The Impossible Vastness of Us, Samantha Young – Blog Tour

 

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. Order your copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US today!

 

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About THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US:

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

 

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*ARC received as a part of a blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

The Impossible Vastness of Us follows the story of three teenagers – India, Finn & Eloise – and their journey of growing up. India is uprooted from her home to move to live with her mom and her high society fiance. She has to leave everything behind, everything she worked so hard for – her friends, her school, but mostly her stellar reputation on the top of the high school food chain that she spent years building. And then, it’s a new world for her because her stepdad is loaded and she’s never had so much money and because suddenly, she’s at the bottom of the high school food chain, with her stepsister, Eloise, and her boyfriend, Finn, at the top. She doesn’t particularly like Eloise and she starts to develop feelings for Finn, but as she spends more time in her new home and school, she learns that not everything is as perfect as it is being portrayed and she’s not the only one with life changing secrets.

 

What I like about India is that she is so resilient and strong. She’s been dealt a shitty hand and she makes the best of it. She stands up in the face of adversity and I love how strong she is. I admire her for being able to get up and do daily, mundane things such as going to school in face of what has happened to her. I don’t want to get into it a whole lot because I think it’s better read than said. I really, really, really liked reading about her. She’s an amazing MC.

 

Then, there’s Finn – the broody, mysterious guy, who also happens to be her step sister’s boyfriend. But, Finn & India fall for each other and of course, Finn has a secret too. His life isn’t as perfect as he’d like people to believe. His story is as heartbreaking as India’s and I’m really glad they had each other through the story. I mean, they’re such an adorable couple! I ship them, okay? I ship them hard. They’re amazing together. I love it.

 

The themes in this book were so on point. Not everyone has a perfect life and there’s so many bad things and obstacles. I love that. All the characters were multi faceted and there was so much to everyone’s story than what was on the surface. They were all complicated and flawed. Some characters I loved and some I hated, but they were all amazingly written and I loved how they were portrayed. Young has done an incredible job with that. Kudos to her.

 

Yes, the drama got a little too much for me at times, but I still loved the story and I was so hooked on knowing what was happening and why it was happening. So, points for being a page turner.

 

What I love about this is the open ending. It wasn’t all wrapped in a present with an HEA and the characters had a long way to go still, but they had changed so much from the beginning of the story and I love that. I mean, it was completely fitting to end the story on that note. I would have liked a more definitive ending in terms of the romance, but there are no guarantees in life and I was pretty okay with it.

 

All in all, this was a great coming of age story and I really enjoyed the journey these characters took.

 

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“This is Jay,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest in defiance at the stern look on her face.

I hated when she acted like she gave a crap.

“I don’t care who he is.” Hayley tried to fry his ass with her eyes. “You can leave.”

Jay stared back at her with as much defiance as I did, making me like him more. He turned to me and pressed a slow, intimate kiss to the corner of my mouth. “See you at school, babe.”

He laughed at the mischief in my eyes.

I waited until he’d brushed by Hayley without a word and I heard the front door close behind him. “Nice. Thanks.”

Hayley’s dark eyes narrowed into slits. “Don’t talk to me like that. I’m tired, it’s been a long day and now I come home and find my daughter being mauled by some walking hormone. Am I supposed to be happy that you’re dating some guy who looks like he’s seen the inside of prison more than once?”

“We’re not dating. We’re just fooling around.”

“Oh, well, then, why am I so upset?” She threw her hands up in exasperation.

“Hayley.”

She flinched, like she always flinched when I called her by her name (so she flinched a lot). “Don’t ‘Hayley’ me. I have a right to be upset about this.”

“Don’t be. I’m not serious about him. And I’m not getting pregnant. Anyway, you’re home early.”

“They put me on a shorter flight.” She dumped her purse on the couch as she moved farther into the room. “We’ll discuss Jay later. I need to tell you something.”

I tensed. “Yeah?”

She stared pensively at me for a few seconds before finally taking a seat by my side. “I’ve met someone.”

Dread instantly filled me.

Scrutinizing me for a reaction and getting none, Hayley smiled reassuringly. “He’s wonderful. His name is Theo and he has a daughter who’s actually your age. He lives in Boston. We met on one of my flights out there.”

My stomach churned. “How long?”

“Several months ago.”

“I knew something was going on,” I muttered.

