BLOG TOUR: These Feathered Flames – Alexandra Overy (ARC Review)

Welcome to my stop on the These Feathered Flames book tour! Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames #1)
Author:
 Alexandra Overy
Release: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Fantasy

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

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REVIEW

ARC provided by Inkyard Press through NetGalley.

These Feathered Flames is an intricately woven story based on Russian folklore. Alexandra Overy did a great job creating a believable worldbuilding, remarkable characters and relationships, and enough political intrigue and betrayals to keep the reader invested.

My favorite aspect of These Feathered Flames is the relationship between Asya and Izaveta, twin sisters and heirs to two very different roles in their queendom. The author promised Sansa/Arya vibes for their characters and she definitely delivered! Their relationship is complicated, and yet their unwavering love and support for each other is still there. Both Asya and Izaveta were forced into roles neither of them truly wanted, and yet they are both working to do the best they can.

The writing was another powerful element of These Feathered Flames that really helped bring the story to life. From the court intrigue, to the betrayals and manipulations, this book is full of fun elements to keep the readers invested. The first two-thirds of the book are a bit on the slower side. It isn’t until the last bit that things really start to pick up and pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.

These Feathered Flames is a YA fantasy full of political maneuverings and Russian folklore elements woven together to form a fun, fascinating story!

★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra grew up in London and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her undergraduate degree in history at UCLA, followed by her MFA in screenwriting also at UCLA. She loves writing in all formats, from novels to screenplays to graphic novels, always centring on fierce women and morally grey characters, often with a bit of magic and murder. Her debut novel, These Feathered Flames, releases April 20 2021 from Inkyard Press.
When she’s not writing, she can be found baking, fangirling over her favourite books, or cuddling her cat.

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BLOG TOUR: Pride and Premeditation – Tirzah Price (ARC Review)

Welcome to my stop on the Pride and Premeditation book tour! Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1)
Author: 
Tirzah Price
Release: April 6, 2021
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA Historical Fiction

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.

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REVIEW

ARC provided by Harper Teen through NetGalley.

Pride and Premeditation is a Jane Austen retelling with a murder mystery twist and I was seriously impressed with this book! It was enjoyable, fun, and an excellent new take on a beloved classic.

My favorite thing about this book was how well it incorporated elements of Pride and Prejudice. The characters and major plot points remained, staying true to their source material, but the rest of the story was uniquely woven around them to give it a fresh feel. The murder mystery also added an aspect of unpredictability that I always find important when reading retellings, and this was done perfectly.

Tirzah Price is very clearly a seasoned writer, and it really shows in her debut book. The writing was engaging, the pacing was excellent, and the weaving of Pride and Prejudice elements with originality was cleverly done. I look forward to reading more Jane Austen murder mysteries from her in the future!

★ ★ ★ ½


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tirzah Price grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she writes about YA books and cohosts the All the Books and Read Harder podcasts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters. Tirzah is pronounced TEER-ZUH.

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BLOG TOUR: Soulswift – Megan Bannen (ARC Review)

Welcome to my stop on the Soulswift book tour! Thank you to the author, Megan Bannen, for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Soulswift
Author: 
Megan Bannen
Release: November 17, 2020
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Fantasy

Gelya is a Vessel, a girl who channels the word of the One True God through song. Cloistered with the other Vessels of her faith, she believes—as all Ovinists do—that a saint imprisoned Elath the Great Demon centuries ago, saving humanity from earthly temptation.

When Gelya stumbles into a deadly cover-up by the Ovinists’ military, she reluctantly teams up with Tavik, an enemy soldier, to survive. Tavik believes that Elath is actually a mother goddess who must be set free, but while he succeeds in opening Her prison, he inadvertently turns Gelya into Elath’s unwilling human vessel.

Now the church that raised Gelya considers her a threat. In a race against the clock, she and Tavik must find a way to exorcise Elath’s presence from her body. But will this release stop the countdown to the end of the world, or will it be the cause of the earth’s destruction? And as Tavik and Gelya grow closer, another question lingers between them: What will become of Gelya?

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REVIEW

ARC provided by the author for the blog tour!

Megan Bannen continues to impress me with her masterful storytelling and beautiful characters. Soulswift was a story full of intriguing world-building, opposing religions, and self-discovery.

The heart of Soulswift revolves around spirituality and beliefs. The story follows two characters, Tavik and Gelya, who are from opposing sides of a religion-based war. Circumstances force the two of them to reluctantly work together and attempt to save their world. I really loved the presence of mythology/religion here. Tavik and Gelya are both forced to examine their faith and question their beliefs. The book heavily focuses on self-discovery and the uniting of different ideas was perfectly executed and added depth to the characters’ development.

I absolutely loved the relationship that developed between Tavik and Gelya. They start out as enemies, but they way they change their opinions about each other during their journey and grow together was beautiful. Without spoiling too much, their relationship follows another one of my favorite tropes (other than the enemies-to-lovers) and I was completely on board! The romance aspect of the book was perfectly incorporated into the story; it had importance to the characters and yet wasn’t the focus of the story.

The ending was heartbreakingly, achingly beautiful and I would have expected nothing less from Bannen after The Bird and the Blade. Soulswift was a wonderful story with engaging writing, wholesome characters, and important themes about faith and self-discovery.

★ ★ ★ ★ ½


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Bannen is the author of SOULSWIFT and THE BIRD AND THE BLADE, a Kirkus Best Young Adult Book of 2018 and an Indies Introduce selection. An avid coffee drinker and mediocre ukulele player, Megan lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and their two children. She’s a full-time writer, but her librarian heart will always belong to the reference desk.

