**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [260]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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As you read this, I'm at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago. ALA is kind of like BEA for librarians, so I'm probably wandering through the exhibits desperately trying NOT to pick up too many books.

I know that sounds contradictory, but books are HEAVY. The exhibits floor is HUGE and everything I pick up has to ride on my back until I get back to my room. Overindulgence is painful. Which doesn't mean I won't arrange for entirely too many eARCs from Netgalley and Edelweiss.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of teasers from my Stacking the Shelves post over at Reading Reality:

 Barbarian by Anna Hackett

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Book Stats:  
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Ebook: 586 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release date: September 24th 2010

Series:  Seven Realms #2

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Tynga

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden's Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn't mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own.

I picked up The Exiled Queen the moment I finished reading The Demon King. I HAD to know what was happening next and I was not disappointed. Both Raisa and Hans left the 'safety' of the Fells and are now deep in Arden territory at a school called Oden's Fort. Raisa attends Wein House, the military school, undercover and I swear she will blow your mind. Hans is attending Mystwerk along side Dancer to learn all things magic, and more. Speaking of magic, the point of view still alternates between the two and neither of them has any idea the other is there! This, along with many familiar and new supporting characters sets the table for another epic adventure. 

I find it really hard to tell you about this book without giving anything away. The world is still as rich as it was in the first book and we built upon that lore. We learn a lot more about this history and we learn new facts that plants a seed of doubt on what we thought were facts. 

Raisa learns a lot in Wein House and becomes more confidant in her physical abilities and she has a better idea of her objectives for when she will be Queen. She always wanted her Queendom to be a better place, but now she is owning tools that will allow her to do it. Staying away from home for the greater good is weighting her down though and she feels very lonely until she stumble upon Hans very late in the novel and then everything changes. 

Hans Alister faces different challenges. He knows his old turf and now finds himself in enemy territory, with no bearing, and no idea what the rules are. He needs to find his way among all these blueblood wizards or he might not survive to tell the tale. He finds very unlikely allies on his quest, most of whom he doesn't trust and that's just as well. I loved following his struggles and witnessing his determination to succeed. 

Romance finally enters the premises at the end on this novel and the romantic in me couldn't be happier. I was anxiously awaiting this moment and this young love was so sweet despite the dire situation the young lovers were in. It really set the table for the future to come and as you might guess, I picked up the third book as soon as I set the second one down :)

The Seven Realms series is an awesome high fantasy series and I know it's been released a few years ago, but if you haven't read it yet, you should definitely pick it up! Happy reading!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stacking The Shelves {259}

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! 
Three weeks ago we welcomed a little fur baby to the family so I thought I would show you a picture :) His name is Marcus and he is a seal point cornish rex. We love very much!

Now book wise,
I added to my virtual shelves quite a few books:

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
and Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis (which is currently free)

I've already read all the books by Cinda (reviews to come) and I'm in love! So if you have any suggestions of a similar feel series, please leave a comment!

Please link your STS post in the linky below ^^

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 506 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release date: October 6th 2009

Series:  Seven Realms #1  

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Tynga

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can't sell. For as long as Han can remember, he's worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off. The thrilling debut in a new high fantasy trilogy, from New York Times bestselling author, Cinda Williams Chima (The Dragon Heir).


I am in love with this series like I haven't been in a long time. I say series because even though this is my review of the first book, after reading it I had to rush and read all four of this series, and than the first two of the spin-off series. I. Am. In. Love. And I will try not to confuse each book in my head as I write each reviews (the other ones will come in the coming weeks).

This high fantasy novel takes place in a world where rules have an extremely important place. A thousand years before, a wicked sorcerer tried to possess the first of the new queens, Hanalae, and when she fought back, the world was almost ripped apart by magic. The clans (think Native American) stepped in to mend the damage and set new rules to prevent it from happening again. And here we are, 30 or so generations later with a line of Queens called Gray Wolwes ruling over the QUEENDOM, yes you read right, along side Wizards who would love to have control back, The Clans, who will do everything to stop it from happening and the Valefolks (the commoner). Each of theses groups are richly portrayed, multi-dimensional, and have their own agendas.