“I’m sorry I kept it from you for so long… I just wanted to make sure it was real between us.”

“And is it?”

“Very much so. We’ve fallen in love.”

“That’s some long-distance relationship.”

“I stay with him when I fly out there. I see him as often as possible.”

I snorted. “And you think he’s faithful all the times you’re not around?”

“Don’t.” She cut a hand through the air. “Those are your trust issues, India. Not mine.”

My blood boiled with indignation. She was completely naïve if she thought for one second this guy wasn’t’ a loser. She had chosen badly before, after all. I had a right to the dread that was making me feel sick.

“I just wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s serious.”

“What does that even mean?”

“It means that if this is going where I think it’s going, then that might mean a big life change for us.”

Oh, hell.

I stared at her in horror.

Hayley sighed wearily at the expression I wasn’t even trying to conceal. “I’m going to make a cup of tea. I’m tired so we’ll talk about Jay another time.” She turned but then stopped to stare at me sadly. “Thanks for being so happy for me, by the way.”

That didn’t even deserve a response.

There was a time Hayley couldn’t give a damn about my happiness. I felt it only fair that I feel apathetic now about hers.

 

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Samantha Young’s THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US – Review & Excerpt Tour

June 19th

BookWorm221 – Review & Excerpt

Clare’s Mad About Books – Review & Excerpt

Joyful Shimmy – Review & Excerpt

Little Red’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Naturally Nerdy Books – Review & Excerpt

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Boyfriends – Review & Excerpt

June 20th

Beware Of The Reader – Review & Excerpt

Books For The Living – Review

Kindle and Me – Review & Excerpt

Melissa’s Book Obsession – Review

Read more sleep less – Review

To Be Reviewed Books – Review & Excerpt

June 21st

A Fortress of Books – Excerpt

Becky on Books – Excerpt

Enjoying life a day at a time – Review

Mustreadbooksordie – Review & Excerpt

MrsLeif’s Two Fangs AboutItBook Reviews – Review & Excerpt

SJ’s Book Blog – Excerpt

June 22nd

Actin’ Up with Books – Review

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Fiction Fare – Review & Excerpt

Movies, Shows, & Books – Excerpt

Take Me Away To A Great Read – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

June 23rd

A Literary Perusal – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

BJ’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Review

Kimberly’s Hot Reads – Review & Excerpt

Read, Write, Design – Review & Excerpt

June 24th

Ali’s Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Lacey’s Love Of Literature – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review & Excerpt

June 25th

All Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt

PBC – Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Excerpt

TSK TSK What to Read – Review & Excerpt

With Love for Books – Review

June 26th

Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads – Review & Excerpt

Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt

Calling All Bookaholics – Review & Excerpt

Liezel – Review & Excerpt

Reads & Reviews – Review

The Readdicts – Review & Excerpt

June 27th

4 the Love of Reading – Review & Excerpt

ADDICTED TO BOOKS – Review & Excerpt

Lisa Loves Literature – Review

Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt

Peace Love Books – Review

The Inked In Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

June 28th

Bookalicious Babes Blog – Review & Excerpt

Greyland Reviews – Excerpt

Literary lust – Review

My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt

Read Love Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Life of a BooknerdAddict – Review & Excerpt

June 29th

Author Groupies – Review

Blushing babes are up all – Review & Excerpt

Book Enticer – Review & Excerpt

The Book Avenue – Review & Excerpt

The Review Loft – Review & Excerpt

Three chicks and their books – Review & Excerpt

June 30th

I Read Indie – Excerpt

Shh Moms Reading – Review & Excerpt

The Bookish Introvert – Review

Total Book Geek – Review & Excerpt

Vi3tbabe – Review & Excerpt

Witchy Richey’s Booktastic Reviews – Review & Excerpt

July 1st

Book Babes Unite – Review & Excerpt

Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review

Southern Belle Book Blog – Excerpt

The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

 

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Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook& hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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Such A Good Girl, Amanda K. Morgan – Blog Tour

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32333302Things to know about Riley Stone:

Riley Stone is just about perfect. (Ask anyone.)
She has a crush on her French teacher, Alex Belrose. (And she suspects he likes her, too.)
Riley has her entire life planned out. (The plan is nonnegotiable.)
She’s never had a secret she couldn’t keep. (Not ever.)
Riley is sure that her life is on the right track. (And nothing will change that.)
She’s nothing like a regular teenager. (But she doesn’t have any problem admitting that.)
Riley doesn’t usually play games. (But when she does, shealways wins.)

