REVIEW: The Waking Forest – Alyssa Wees (ARC)

Waking Forest Leo Comps6APPROVED.inddTitle: The Waking Forest
Author: Alyssa Wees
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

“And so she cast a glamour over herself and snuck out of the castle at night, fleeing to the forest where the monsters lived. Where she could be a monster too.”

First of all, that cover is extremely alluring and fits the book perfectly. The Waking Forest has such an interesting premise and a really well constructed novel. It’s atmospheric, eerie, and spellbinding.

The writing is something that readers are either going to love or hate. For myself, I found the beautiful prose and lush descriptions the perfect compliment to the two enchanting stories already being told. I can totally see how some people might find it to be too convoluted at times and leading to confusion, but I had no problem following along.

The way the author has crafted the book is very impressive. She weaves two different stories together seamlessly, and the way they converge by the end was extremely creative and made for a unique story. It was very easy to find myself tugged along the as the story went on, but still able to pick up on the little hints that everything was not quite as it seemed. I found the book to be pretty fast-faced and easy to get through, and I was invested in the characters the entire time. I really enjoyed this one and I hope others do as well!

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Dark of the West – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the Dark of the West book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

32949202Title: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1)
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Release: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

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REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Dark of the West has an extremely fascinating premise. The best way to describe the book would be YA fantasy meets World War II. The story is full of political intrigue, nonstop action, romance, family drama, and interesting characters. The prologue does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the book and promising a story in which not everything is what it seems. 

The worldbuilding was very intricate. I loved the blend of fantasy and history and I think Joanna Hathaway did an excellent job combining two different genres seamlessly and in a way that made sense. Plotwise, there is a whole lot going on. And while I really enjoy books that have plots that are complex and multidimensional, with Dark of the West I was confused about what was going on for a good portion of the book. There are so many different conflicts and it took me a very long time to figure out who was fighting who and why. However, as the book went on it was a bit easier to start to piece things together and I could appreciate how complicated everything was. When it comes to war and politics, not everything is black and white. 

Dark of the West is told through the POVs of two main characters, Aurelia and Athan. I still remain unsure about how I feel about Aurelia. On the one hand, I found her to be a little naive and didn’t connect with her at all. But as the book went on, she really started to show some significant growth and I thought her character arc was handled wonderfully. Athan was a character that I absolutely loved! He was so extremely interesting to read about, especially with his family dynamics and his internal conflicts. I really loved the complexity of his character and never wanted to be pulled away from his chapters. The romance was okay. The feelings between Aurelia and Athan developed in such a short time that I didn’t come across as genuine. I love a good enemies(?)-to-lovers trope, but I think it could have been written a little differently to have been more convincing. That being said, not everything was revealed and so I look forward to seeing how the consequences of the secrets being held will affect their relationship! 

Overall, Dark of the West is a well-written, engaging story full of political scheming, military tactics, romance, and friendship, with an excellent blend of fantasy and history! If you enjoy books with complex plots and intriguing characters, I would recommend adding this book to your TBR! 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorJoanna was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses.

 

Follow Joanna:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


GIVEAWAY

Win one(1) of ten finished copies of Dark of the West. US only. 

✨ ENTER HERE


FOLLOW THE TOUR

February 5 | The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

February 6 | Wishful Endings
February 6 | Paws and Paperbacks
February 6 | Book-Keeping
February 6 | Confessions of a YA Reader

February 7 | Dazzled by Books
February 7 | Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
February 7 | Maddie.TV
February 7 | My Bookish Escapades

February 8 | NovelKnight
February 8 | Another Book in the Wall
February 8 | Samodivas
February 8 | Adventures Thru Wonderland

February 9 | Oh Hey! Books
February 9 | Library of a Book Witch
February 9 | Moonlight Rendezvous
February 9 | Novel Nerd Faction

February 10 | Book Slaying
February 10 | It Starts at Midnight
February 10 | A Dream Within A Dream
February 10 | A Bookish Dream

February 11 | A Court of Coffee and Books
February 11 | The Secret Reader
February 11 | Omg Books and More Books
February 11 | Utopia State of Mind

REVIEW: The Kingdom of Copper – S. A. Chakraborty (ARC)

39855052Title: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2)
Author: S. A. Chakraborty
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter (and also a huge thank you to Harper Voyager for the surprise that showed up on my doorstep on release day!)

A while ago, I read some slight spoilers about this on Twitter (my fault entirely) and ever since I was in such a knot of anxiety about reading the book. One of the fears of reading a sequel to a book that quickly became such a favorite, is that the second one won’t live up to the enjoyment of the first. I am here to tell you that there is nothing to worry about: The Kingdom of Copper is an excellent second installment full of all the same wonderful things that made The City of Brass one of my favorite books. 

S. A. Chakraborty’s writing continues to seriously impress me. I was very easily and quickly pulled back into this mesmerizing story full of djinn, political intrigue, and morally complex characters. This book is not small, and yet I had no problem flying through the pages. The main characters remain one of the strongest aspects of the story, and honestly one of the reasons I love these books so much.

Nahri – Now married to the son of her enemy, she’s trying to make the best out of the situation she finds herself in. Her devotion to her people, her resourcefulness and intelligence, and her determination to set things right not just for the Daeva, but also for the shafits, make her such a well-rounded character and I still really adore her. 

Dara – Once again brought back to life and made into a weapon, he struggles between what he knows is right and what he believes he needs to do. He’s trying his best, but his best is still not good enough (get your shit together, Dara). Despite his (many) mistakes, I would still happily lay down my life for this Daeva warrior. He could kill me a hundred times and I would thank him each time. 