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BLOG TOUR: The Camelot Betrayal – Kiersten White (ARC Review)

Welcome to my stop on the The Camelot Betrayal book tour! Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

51372640Title: The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising #2)
Author:
Kiersten White
Release: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Fantasy

Everything is as it should be in Camelot: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?

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REVIEW

ARC provided by Random House Children’s through NetGalley.

The Camelot Betrayal takes place shortly after the events of the end of The Guinevere Deception and it was surprising how easily I was able to fall back into the world of Camelot and this story. This book focused a lot on Guinevere and her character development and I was 100% here for it. 

Guinevere continues to struggle to figure out how she belongs in Camelot and her place as Queen. Throughout The Camelot Betrayal, she has to make tough decisions and she ends up questioning herself, especially when it came to the use of her magic. Character-driven books are either hit or miss for me, but since I was so invested in Guinevere I absolutely loved the focus on her growth.

Another aspect of the story with a heavy focus is Guinevere’s background, thanks to the arrival of Guinevach, the real Guinevere’s sister. New pieces of information are revealed and speculated upon, but nothing is confirmed. Guinevere’s background is one of the thing’s that intrigues me the most so I was hoping for more concrete information, however, even with the small crumbs we were given I was happy that I had guessed one of those pieces correctly. I’m really looking forward to learning the whole picture in the next book!

I know I’m in the minority with this opinion, but I really loved Guinevere’s budding romance with Arthur! Maybe it’s because I was never a fan of Mordred, but I found it to be very sweet and realistic. There is clearly a lot of respect, trust, and friendship already between theme, and the spark of desire that has now been flamed was perfect. I don’t believe they’re without flaws and I’m not sure if I even believe they’ll actually fan into anything more, but a girl can dream! 

For the most part, the plot was pretty forward moving. There were a few spots where it seemed to slow down too much for my liking, but it picked back up pretty quickly afterward. I will admit that I had expect a bit more action-wise regarding the Dark Queen and magic and struggled to find the “main plotline” for this book. Once I came to terms that there really wasn’t more going on other than important character development for Guinevere and other smaller plots involving beloved side characters, I was able to move past my reservations and enjoy this more fully.

The Camelot Betrayal was an excellent installment for this series and continued to be full of all the Arthurian folklore I love. The story is more focused on Guinevere’s character growth than anything, but it was all beautifully written. I cannot wait for the third book! 

★ ★ ★ ½


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kiersten White author picKiersten White is the New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker aware-winning author of the And I Darken trilogy, the Paranormalcy trilogy, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Slayer, The Guinevere Deception, and many other novels. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego, California, where she perpetually lurks in the shadows.

 

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BLOG TOUR: Winter, White and Wicked – Shannon Dittemore (ARC Review)

Welcome to my stop on the Winter, White and Wicked book tour! Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

51075440Title: Winter, White and Wicked
Author:
Shannon Dittemore
Release: October 13, 2020
Publisher: Abrams Books
Genre: YA Fantasy

Twice-orphaned Sylvi has chipped out a niche for herself on Layce, an island cursed by eternal winter. Alone in her truck, she takes comfort in two things: the solitude of the roads and the favor of Winter, an icy spirit who has protected her since she was a child.

Sylvi likes the road, where no one asks who her parents were or what she thinks of the rebels in the north. But when her best friend, Lenore, runs off with the rebels, Sylvi must make a haul too late in the season for a smuggler she wouldn’t normally work with, the infamous Mars Dresden. Alongside his team—Hyla, a giant warrior woman and Kyn, a boy with skin like stone—Sylvi will do whatever it takes to save her friend.

But when the time comes, she’ll have to choose: safety, anonymity, and the favor of Winter—or the future of the island that she calls home.

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REVIEW

ARC provided by Abrams Books through NetGalley.

Winter, White and Wicked has been constantly described as Mad Max meets Frozen. And while I can’t attest to the Mad Max aspect, I can without a doubt say that this book definitely exudes a Frozen-esque dystopian vibe that just worked. Winter, White and Wicked was exhilarating, page-turning, and full of non-stop action. 

Shannon Dittermore is a very talented author, there is absolutely no question about that. I was hooked early on and the story’s forward moving-plot and non-stop action kept me reading page after page. The clear descriptions and vivid imagery throughout easily transported me into the book’s setting. I could almost feel the icy wind biting my cheek, see the snowy backdrop, hear the engine of the rig as it made it’s treacherous way through the mountainous path. One of the best parts of reading is getting lost in the world, and Winter, White and Wicked did not disappoint. 

The mythology that the plot and story centers around was very clever and well-written. It was detailed, and contained just the right amount of magic to feel both believable and whimsy. And I really appreciate how the information was given to readers: just enough was introduced in the prologue to pull you in, and then more is gradually added as the evolves. I found this pace perfect. I was able to get grasp of the story and then build upon my knowledge. 

Winter, White and Wicked was an excellent story. The kind of book that will transport you to another world to get lost in for awhile. From the creative mythology to the vivid descriptions, it was easy to fall into the book and be captivated by the pages. I definitely recommend for anyone looking for a dystopian-esque fantasy full of grit, great characters, and magic. 

★ ★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

lK2Z5MZQShannon Dittemore is a young adult author, conference speaker, and mentor. Her books include the Angel Eyes novels (Thomas Nelson Fiction) and the forthcoming Winter, White and Wicked, to be published by Abrams Books in the fall of 2020. Since 2013, Shannon has taught mentoring tracks at a local school where she provides junior high and high school students with an introduction to writing and the publishing industry. She writes weekly for Go Teen Writers, a blog recognized by Writer’s Digest three years running as a “101 Best Websites for Writers” selection. Shannon’s stories often feature strong female leads grappling with fear and faith as they venture into the wilds of the unknown. In many ways, she’s writing her own life story.

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