She thinks a game is about to start…
But Riley always has a plan…
And she always wins.

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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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Girl on the Verge, Pintip Dunn – Blog Tour

Girl on the Verge
Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

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EXCERPT

“Hey. Look at me, please.” I nudge her shoulder, and she lifts her tear-stained face. “I messed up tonight. But it won’t happen again. No boy is going to come between us. I promised.”

She widens her eyes. “You still plan to keep your word?”

“Of course. I don’t make promises just for the hell of it, you know.”

A smile ghosts across her lips, but I can tell she’s still hurt. My heart contracts even more. “I’m here for you, Shelly. How can I prove that?”

“Well, there is one thing. . . .” She glances over her shoulder, although no one else is here. “Never mind. You’re going to think it’s silly. Forget I said anything.”

“I won’t. We’re friends, right? You can tell me anything, and I won’t think you’re silly.”

She takes a deep breath.

“Okay. Fine.” The words tumble out. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was a kid. Problem was, I never had anyone to do it with.”

“What is it?”

“I want us to be blood sisters.”

A chill creeps up my spine.

Blood sisters? As in, my blood mixed with hers? This is unsanitary at best, deadly at worst.

“You hate the idea, don’t you?” she moans. “Forget it. I knew it was silly. . . .”

“No, no. You just surprised me, that’s all.” My mind spins, as I try to think of how to respond. “I don’t have anything against the idea, in theory. But you know all that stuff we’ve heard, about AIDS and other diseases and infections. Maybe I’m just being silly. . . .”

“Hey, it’s a valid concern. And I could tell you I’m clean, but you can never be too sure, right?” She wrinkles her forehead. “I’ve got it! We can do our own modified version. We’ll drop our blood onto a clean surface and let the liquid mix there. That way, we’ve performed the ceremony, but we’re still protecting ourselves. What do you think?”

“Um . . .” NO! my mind screams. Every cell in my body rebels against the thought. Mixing our blood is just gross. And weird.

There’s nothing in me that wants any part of this. I rack my brain, searching for a reason, any reason at all that won’t offend her.

“Look, I know we only met a couple weeks ago,” Shelly says in a small voice, “but I feel this connection with you. Like we were always meant to be friends. This ceremony represents that. You’re my sister, through and through.”

I take a deep breath. This idea she’s suggesting is more than a little creepy. But Shelly’s been through such a rough time lately. It’s not going to kill me to drop a little blood on a cutting board. If it makes her happy, I should just say yes. It’s not that big a deal . . . even if it makes all the hair stand up on my neck.

“Okay, fine,” I say, before I can change my mind. “Let’s do it.

Author Bio:

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at http://www.pintipdunn.com

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When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon – Book Review

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28458598A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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Blood of the Prophet, Kat Ross – Book Review

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30228183Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

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

I cannot express in words, the amount of love I have for this series. I absolutely LOVED THE FIRST BOOK and dove right into the second one, not giving myself a chance to come out of the world of The Fourth Element Series. I’m glad that I had all the books before I started reading because I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS!

The world building is insanely amazing. I have no words. Really. I’ve blabbered about it in the review for the first book, but I don’t have words as to how much I love it. It’s so good. And the characters. My, my! Such good characters. They’re understated in the best way and they’re so different and complex and you don’t realize just how multi faceted they are in the first go. They’re constantly changing, growing and building. I love that!

I love that there was no love triangle. Thank you, Kat! Seriously, I LOVE THAT FACT. SO VERY MUCH. Love triangles are a sort of pet peeve of mine and I don’t like them, but they’re sort of given in most books and I brave through them because I like the other aspects of the book. But, here, it was just Darius and Nazarfeen and no unwanted third players and I really like that. I also like that the romance was not overtly done. While it’s a huge part of the story, it’s not everything. Many a time, the romance tends to overshadow the rest of the plot, but that didn’t happen here. And, the characters didn’t go about declaring their love for each other constantly or making any grand gestures, but the ove they felt for each other was visible in the way they cared for each other, in the way they were always around each other. I admire that.

The story was a little slow in the beginning, but it was still good and the end left me with no complaints. I really liked the way it was written and all the situations and all the plots and sub plots were great!