To lead us through this amazing world we have Raisa, Princess Heir and Hans, former Street lord. The narration alternates between the two, allowing the readers to really grasp the reality of each of them. Raisa wants to be a good Queen for her people, she strives for her Queendom to be fair for everyone, for every class to get along and she is extremely stubborn. Hans on the other hand comes from nothing. He fights everyday to put food in his mother and sister's mouths after his father died in the war. He is weary of everyone and everything but he is very hard-working and will do anything to achieve his goals.

Along with those two amazing main characters are great support characters. Byrne, Raisa's childhood friend and bodyguard and Fire Dancer, Hans' best friend were absolutely great, to name only those two.

I don't want to give anything plot wise but I will say that to lore is extremely rich and Cinda Williams Chima offered an impressive historical background to her story. Sometimes fantasy novels can seem lengthy at times mostly because of travel times and what not but I never felt that way reading this novel. Every moment is colorful and gripping, everything happens for a reason and the action kept me glued to the pages.

I've read some complaints about a love triangle when I browsed reviews before, and really, those people are totally off. Yes there are two boys and a girl, but there never was an actual triangle. So if you've heard that, please don't let it keep you away from a great fantasy.

Another thing I thought I would mention, even though the characters are between 15 and 17 years old in this novel, it never felt that way. As you know, I'm a grown woman with kids and I just can't stand childish and whiny behavior from younger characters and thank the lord, it wasn't the case here. They always felt strong, determined and driven and I loved every moment.

I will conclude by urging to get your hands on this novel. It was released in 2009 so I am late to this party, I know. But the first spin-off novels were released in 2016 and April 2017 so I would strongly suggest you read the original series before you pick up the spin-off. Your experience will be that much more amazing!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [258]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

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Happy weekend everyone! I've been MIA for the past few weeks but I'm back from BookExpo America (BEA) and BookCon with a large stack of books. I had the chance to go to New York last week and I really enjoyed my experience.

Felicia, the Geeky Blogger, was nice enough to let me room with her during the week. She was there mostly for the Audies, the award ceremonies celebrating the best audio books of the year and their narrators. As a proficient audiobook reviewer, Felicia won the award of audiobook blogger of the year. Congrats Felicia! Also, thank you Felicia of letting me tag along to all the social events that allowed me to meet wonderful narrators working the the audiobook business. I had a blast!

Felicia and I sightseeing near Time Square.

I spent Thursday and Friday at Book Expo where I met many different authors and publishers, and picked up multiple ARCs. It felt better organized compared to last year in Chicago, however BookCon was way too crowed for me. Because Book Expo is limited to those in the industry, such as writers, publishers, reviewers, educators, librarians, etc, access was limited. However, BookCon is opened to the public so the main floor was way too crowded and the panel rooms were so small, I was only able to get into two out of the five panels I wanted to attend. They were very strict with the amount of people they could fit into the rooms and I feel they should have anticipated for bigger rooms considering the amount of people in attendance. Overall, I loved the experience, and I would definitely go again some day, however, not next year. 

Entrance to main floor of Book Expo and BookCon.
While in New York, I also decided to see a Broadway play which has both american and canadian roots. Come From Away has been nominated for seven Tony Awards and it really deserves to win. It was an amazing musical which is based on the true story of thousands of stranded plane passengers during the 9/11 attacks. In the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, many transatlantic planes were diverted to their small airport and it tells the story of how the town people gathered their resources to help close to 7000 unfortunate travellers. Very touching, and very well choreographed, the actors and songs were wonderful. Highly recommended.

Come From Away playbill.

Come From Away set.

Now, on to the real reason why you're here today. Here's what stacking my shelves this week:

Day 1 at Book Expo.

Purchased Day 1 at Book Expo.
Day 2 at Book Expo.

For Review

Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Year One by Nora Roberts

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

For Love of the Duke by Christi Caldwell

Living with the Living Dead by Greg Garrett

The Tiger’s Daughter y K. Arsenault Rivera

Warcross by Marie Lu

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Jady City by Fonda Lee



Purchased

Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular by Mayim Bialik 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Getting my book signed by Mayim Bialik.