Ali – In my opinion, he had the most character growth out of anyone. He grew on me so much during this book. After struggling between his warring loyalties, he’s finally come to terms with what he believes and is now willing to stand up for those beliefs. He’s such multidimensional character and I’m so interested in where his character is headed next. 

The only complaint I had was in regards to Dara and Nahri. Their bond and slow-burn feelings in The City of Brass were such an integral part to the story, and obviously I love a good romance like that. However, they don’t even interact again until less than a hundred pages left in The Kingdom of Copper. On the one hand, despite being discouraged by this, I think it was important for both of them to grow as characters and develop on their own. When they finally do meet, though, it was…underwhelming? I was expecting much more than what I was given, but I’m hopeful for what happens in the next book! 

I could go on and on about how much I love these books. The Kingdom of Copper was an impressive sequel to a stunning debut. It was impossible to put down and I fell in love with the characters and the world of Daevabad all over again. I’m already counting down the days until book three’s release. I cannot recommend these books enough. If you haven’t read this series yet, please do. You will not be disappointed. 

REVIEW: Warrior of the Wild – Tricia Levenseller (ARC)

43446574Title: Warrior of the Wild
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher. 

“Each scar marks me as a survivor. A warrior of the wild.”

This book was so much fun to read. Warrior of the Wild is an action-packed, fast-paced adventure with a loveable, fierce warrior girl as the star of the novel. The action starts from the first page, and doesn’t let up until the last.

Warrior of the Wild captured my attention early on, and I had such a hard time putting this book down. Rasmira was such a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed reading through her point of view so very much. She’s fierce and intelligent, and yet has moments of vulnerability and doubt that make her not only relatable, but also realistic. Her perseverance in the face of adversity makes it easy to root for her throughout the story!

“I am both a woman and a warrior. And I will not let anyone cause me to forget.” 

In addition to our protagonist, we also are introduced to two side characters, Iric and Soren. Both were well-written characters with their own distinct personalities. I loved all the interactions between those two boys and Rasmira and the eventual friendships that develop along the way. I won’t say much in terms of romance so that I don’t spoil anything, but I WAS HERE FOR IT. Readers are in for such a treat. The love interest was absolutely perfect and the romance that develops between him and Rasmira was so good. 

Warrior of the Wild is an adventure story full of non-stop fun, mythological monsters, quests, friendships, and action. I loved the theme of overcoming adversity and growing into the person you want to be, regardless of what others believe of you. I was completely take by surprise by how much I loved this story and I hope other readers find as much enjoyment by this book as I did! Tricia Levenseller can just take my money in the future, because after Warrior of the Wild and the Daughter of the Pirate King duology, I’ll read anything she writes.

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Lady Smoke – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the Lady Smoke book tour! Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

lady smoke designer credit billelis @billelisTitle: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)
Author: Laura Sebastian
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 512

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia’s mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo’s country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess–a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn’t realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage–Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser’s rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.

To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.

Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself.

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Book Depository


REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher.

Lady Smoke is the sequel to Ash Princess, which was one of my favorite debuts that I read last year. The first book captured my attention very early on, and the sequel was one of my most anticipated for the year. I’m extremely pleased with the events of Lady Smoke and thought it was an excellent and exciting sequel!

It was so easy to fall back into this world. The fact that I read the entire thing in one day really says a lot about how engaging the story and characters were. I was completely engrossed by the book. Theo continues to be a well-rounded protagonist. Her character is so well-written and I really enjoy the fact that her point of view is written in first person, as it makes it so much easier to connect with her. She’s a realistic, complex heroine not without flaws, and capable of making mistakes. She struggles between putting the needs of her country, Astrea, ahead of her own personal wants, but matures and grows as the story evolves. It was also great to see character development not just in our main character, but in the supporting characters as well. We learn a lot more about Theo’s friends and the people she’s chosen to surround herself with throughout the book. 

In Ash Princess, there was a very blatant love triangle and as I’ve said before, it was one that I actually did not mind, as I think Laura Sebastian handled it extremely well. The romance is actually less prominent in Lady Smoke, with a greater focus on the plot and action, but it’s not missing completely. Enemies to lovers is my personal brand, so it’s obvious which side I favor. The love triangle is not quite through yet, however it seemed to me like it was beginning to resolve itself. One of Theo’s relationships had much more development and growth, compared to her relationship with the other character which remained in stasis throughout the book. 

Lady Smoke was full of forward-moving action, a little bit of mystery, and plenty of character development to make this a great sequel capable of captivating readers. Fans of the first book are going to love this, and if you haven’t read Ash Princess yet, I highly recommend adding it to your TBR! 

★ ★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-photo-300x200Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram 


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Three (3) winners will receive a finished copy of Lady Smoke. US only. 

 ENTER HERE ✨


FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week One:
January 1 | To Be Read
January 2 | A Dream Within A Dream
January 3 | Here’s to Happy Endings
January 4 | Random Bookish Banter

Week Two:
January 7 | Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews
January 8 | Jrsbookreviews
January 9 | Omg Books and More Books
January 10 | Fiction Fare
January 11 | Du Livre

Week Three:
January 14 | Loie Dunn
January 15 | A Court of Coffee and Books
January 16 | Paws and Paperbacks
January 17 | A Gingerly Review
January 18 | Lifestyle of Me

Week Four: 
January 21 | Paper Reader
January 22 | Adventures and Reading
January 23 | Popthebutterfly Reads
January 24 | Adventures Thru Wonderland
January 25 | YA Books Central 

Week Five:
January 28 | Confessions of a YA Reader
January 29 | Colorimetry
January 30 | Smada’s Book Smack
January 31 | Kat’s Books