All in all, it is an absolutely amazing read and it does complete justice to the first book in the series! I can’t wait to start reading the next one in the series which I’m gonna do as soon as I’m done posting this!

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I’ve always loved to read more than anything in the world, especially so-called genre stories—mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, horror. I like books that take you by the hand and lead you out of the mundane. That ease back the curtain and show you the wondrous and dark and unexpected lurking just around the next corner. I worked in journalism for a long time before I returned to writing fiction. Guess which is more fun?

The Midnight Sea, Kat Ross – Book Review

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29670787They are the light against the darkness.

The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.

And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake.

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Top Ten Tuesday (#3) – Top 10 Debut Authors of 2017 I’m Excited For!

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This week’s prompt for TTT by The Broke & The Bookish is 2017 Debuts! And let me tell you, I AM EXCITED FOR A LOT OF THEM!

 

1. The Color Project, Sierra Abrams

2. When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon

3. Caraval, Stephani Garber

4. Gilded Cage, Victoria James

5. You’re Welcome, Universe, Whitney Gardner

6. #famous, Jilly Gagnon

7. Textrovert, Lindsey Summers

8. Definitions of Indefinable Things, Whitney Taylor

9. Geekerella, Ashley Poston

10. Poison’s Kiss, Breeana Shields

The Heir of Thunder, Karissa Laurel – Blog Tour

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32070020The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne, unprepared to rule Inselgrau in his place. Weeks before Evie’s ascension to the throne, revolutionaries attack and destroy her home. She conceals her identity and escapes under the protection of her father’s young horse master, Gideon Faust. Together they flee Inselgrau and set sail for the Continent, but they’re separated when a brutal storm washes Evie overboard.

In her efforts to reunite with her protector and reach allies on the Continent, Evie befriends a band of nomads who roam the world in airships fueled by lightning. She also confronts a cabal of dark Magicians plotting to use her powers to create a new divine being, and she clashes with an ancient family who insists her birthright belongs to them.

If she’s to prevail and defeat her enemies, Evie must claim her heritage, embrace her dominion over the sky, and define what it means to be Heir of Thunder.

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Heir of Thunder is the story of Evelyn ‘Evie’ Stormbourne and her struggles to get her kingdom back from the lords who are trying to invade it, owing to the untimely death of her father.

The story opens with explosions throughout Evie’s kingdom and her running away with Gideon, a trusted employee of his father. They begin their journey to Dreutch, where Gideon says are people who will help Evie in fighting against the revolution in her country. During the way, she runs into her fair share of troubles that change her, for the better, or so I believe.

Evie, I think, is a very strong character. She has much to learn and has a lot of growing up to do before she can take over her kingdom. I thought that she was too naive and trusting for more than half the book, which led her into difficult, life threatening situations more than once. Yes, she needed to trust some one but trusting every person she met along the way but she seemed to think that every other person walking on the road was trustworthy. Yes, some of them were, but not all. Despite Gideon telling her, repeatedly, not to trust anyone, not even Gideon himself, she still did. But, she was strong and brave and resilient and I like that. She never gave up without a fight and had the ability to think on her feet. Which, saved her from a lot of dangers. So, yeah, she’s a multi faceted character and I like that about her. She has a lot of room to grow in the next installments of the book.

I liked how her character developed through the course of the book. The plot was intriguing and fast paced. I was never bored, so yay! It was relatively short, which made it easy for me to read the book in almost 2 hours. 😀

All in all, it’s a great story! I’m looking forward to the next installment!

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Chapter 1

A rumble of thunder woke me. I shifted under my quilts, turned towards my window, and searched the sky for clouds. Storms always made me smile; made me feel a little less lonely. Black clouds, lightning, and rain reminded me of better times, when thunder was a regular event in our household. My father used to make the loveliest thunder—more like percussion in a heavenly orchestra than cannonade and ordnance. I had never mustered the necessary energy to expulse that kind of force. My attempts always sounded more like the blast of a large pop gun.

Another report rippled through the air, but it sounded wrong this time—a little too sharp and cold for something as organic as thunder. A third, angry blast proved the source was nothing harmonious with nature. The clamor had a cadence, a rhythm, and when I slid out of bed, the vibrations from it quaked through the stones under my feet.

Boom!

“1… 2… 3… 4….” I counted off a half-minute and—Boom!—another explosion. I counted a half minute again, which concluded with another detonation.