Getting my booked signed by Margaret Atwood.

 Two authors I absolutely wanted to meet (however briefly) were Mayim Bialik and Margaret Atwood, and I was so happy I got the chance to meet both! Even though BookCon was overcrowed, it definitely attacked to some big names. I had the chance to attend Margaret Atwood's panel and it was brilliant hearing her talk about The Handmaid's Tale and the TV show based on her book. She is a very intelligent lady, and oddly enough, very funny.

So now you turn! Let me know what's new on your shelves!


Saturday, June 03, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [257]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Hello Summer!
It's June, and post-Memorial Day in the U.S. which means that summer has unofficially started, at least in the northern hemisphere. School is either out or the end is in sight, and it's supposed to be warm and sunny. I live in Atlanta now, and one of the great things about living here is that while we definitely have all four season, winter generally just deals us a glancing blow. On that other hand, summers can get pretty beastly.

Which makes the height of summer the perfect time to curl up with a good book in an air conditioned house and a glass of iced tea. Come to think of it, there are no bad times to curl up with a good book, not even when the cat is sitting on it.

While my full shelf-stack is, as always, over at Reading Reality, here are a couple of teasers from this week's stack.



Cover Fire by Jess Anastasi
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare



And speaking of teasers, the Beach Reads Giveaway Hop also just started, so hop on over to Reading Reality for a chance to enter.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 470 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release date: July 7th, 2015

Series:  The Remnant Chronicles #2

Source: 

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I really enjoyed the transformations of our three main characters in this second story as we have unraveled who is who, assassin vs. prince, and seen how that plays into their relationships and political allegiances. Now with the Komizar in the picture, this places a third suitor for Lia's affection (or simply her political status) in play, since he decides to marry her and thereby make her a traitor to Morrighan in one fell swoop.

While Lia shows she is really in love with Rafe, she has a complicated relationship with Kaden. His betrayal of her still stings, but she sees his love of her clash with his loyalty to Venda and the Komizar, even if the latter is stronger. As the Komizar's cruelty and manipulations come to light, Kaden becomes more conflicted, especially when Lia lies to him, pretending to be more in love with him than she is though she does manage to get him to open up about his past, his parents, and his abuse, which he has never spoken about to anyone.

Rafe, too, is playing a dangerous game since he masquerades as an emissary from the Prince of Dalbreck and spins a number of lies as a desperate ploy to buy his small elite team of soldiers more time to help him and Lia escape. Meanwhile, he and Lia are also hiding their secret relationship from everyone and might at any moment be discovered for lovers not spurned enemies.

In this second book, Lia really has the opportunity to confront and explore more of her gift as well as her relationship with the true history of Venda and the Remnant, partially revealed to her by the vagabond leader Dihara. Though Venda has always been considered full of barbarians by those in other kingdoms (possibly due to their history of bloodshed and war), Lia is faced with the reality of her prejudices when she meets other Vendans like Aster and her clan who welcome Lia in light of an ancient prophecy. In meeting Aster, Eben, Calantha...the unnamed enemy has a face and is real and quite not the enemy she pictured. Instead, Lia embraces some Vendan culture and recognizes that the prophecy has tied her to the real Venda in some way, not the same cruel one ruled by the Komizar and that killed her brother and wars with her country.

With Venda being a patriarchal and violent society, both Kaden and the Komizar discount Lia's capacity for resourcefulness and brilliance, seemingly much like her own family did. As we find out, our heroine is strong, fierce, and determined to make her own choices about her future, even if everyone tries to take it away from her.

I also listened to this book on audiobook as a refresher (I'm finally getting to read book 3!), and that was very good too, even if the brief breaks to Gaudrel and the Song of Venda histories were irritating. Still one of my top favorite fantasy series! While this was a middle book, it did not disappoint! It was just as well-written and fantastic as the first. This series is very character-driven with enough satisfying world-building to keep you hooked to the end and dying for the adventure to continue.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [256]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Welcome to my very first co-hosting of Stacking the Shelves! And for those of you in the U.S., happy 3-day weekend!
 
