REVIEW: The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi (ARC)

39863498Title: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Roshani Chokshi continues to impress me with her effortless skill and crafting marvelous stories and endearing characters. A lot of young adult fantasy/heist books have been lauded as the next Six of Crows, and so far I’ve been disappointment by the ones I’ve read. And while I’m hesitant to compare The Gilded Wolves to it – they are each their own completely unique story – I truly believe that fans of Six of Crows are going to be as enamored by The Gilded Wolves as I was. 

“I work alone,” said Zofia.
Enrique rolled his eyes. “Most women kill to be alone with me.”
“I have learned that something does not have to be animate in order to use the word ‘kill,'” said Zofia. “Perhaps these women you are referencing are killing their expectations?”

The world created here can only be described as opulent and magical. Roshani has written such a unique story full of dark magic, thrilling adventures, and a diverse cast of compelling characters. From the mysteries and secrets, to the heists and plot twists, there is a lot of good stuff going on in this book. One of my favorite aspects was the interactions between the characters. There are a lot of different dynamics to love and each was written so beautifully and believably. 

Séverin – French-Algerian leader of the group, wants nothing more than to protect and care for his friends. He thrives off the idea of revenge and high-key pines after Laila.

“Neither of them could afford to lose sight of their prize, and so one night in each other’s arms stayed as one mistake, and the memory of it was shoved into the dark.”

Hypnos – Heir of a French aristocrat and descendant of a slave on his mother’s side. Definitely grows on you as the story evolves. He has some of the funniest lines in the book and honestly, he just wants friends. 

“You’ll like working with me, I promise! I’m fabulous at parties, have excellent taste in menswear etcetera etcetera,” said Hypnos, waving his hand. “And if you don’t agree to this, I’ll break every bone in their bodies, and etch your name onto the splinters.”

Zofia – Socially awkward cinnamon roll with a few OCD tendencies. Really loves sugar cookies and mathematical equations. 

Séverin rolled his eyes. “Zofia, tell him he’s pretty.”
Zofia didn’t look up from her tea. “I am personally undecided, but if we’re assessing based on objectivity then according to the principles of the Golden Ratio, also known as phi, which is approximately 1.618, your facial beauty is mathematically pleasing.”

Enrique – Spanish-Filipino, bisexual. Obsessed with history and sarcasm (like me) and full of fun facts that people get tired of listening to (also like me). 

Tristan – Like a brother to Séverin, a bit of a recluse with a large pet spider and an affinity for botanical properties.

Laila – Indian made-up girl with a tragic backstory and the epitome of a mom friend. She’s fierce and loyal and likes to bake and basically has earned the role of My Favorite Character. Give her all the happiness.

Hypnos laughed. “I adore you already! So imperious! I bet Séverin likes to be bossed around a little, doesn’t he?”

And speaking of character dynamics, I love everything going on with the romances. We have one romance which is essentially mutual pining and angst, and it’s like Roshani has read all of my previous reviews of books and wrote this specifically for me. I’m also totally on board for the love triangle Enrique has going on, and although I’m already trash for one of the possibilities, I’m also a big fan of the other possibility as well. 

“What on earth are you doing?”
“I am imitating patterns of flirtation.”
“Wait. You’re flirting. With…me?

Basically, this book is amazing and should totally be on your TBR if it isn’t already. I highly recommend this for fans of Roshani Chokshi’s other works or those who love Six of CrowsThe Gilded Wolves is a thrilling book full of heists, loyal friends, and magic. The ending crushed my soul and I have no idea what I’m going to do while I wait for the next book in the series. 

REVIEW: The Hating Game – Sally Thorne

25883848Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Rating: ★★★★★

“Here’s a fact. Hating someone is exhausting. Each pulse of blood in my veins takes me closer to death. I waste these ending minutes with someone who genuinely despises me.”

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.”

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m complete trash for a love-to-hate relationship and witty banter. The Hating Game was everything I never knew I needed in my life, and I wish I could go back in time and slap myself every time I saw this book on my TBR but skipped over it to read something else. 