My bedroom door flew open, and Gerda rushed in still wearing her rumpled nightgown. The braid she wore for sleeping had slackened during the night, and stiff rust-colored curls sprang around her face. Fear and worry crackled from her like static from a wool blanket. “Evie, my dear, you’ve got to get dressed.” She pulled me to my feet and yanked my sleeping gown over my head.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Gideon was just at my door. He told me have you out to the stables as quickly as possible.”

“Did he say why?”

“He did not, but I won’t be the one to contradict him. The look on his face was murderous.”

“How is that different from any other day?”

Boom!

Gerda didn’t laugh, and that worried me more than the persistent racket. “What in the world is making all that noise?” I asked.

“I haven’t had the time to look, but whatever it is, it can’t be good.”

“I figured out that much for myself,” I said under my breath.

If she heard me, she chose to ignore it and tossed me a pair of wide-legged trousers disguised as a skirt.

I slipped them on while she scurried to unearth my boots. “I take it we’re not using the carriage?”

“Gideon said you would be riding.”

“What about you?”

Gerda backed out of my wardrobe, wide rump first, and turned to face me. A stern expression hardened her face as she clamped her hands to her hips, and in a sharp tone said, “You are our main concern, Evie. Let’s get you safely away, and then I’ll worry about myself.”

“Safely away from what?”

Boom!

Glass shattered in a room somewhere below us and the whole house shuddered.

“From whatever is making that horrible clatter. Quit asking questions and get dressed!” Gerda rarely lost her temper, especially not with me.

Her abnormal temperament stirred me into action. I wrestled a high-collared blouse over my head, buckled on a wide belt, buttoned up a short suede waistcoat, and laced up my favorite riding boots.

She shoved me onto a stool beside my vanity and yanked my hair, forcing it into a tight braid. “Your hair’s straight as a stick and slick as a snake. I can never seem to weave it into a proper plait, even when I have plenty of time and my hands aren’t shaking.”

“Forget it. I’ll twist it up like usual.” I reached back to take over the familiar routine, but Gerda smacked my hands away.

“No, I’ve almost got it.” She grunted once and yanked again.

I winced but had the sense to keep my protests to myself.

“There.” She retrieved a ribbon from one of her ubiquitous pockets, wrapped it around the end of the braid, and double-tied the knot for reinforcement. “I don’t want any of it coming loose while you ride.”

I reached back and patted the careful arrangement. “Thank you, Gerda. Now, you get dressed and we’ll go.”

“No!” She stomped a stubby foot. “Gideon was clear. He only wants you. You must go. Now.”

Another explosion rocked the floor, and Gerda stumbled against the wardrobe. She leaned on the heavy piece of furniture until she regained her footing. The house shook and groaned as something structural gave way. Yells and shouts carried up from the lower floors.

“Are you going to meet us?” I asked. My heart raced, dancing a flittering beat. “Do you know where we’re going?”

“I don’t, but Gideon will take good care of you.”

Tears welled in my eyes, but the steely look on her face kept them from falling. “What will you do?”

“I’m going to get dressed and gather up Stephen and our boys. We’ll be out the door a short bit after you.”

“Then why can’t you go with me?”

“Now’s not the time for whining, Evelyn. Be a good girl. Do as I say.” She used the same mother-hen tactics she had employed when I’d proved to be a tempestuous child. It set the proper tone to rouse me from my panic.

“Hug me,” I said. “I’ll miss you.”

She threw her thick arms round me and pressed me into her abundant bosom. “I’ll miss you too, my girl.”

I inhaled her scent—a mixture of all the herbs in her garden, and especially comfrey, her favorite cure-all.

She squeezed me again and broke away. “Gideon will keep you safe, if you’ll listen to him and not let your impetuousness get in his way.”

She gathered my raw silk cloak from its hook by the door and tossed it at me.

I snapped it from the air and swirled it over my shoulders. When the cloak caught a beam of sunlight streaming from the window, the fabric shimmered with rainbow swirls like a soap bubble.

“Go now. Hurry.” Gerda yelled her final command over the screaming of tortured metal, as if a giant-toothed creature had bitten into the soul of the house.

I hugged her again and dashed out the door.

In the hallway, several of the house’s other occupants hurried past me in various states of dress. Tolick, the all-purpose houseboy, ran toward the stairwell. He had managed to button on his trousers but had neglected to remove his nightcap.