My name is Marlene and I'm a biblioholic. I'm always reading, and never caught up with everything I want to read. You probably know how that goes. I've been participating in Stacking the Shelves for years, and when Tynga started recruiting for new team members, I offered to help a bit with Stacking the Shelves. I post my entire stack every Saturday, including today of course, at Reading Reality. But when I'm over here at Team Tynga, I'll just post a little teaser to whet your appetite.
Because I also suffer from abibliophobia (that's the fear of running out of things to read) my stacks are frequently a bit unwieldy. Meaning occasionally huge. (All virtual, I read ebooks)
Just a word about the co-hosting before I give you that teaser. The link-up will be here at Team Tynga, as always. The exact same link-up will also appear at Reading Reality. No matter which site you are on when you add your link, it will appear in both places.
This should be grand!
And speaking of grand things, I picked up a couple of rather grand books that I am grandly looking forward to reading in the next few weeks...

Hemi by Anna Hackett
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
If you want to check out my full list, head on over to Reading Reality. And if you want to show off the new additions to your shelves, add your post to the link-up so we can all ooh and aah over the covers.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 342 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: April 26th, 2016

Series:  The Star-Touched Queen #1

Source: 

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

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.
I had been wanting to read this for a while, especially as it is more diverse YA fantasy. Plus what a gorgeous cover!

I was able to listen to part of this on audiobook which was super helpful as it really brought to life the accents and the pronunciations of the Indian names which I found really beautiful and fun to memorize. For example, "Bharata" is quickened and sounds more like "Bahrta" and "Mayavati" is more like "My-ah-vath-ee". The narrators were wonderful and really brought the story to life. However, I found this book to have a lot of description and that detracted from the story. There was much use of imagery and while that was beautiful, it was almost overkill. It had so much description that it was hard to picture so many details or to allow the reader to have their own idea of the picture, especially since I was only listening to the audiobook.

Also, I kept getting sucked out of the story by how fated Amar and Maya's love was supposed to be. First, you look at him like he's saved her, awesome...but then...he seems to be more than he is and he's hiding a lot of secrets. Yet, they are supposed to be so deeply in love like epic stories of Paris and Helena of Troy. Having never been much of one to believe in love at first sight even in normal YA, this takes everything to an entire next level as Maya and Amar's love is supposed to span time (if you've watched the tv show Legends of Tomorrow, this reminds me of Kendra and Carter).  However, since Maya is virtually told nothing and mentally spinning in circles (or literally, since she is completely lost in Akaran a lot), this results in some frustration for the reader. So much of the time the reader only knows what Maya knows and since Maya is trying to figure things out...I felt as if I did too! That was super irritating.

My favorite part came when Maya met Kamala, the demon horse, towards 3/4 of the way through the book. Kamala was the first character to have a real voice and personality. With Kamala and the unpredictability of Maya being out of Akaran, the plot picked up and, while things were still confusing, at least it was interesting rather than being trope or sickeningly sweet unbelievable romance. There will still be teen readers who will like this, absolutely, and those readers who like Cassandra Clare's books might be drawn to try this novel.

The next novel Crown of Wishes focuses on Maya's little sister Gauri, who Maya was forced to leave behind in her escape from Bharata. I'm not sure I will be reading that one, honestly. Have any of you read it? What did you think?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stacking The Shelves [255]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

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New logo, new beginning!
We have been struggling to keep STS up due to real life obligation and Marlene from Reading Reality stepped up and offered to co-host STS with us. This mean the inlinkz tool will be shared between both of us, and the weeks we have nothing to show you unfortunately, you will view a sneak peek of her stash! Either way, you will be able to include your link here (or there!) every week.
Please welcome her warmly :)

Personally, I've added a few books to my shelves this week and here they are!
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams China (ebook)
Demonica Underworld Bundle by Larissa Ione (ebook)
Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews  (print)
What did you add to your shelves?

[inlinkz_linkup id=716829]