REVIEW: A Crown of Wishes – Roshani Chokshi

29939047Title: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC received through NetGalley.

First of all, that cover is stunning. I enjoyed reading The Star-Touched Queen but I wasn’t as blown away by it as everyone else seemed to be. And so, I was looking forward A Crown of Wishes, but I absolutely was not expecting to love it as much as I did. From the very beginning, I found it infinitely better than the first book and was completely hooked. 

There is no denying that Roshani Chokshi is an immensely talented writer and a marvelous storyteller. The characters, the world-building, the descriptions, the plot were so well-crafted and mesmerizing that I got lost in the story numerous times while reading. Vikram and Gauri were wonderful characters to read and I was happy with both their POVs. Vikram, who is full of sass and charm, never failed to make me laugh, and Gauri was an admirable heroine-brave and intelligent. The dynamics between them was honestly one of the best written love/hate relationships I’ve ever read. It felt real and convincing. The banter between those two was on a whole other level. I couldn’t stop highlighting gems like these:

“I have my mind,” he said. “You should thank me.”
I raised my chained hands. “I am bursting with gratitude.”

“I could marry you, if you’d like. That seems to be a popular reward back home.”
“I prefer the poisoned food.”

I’m very thankful I was approved for this ARC, because it definitely did not disappoint. A Crown of Wishes has been one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I’m so excited for everyone else to read this and I can’t wait for whatever else Roshani Chokshi decides to write!

 

REVIEW: The Dark Days Pact – Alison Goodman

30838768Title: The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) 
Author: Alison Goodman
Rating: ★★★★★

When I first read The Dark Days Club, I was hooked. I was originally nervous going into this that it would suffer from Second Book Syndrome, or that it wouldn’t stand up to all my hype and anticipation for its release. Thankfully, I worried for nothing, because I found The Dark Days Club even more enjoyable than it’s predecessor. I devoured it. It was the very opposite of Second Book Syndrome: fast-paced, full of action, and exciting to read until the very end.

I mentioned this is my review for the first one, but Goodman does such a fantastic job with these books, and her writing continues to impress me. They’re a perfect combination of regency romance (a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine) and paranormal fantasy. I was also glad that the romance was a bit more present. Carlston and Helen – be still my heart. I’m a sucker for a slow burn and the chemistry between those two is so amazingly well written that the tension is palpable. I’m not going to lie, I kind of wish these were adult books, not Young Adult, so some of those scenes could be even steamier. Sorry not sorry. Also, I have a confession: I enjoy the occasionally love triangle. I really liked the Duke of Selburn’s character and I was glad he was still around in this book and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. 

Of course, the ending left me itching for the next one, WHICH I NEED IMMEDIATELY. Alas, I have to spend the next year impatiently awaiting it’s release.  

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Romance Trope

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. In honor of Valentine’s Day (aka Singles Awareness Day), this week’s topic was a romance freebie, so I decided to focus on a favorite romance trope. It’s no secret that I’m a huge sucker for hate-to-love relationships, especially when it comes to the historical romance genre, which I have shamelessly become obsessed with in the past couple of years. For ease of the list, I decided to only use romance books. 

favorite-romance-trope

1. THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME by Julia Quinn

2. THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN by Sarah MacLean

3. IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN by Lisa Kleypas

4. TEMPTING THE BEST MAN by Jennifer L. Armentrout

5. PAPER PRINCESS by Erin Watt

6. WHEN THE SCOT TIES THE KNOT by Tessa Dare

7. A WEEK TO BE WICKED by Tessa Dare

8. A NIGHT TO SURRENDER by Tessa Dare

9. WALLBANGER by Alice Clayton

10. THEN CAME YOU by Lisa Kleypas

REVIEW: Caraval – Stephanie Garber

27883214Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve been in a horrible reading slump for over a month and this was exactly the kind of book I needed to pull myself out. I was pulled in from the start and was thoroughly entertained until the very end. Caraval was a phenomenal, magical, breathtaking book. I was hesitant at first because it has been compared to The Night Circus over and over, but honestly I didn’t see any huge similarities.

First of all, I refuse to believe that this is Stephanie Garber’s debut novel. Her writing was flawless. I was so impressed by her worldbuilding, descriptions, characters, everything! The plot was fast-paced and thrilling to the point that I didn’t want to put the book down. The relationship between Scarlett and her sister was one of my favorite parts of the book. The selfless love and devotion between them was heart warming. Scarlett was a fantastic heroine and I loved reading the story through her narrative. I felt like I was playing the game alongside with her, trying to figure who to trust, what to believe, and whether things were real or not. Julian was another character that I really enjoyed. Oh Julian. I knew I was going to love him from the first moment he called Scarlett, “Crimson.”

I was actually surprised when I learned there would be a sequel, since I went into the book believing it was a standalone. But the epilogue definitely has me intrigued for a second book. Caraval was mesmerizing debut novel that takes the reader on an enchanting journey from beginning to end.

 

Buzz Books 2017: YA Spring/Summer

Another edition of Publishers Lunch Buzz Books: Young Adult just became available not too long ago, filled with excerpts for upcoming releases for the spring and summer. Once again, out of all the books included, there was only one that was already on my TBR list, so I was pleased to find more book to add to my radar. Below are the five books that intrigued me the most!

23308087 Flame in the Mist: The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace. Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

31752165The One Memory of Flora Banks: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

29939048Roar: Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people. To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters. Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

32051572Dividing Eden: Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom. As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family. With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

25740412The Black Witch: So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa’s heir—but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else. When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the University, which admits all manner of peoples—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of her people—is an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.