“But you kissed me. Why would you do that?”
“I needed to test a theory I’ve had for a while. And you really, really kissed me back.”

The Hating Game had all my favorite tropes for both a romantic comedy and a romance novel. It also had a few little twists to those tropes that were absolutely amazing and really added to my enjoyment. The highlight of the book were the characters themselves. I didn’t have a lot in common with Lucy (other than her inability to say no to others at work), and in fact we seemed to be opposites in a lot a ways (right down to our heights), but she was such a fantastic protagonist. She’s quirky, sweet, smart, and hard-working. Then there’s Josh. At first, he comes across as an arrogant – albeit very good looking – pain in Lucy’s ass, but as the story continued, we see the layers to Josh peel back and oh boy. World, I have new book boyfriend and his name is Joshua Templeman. The fact that he had insecurities and was self-conscious about himself and his body was so refreshing for a male lead in a romance book. He wasn’t full of himself and had a more reserved personality, and yet still had an air of confidence that was totally sexy. 

“He’s looking at me with fierce tenderness in his eyes. Eyes like he loves me. Now I know I must be dreaming.”

I now understand all the high praises and great reviews I’ve seen about this book, because it deserves all it. I devoured this. The Hating Game is now one of my favorite contemporary romance novels and I can’t wait to read more from Sally Thorne.

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: West – ARC Review

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

Thank you to HMH for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of East. You can find my review of the first book here!


ABOUT THE BOOK

31822495Title: West (East #2)
Author: Edith Pattou
Release: October 23, 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 528

In the sequel to the beloved high fantasy East, Rose sets off on a perilous journey to find her true love when he goes missing in a thrilling tale of danger, magic, adventure, and revenge.

When Rose first met Charles, he was trapped in the form of a white bear. To rescue him, Rose traveled to the land that lay east of the sun and west of the moon to defeat the evil Troll Queen. Now Rose has found her happily-ever-after with Charles—until a sudden storm destroys his ship and he is presumed dead. But Rose doesn’t believe the shipwreck was an act of nature, nor does she believe Charles is truly dead. Something much more sinister is at work. With mysterious and unstoppable forces threatening the lives of the people she loves, Rose must once again set off on a perilous journey. And this time, the fate of the entire world is at stake.

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REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher. 

If East is a whimsical, magical fairytale, then West is it’s darker, more mature sister novel about what happens after the happily every after, and how things don’t always remain that way.

Everything I loved about the first book was also present here: the fairytale-esque aspects, the magic, the bonds between family and friends, the adventure-filled quests, and lovable characters. But the book also has some grimmer aspects, and our beloved characters go through some really tough times – and they don’t always end well. Rose is the same determined, caring young woman that she was in East, but now that she’s a mother, it was great to see her grow even more and the unconditional love she has for her son and Charles. 

West is not as whimsical and light-hearted as East, but there was still so much that I absolutely loved about it. From the characters, to the world, to the folklore elements, there’s something wonderful about this book, and I believe fans of East will not be disappointment with this long-awaited sequel. 

★ ★ ★ ★ ½


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

EdithEdith Pattou is the author of Ghosting, a contemporary novel for young adults, told in free verse. She also wrote three award-winning fantasy novels for young adults – East, a retelling of the Norwegian folk tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” and the two Songs of Eirren, Hero’s Song and Fire Arrow. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling picture book, Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden.

She was born in Evanston, Illinois, grew up in Winnetka, and was a teenager in the city of Chicago where she attended Francis W. Parker School. She completed her B.A. at Scripps College in Claremont, California where she won the Crombie Allen Award for creative writing. She later completed a Masters degree in English Literature at Claremont Graduate School, followed by a Masters of Library and Information Science at UCLA.

She has worked for a medical association, a clothing boutique, a recording studio, the Playboy Foundation, a public television station, a school library, two public libraries, two advertising agencies, and two bookstores.

She has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Durham, NC, Cambridge, England, Stockholm, Sweden, and currently resides with her husband, Charles, in Columbus, Ohio.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Three (3) winners will receive a finished copy of WestUS only.

