REVIEW: Dangerous Alliance – Jennieke Cohen (ARC)

Title: Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance
Author: Jennieke Cohen
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

Dangerous Alliance was absolutely DELIGHTFUL. I had such a fun time reading this book! It was witty, smart, full of romance and a little dash of mystery. I’m a huge fan of reading Regency romances, so the fact that this is a YA historical novel coming tropes of a Regency romance + Jane Austen elements + an actual mystery? This was a combination I never knew I needed in my life but I completely devoured this glorious tale.

I’ve read other YA historical fiction books with similar premises, but not that have been written as excellently as Dangerous Alliance, or that have capture my attention as fully. From the very first chapter, we are introduced quickly to both the capable protagonist, Vicky, and the nonstop action. There is a lot of different types of conflict present which kept me constantly turning the page to find out what happened next. And I loved the mystery aspect as well! It kept me guessing until late in the game which made it all the more enjoyable.

The romance aspect was constructed perfectly as well. Some of my favorite tropes from Regency romances were at play: heroine needing to marry quickly to save her family, estranged childhood friend back in town, slow-burn romance. I also think the decision to have both Vicky and Tom’s POV worked extremely well for this book. I was surprised at first, but not necessarily disappointed. One of my favorite parts of reading historical romance novels is reading the mutual angst and tension from both points of views.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, Jane Austen, the Regency-era, or the fun elements of historical romance books. Dangerous Alliance is a well-crafted, wonderful story full of non-stop action and fun!

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Five Reasons Fireborne Needs to Be on Your TBR

Welcome to my stop on the Fireborne book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host! As soon as I finished Fireborne I knew it was going to be my favorite book of the year. It was absolutely amazing and you can check out my full review here! But if you want a little more convincing, I’ve listed five reasons why this book needs to be on your TBR 🔥


ABOUT THE BOOK

36578543Title: Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1)
Author: 
Rosaria Munda

Release: October 15, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragon riding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves…or step up to be the champion her city needs.

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Five Reasons to Read Fireborne

🐉 DRAGONS: One of my absolute favorite parts about this book is the presence of dragons! Too often, books are pitched as “dragon” books, and yet these magnificent creatures are hardly ever featured within the story. Fear not with Fireborne: dragons are heavily present in this book! I loved all the dragon-riding action scenes and the unique bonds the dragons have with their riders. For anyone who loved Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion in Game of Thrones, this will definitely appeal to you!

🔥 CHARACTERS: Ann and Lee are amazing protagonists. The two of them come from very different backgrounds, and yet growing up together as war orphans has formed a powerful bond between them. Their characters were so well-written and compelling and the complexity of their relationship was a highlight of the book!

⚔️ PLOT: This book has been described everywhere as Plato’s Republic meets Aegon Targaryen and Hermione, and I am here to tell you how truly accurate that pitch is. The premise of this story is what happens after the bloody revolutions that are so popular in the YA genre. The plot deals with the intricacies of dealing with the aftermath of toppling aristocratic regimes and trying to build a new world. There is a lot of moral greyness throughout these pages that really makes this such a captivating story: the “good” guys sometimes do bad things, and the “bad” guys can be sympathized with.

✍🏼 WRITING: The writing is smart and enthralling. I was awestruck to learn that this is Rosaria Munda’s debut novel. The story is so thought-provoking and full of political intrigue. There were definite nods to Plato’s Republic sprinkled throughout the book and even as someone not familiar with the work, I could really appreciate the cleverness. The world-building was another aspect of the writing that was expertly crafted. The world created felt so authentic and believable.

💕 ROMANCE: Without spoiling too much, this romance slayed me. You all know I’m all about some good romantic tension and angst and this book was filled to the brim with it! The romance was really subtle and took a back set to all the action, which made it just that more enjoyable! It was very slow-burn, to the point that I wasn’t even sure if it was going to happen or just my wishful thinking, and the payoff at the end was totally worth it. There are definitely some roadblocks that the characters need to overcome, but I cannot wait for more in the next books.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorRosaria grew up in rural North Carolina, where she climbed trees, read Harry Potter fanfiction, and taught herself Latin. She studied political theory at Princeton and lives in Chicago with her husband and cat.

