfit, the way he has about him, makes him seem important. Is he a pharaoh?

He grins, semitoothlessly, and I feel myself smiling in return.

“This is all for you, to commemorate your sixteenth year, your entry into womanhood,” says the probable monarch.

“My gratitude runs as deep as the Nile,” I reply, in a voice that is not my own, in a language that is not my own, and yet I know exactly what I’m saying.

The man, who’s wearing a tunic covered with fringe, motions to a procession of beautiful objects, the likes of which I never could have imagined. Priceless treasures zoom past, carried by servants wearing loose shift dresses and stiff black wigs. Elaborately carved pieces of ivory and ebony furniture, lion and leopard skins, gem-encrusted gold jewelry in the shape of beetles and butterflies, and granite statues of animal-faced men and women are all presented to me individually. Clearly, these are gifts for a very privileged young lady. What I wouldn’t give to own them myself.

Another Egyptian, a young man who is ostensibly a prince, looks to be seething with anger. His arms are crossed; his face, set in a scowl. He watches on in disgust as the gifts continue to appear.

“This show of generosity shall stir jealousy in her sisters,” he states venomously.

“I reserve the right to spoil my favorite daughter as I see fit,” replies the suspected ruler.

And now, the last offering, the one with the place of honor at the end of the parade, is finally brought before me.

A boy! Or is he a man?

“This prisoner of war is such a fine specimen, he would be wasted as a lowly house slave. He shall serve as your bodyguard,” announces the intimidating patriarch. “His name is Sethe.”

The captive has shackles on his hands and feet. I can even make out a brand upon his chest. It seems as though it’s still scarring over, which is understandable, since he was not born into slavery. Regardless, he looks like somebody who has done nothing but labor in the sun. His skin is bronzed, and his muscles are impossibly defined. He seems reluctant to look at me.

Finally, his gaze meets mine. I’m at a distance, yet I can still make out the flecks of gold that dapple his hazel eyes. For a blissful moment, I’m lost in them, swimming in their beauty, floating in their comfort.

 

LINKS –

Amazon | B & N

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LEYLA-DAHM-AUTHOR-PHOTO-FINAL

Wisconsin native Leyla Kader Dahm popped popcorn and dreamt of a career in show business while working in a movie theater during high school. The small-town Midwestern girl opted for the practical route and studied communications at Carroll College and Cornell University. But her life changed course dramatically when a temp agency placed her in a production and development gig at Miramax/Dimension Films.

Dahm went on to work as a script consultant for numerous production companies. She appeared in the acclaimed spoken word show Sit ‘N Spin and had her comedy feature spec, Due North, optioned by Michael Levy Enterprises. She sold her pitch, Survival Instinct, to Nickelodeon Original Movies.

Dahm lives with her husband and children in Los Angeles, where she focuses on writing quality material for families and young adults.

Twitter | Facebook

 

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