✨ ENTER HERE ✨


FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week One:
October 15 | Rhythmicbooktrovert 
October 16 | A Backwards Story 
October 17 | Forever Lost in Literature 
October 18 | Mythical Books 
October 19 | Patriotic Bookaholic 

Week Two:
October 22 | Read, Eat, Love.

October 23 | Dani Reviews Things 
October 24 | Adventures and Reading
October 25 | BookHounds YA
October 26 | Jena Brown Writes

Week Three:
October 29 | Ace Reads
October 30 | Novel Novice
October 31 | All the Ups and Downs
November 1 | Rockin’ Book Reviews
November 2 | Paws and Paperbacks

Week Four: 
November 5 | Smada’s Book Smack
November 6 | if the book will be too difficult
November 7 | Vesper Dreams
November 8 | Oh Hey! Books.
November 9 | Two Chicks on Books

REVIEW: East – Edith Pattou

38640729Title: East (East #1)
Author: Edith Pattou
Rating: ★★★★

Thank you to HMH for Young Readers for sending me a finished copy of this book!

“She would search for him. In the land that lay east of the sun and west of the moon.”

East of the Sun and West of the Moon has always been one of my favorite fairytales, and yet I don’t have an answer as to why it has taken me so long to read this book. I’ve always had my eye on it, but I think there was a sense of hesitation to actually read it because I didn’t want my expectations to let me down. I had nothing to worry about: East was a wonderful, magical story. 

The pacing and flow of the story is so well-crafted. Even with all the different POVs present, each character had a distinct voice and every chapter added to the plot. The writing was whimsical and helped maintain the fairytale aspects of the original tale the story draws from. I absolutely adored Rose. I loved her intellect, her perseverance, her kind nature, and her strength. Her interactions with the White Bear were entertaining and endearing, and I appreciated the author’s choice to create a relationship and romance that developed slowly and subtly; the truth of the depth of their feelings hidden both to the reader and the characters themselves.

East was a beautiful, fast-paced, magical story. I’m sad that it took the sequel’s release for me to finally pick this up, but I’m so glad that I did. This will be one of those stories that I’ll always remember and visit again when I want to immerse myself with a retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. 

REVIEW: The Caged Queen – Kristen Ciccarelli

35843937Title: The Caged Queen (Iskari #2)
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Rating: ★★★

After I finished this, all I felt was overwhelmingly conflicted. When I first heard that The Caged Queen was going to be a companion novel told from Roa’s POV, I was initially disappointed that I wouldn’t be following more of Asha and her story. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Roa in The Last Namsara, I found her backstory and relationship with Dax to be intriguing, and so I attempted to go into this book with an open mind. Unfortunately, it still didn’t stand up to my enjoyment of The Last Namsara.

I really love the world that Kristen Ciccarelli has created here, and she’s a talented author whose compelling writing can easily draw you into the story. And even though I appreciated being back in this world and with these characters, I spent a majority of this book extremely frustrated. Probably 99% of the issues and conflicts that happen could have been solved if Dax and Roa had simply talked. The lack of communication between them caused so many unnecessary understandings and after a while I began to get both annoyed at Roa and at the plot. There were so many of my favorite tropes employed here: enemies-to-lovers / childhood friends-to-lovers / arranged marriage but the fact that I found no enjoyment in them because of all the poorly done angst really speaks to my disappointment. 

For the most part I enjoyed all the characters, even Roa began to grow on me at some point. Dax quickly became my favorite character in this series: he’s a sweet cinnamon roll who must be protected at all costs and I, for one, would love nothing more than to reach into this book and pull him out of the pages and into my life. The other really disappointment aspect about The Caged Queen in comparison to the first book was there were NOT ENOUGH DRAGONS. Those wonderful creatures hardly make an appearance, so I really hope there are more in the next book. 

I found The Caged Queen to be an enjoyable enough companion novel, but there was a lot of plot lines that frustrated me to the point that it really affected my liking of the book overall. Too much miscommunications between the characters leading to unnecessary conflicts and not enough dragons!