 

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GIVEAWAY

Win one of two finished copies of Fireborne (US/CAN only).

✨ ENTER HERE ✨


FOLLOW THE TOUR

October 9 | The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

October 10 | L.M. Durand
October 10 | Becky’s Book Blog
October 10 | Onemused
October 10 | Novelishly
October 10 | Paws and Paperbacks

October 11 | Utopia State of Mind
October 11 | Book Slaying
October 11 | Lost in Storyland
October 11 | Flyleaf Chronicles
October 11| Fictitiouswonderland

October 12 | Luchia Houghton Blog
October 12 | Love, Stars and Books
October 12 | Jrsbookreviews
October 12 | A Dream Within a Dream
October 12 | Once Upon a Time, I Read a Book

October 13 | NovelKnight
October 13 | Here’s to Happy Endings
October 13 | The Reading Chemist
October 13 | Port Jericho
October 13 | Dazzled by Books

October 14 | Wishful Endings
October 14 | Moonlight Rendezvous
October 14 | Library of a Book Witch
October 14 | Artsy Draft
October 14 | Adventures Thru Wonderland

October 15 | Bibliobibuli YA
October 15 | A Court of Coffee and Books
October 15 | The Reading Corner for All
October 15 | Novel Nerd Faction
October 15 | The Book Bratz

REVIEW: Relic – Bronwyn Eley (ARC)

46218744._SY475_.jpgTitle: Relic (The Relic Trilogy: Book 1)
Author: Bronwyn Eley
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher.

Relic is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy that is sure to impress many readers, myself included. With a strong heroine, excellent worldbuilding, and a very interesting premise, this was one heck of an entertaining story!

The premise of Relic felt really unique and fascinating, which is what originally drew me to the story. The book follows our protagonist, Kaylan, who has been chosen to be the next shadow: a personal servant to the Lord whom basically absorbs all the negative energy and pain given off by their magical relic. The worldbuilding present in the Relic was truly excellent. It was so easy to understand how the world worked without feeling confused or overwhelmed. Bronwyn Eley did a great job with placing the necessary pieces into the story and avoiding any information dumping.

I found Kaylan to be an excellent heroine! She was smart, caring, and resilient. Family and friendships mean a lot to her and are a central part of the story. She showed a lot of grit and determination in trying to solve her predicament, unwilling to simply roll over and accept her fate. I also thought she was very astute and made good decisions. For instance, when learning about a rebellion brewing, rather than joining forces with them straight away, she makes note of the negative consequences that rebelling could have on citizens. I loved that aspect! In many YA books, the hero/heroine jump ship to the rebels without even stopping to think if they were truly any better, or to at least weigh the pros/cons first. Bronwyn Eley excelled with that part of the book.

Overall, I thought Relic was a great debut fantasy book! I really enjoyed the main character and the premise of the story. This is the first book in a trilogy and I look forward to seeing what happens next!

REVIEW: The Girl the Sea Gave Back – Adrienne Young (ARC)

42867937Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received by the publisher through a giveaway.

Sky in the Deep quickly became one of my favorite books after I finished reading it, and so The Girl the Sea Gave Back was something I was highly anticipating. Adrienne Young continues to be a wonderful storyteller and has crafter another novel full of strong characters and powerful writing, however it’s quite capture my attention the same way Sky in the Deep did.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a companion novel rather than a sequel to Sky in the Deep, so it is entirely possible to read this alone. I absolutely loved the Viking-inspired world Adrienne Young created in her previous work and she does an amazing job expanding on that world even more in this one with the introduction of new clans and traditions.