On the bottom floor, I turned for the kitchen.

The cooks had abandoned their breakfast preparations. A large porridge pot bubbled over on the stove, and thick strips of bacon burned on a griddle. A babble of excited voices drifted in from distant corridors, but no one came my way as I scurried toward the rear door of the kitchen. Beyond the exit, my route led me through Gerda’s garden, a sanctuary of herbs and vegetables protected by a stone wall enclosure rising high overhead. Thick vines of ivy and budding wisteria climbed the tops of those barriers. She would need to prune them soon, but we were all running, fleeing these familiar walls.

Would we return before the ivy took over? Would the house survive long enough for it to matter?

I ran past the garden’s iron gates and my breath puffed in thin, vaporous spurts. Spring had arrived less than two weeks ago, and the mornings still lingered in the recent days of winter. I pulled up my hood and wrapped my cloak tighter around me as a shield against the cold.

At that moment, I could have turned around for an unobstructed view of my house, but that would have meant witnessing its destruction. The house cried to me, but what relief could I offer? A feeling of helplessness settled in my gut like curdled milk. Father would have known what to do, but I was merely his daughter, his masterwork left incomplete by an untimely death.

I hacked a derisive cough at that thought. As if death ever comes at an appropriate time.

Curiosity overrode my fear. I slowed, stopped, and turned on my heel. As I wheeled around and looked up, my heart plummeted to my feet.

The house stood ablaze, smoke billowing from several of the first floor windows. Its wooden floors and beamed ceilings would surely feed the flames and turn the billows into a monstrosity of acrid, black plumes. The exterior might survive the fire—an ancestor had constructed Fallstaff from large granite blocks that had withstood tide and time for hundreds of years—but it wouldn’t survive the volley of explosive fodder from the trebuchet now installed on the front lawn.

One of my father’s war manuals showed illustrations of that vicious machine, but I had never seen one in reality. Someone with a brain for engineering had rigged this one with a system of levers, pulleys, and gears. A steam engine automated its processes, and every few seconds a conveyer belt fed another iron missile into a waiting bucket attached to a long wooden arm. From this distance, the trebuchet looked like an assemblage of toothpicks and hungry metal teeth, yet its ammunition tore holes through Fallstaff’s stone and mortar like a moth devours a wool sweater.

A group of men stood around its base, guarding the machine with rifles and crossbows. No one tried to engage them or fight back, as all were too concerned with escape. From that distance, they appeared as little more than stick figures.

I stepped closer in hopes of recognizing their uniforms or gear.

“Evie, what are you doing?” Gideon’s unmistakable bellow interrupted my thoughts. My father’s young horse master waited at the gate of the small paddock beside the stables, clutching two reins in his fist. One leather line led to his giant black stallion, Gespenst—a Dreutchish name meaning specter, or ghost. The other tether led to my horse, Nonnie, a gray-coated mare with a dappled rump.

“Gideon, what’s happening?” I jogged toward him. Something exploded behind me, and the aftershock sent me stumbling, but Gideon’s free hand shot out and latched around my elbow. I locked eyes on his stoic face and refused to look back.

“This is no time for an explanation,” he said. “Mount up, we’re riding south.” He tossed my horse’s reins in my direction and slid onto Gespenst’s back with an ease that demonstrated his familiarity with the saddle.

Nonnie snorted and rolled her eyes, announcing her displeasure over the noise and brusque treatment she had inevitably received from Gideon as he’d arranged her tack.

Nonnie and I managed most of our adventures on nothing more than wild oats and a few apples lifted from the larder. This journey would undoubtedly last longer than any we had taken in all our years together, and she must have felt some of the same trepidation as I. She stomped an eager hoof as I mounted, and when I nudged her forward, she fell into a canter behind Gideon and his horse.

Gespenst bore saddlebags stuffed to the brim. The tip of Gideon’s compact repeating crossbow, Sephonie, poked from the edge of the flap.

I thought of my own crossbow, which I’d never felt a need to name, and wondered if it had made its way into Nonnie’s packs. Gideon could take a stag from horseback with one shot; I could shoot a slow moving rabbit… if I had time to focus and plenty of solid footing.

I had no idea where we’d go, but at least we wouldn’t starve on our way there.

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The Heir of Thunder Blog Tour Schedule

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13801450Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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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

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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!