As for the rest of the book, it fell kind of flat. And trust me, no one is more disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this that much as I am. The majority of the book had very little action and didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It was missing a lot of the tension and angst that made Sky in the Deep so compelling.

I also didn’t connect as much to the characters. I really enjoyed Halvard and his point of view, but for some reason I couldn’t seem to connect with Tova. I will say that I really enjoyed how Adrienne Young handled the romance aspect (if you can even call it that?). There were many times when she could have pushed those characters together romantically, however, I’m glad she avoided that because it would have come off as forced and inorganic. Although, she does give a teaser at the end of the story that hints towards a possibility of something!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back was missing many of the captivating elements found in Sky in the Deep, and I was supremely disappointed that I couldn’t love this more. This was a very slow moving story without a lot of action or payoff that didn’t keep my attention. Adrienne Young is an amazing writer and I look forward to more stories from her in the future!

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Song of the Abyss – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the Song of the Abyss 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

BOOK COVERTitle: Song of the Abyss (Tower of Wind #2)
Author: 
Makiia Lucier

Release: August 27, 2019
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy

As the granddaughter of a famed navigator, seventeen-year-old Reyna has always lived life on her own terms, despite those who say a girl could never be an explorer for the royal house of St. John del Mar. She is determined to prove them wrong, and as she returns home after a year-long expedition, she knows her dream is within reach. No longer an apprentice, instead: Reyna, Master Explorer.

But when menacing raiders attack her ship, those dreams are pushed aside. Reyna’s escape is both desperate and dangerous, and when next she sees her ship, a mystery rises from the deep. The sailors–her captain, her countrymen–have vanished. To find them, Reyna must use every resource at her disposal . . . including placing her trust in a handsome prince from a rival kingdom.

Together they uncover a disturbing truth. The attack was no isolated incident. Troubling signs point to a shadowy kingdom in the north, and for once, the rulers of the Sea of Magdalen agree: something must be done. But can Reyna be brave enough to find a way?

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REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher.

Isle of Blood and Stone is one of the most under-hyped books, and it’s companion novel Song of the Abyss can join its ranks as greatly written YA fantasies that deserve way more attention than they are getting.

The main character’s name is Reyna, and I will 100% admit that it was the reason I decided to pick up this ARC and forced me into reading the first book. Reyna was one of my favorite characters in Isle of Blood and Stone and it was so awesome to see her get her own story!

There was more action in Song of the Abyss, which along with the fantastic pacing, made this such an easy book to fly through. The story follows Reyna as she goes searching for her missing friends to a mysterious kingdom. As with Isle of Blood and Stone, Makiia Lucier does an amazing job in creating a story that blends adventure, mystery, and a hint of romance together with excellent writing and memorable characters. I definitely recommend these books to anyone looking for a fun fantasy done right. My message to the bookish community: stop sleeping on these books.

★ ★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorMakiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a “powerful and disturbing reading experience” by Publishers Weekly, and was a finalist for Germany’s top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Her second novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, was inspired by her love of Indiana Jones movies and old, old maps.

She lives with her family in North Carolina.

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GIVEAWAY

Win one of three finished copies of Song of the Abyss (US only).

✨ ENTER HERE ✨


FOLLOW THE TOUR

August 21 | The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

August 22 | The Candid Cover
August 22 | The Inked In Book Blog
August 22| Fictitiouswonderland

August 23 | Wishful Endings
August 23 | MetalPhantasmReads
August 23 | The Reading Corner for All

August 24 | Moonlight Rendezvous
August 24 | Bookishly Nerdy
August 24 | Library of a Book Witch

August 25 | L.M. Durand
August 25 | Story-eyed Reviews
August 25 | Some Books & Ramblings

August 26 | Camillea Reads
August 26 | The Clever Reader
August 26 | Paws and Paperbacks

August 27 | Bookish Looks
August 27 | Read at Night
August 27 | Book Butterfly in Dreamland