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.

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2019

It’s a new year, and the same (mostly) me! I have to admit, I really did not expect to have read as many books as I did this month. I starting nursing school this month, and I knew going into this semester that it was going to be hard and that I was going to be b u s y. And while it is tough and I do have a lot of work, I’m really proud of the way I’ve been managing my time, leaving myself a few hours a week to read. I might not be able to blog as often, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to continue the trend the rest of the semester!


35425827ARCHENEMIES: Honestly, not much happened as far as the plot in this book. I really wish this series had remained a duology, because this just felt like a filler between the first and third books. I did enjoy the twists and turns towards the end, especially that cliffhanger! However, the story didn’t really feel like it was moving towards anything. ★★★★


36575823TOUCH OF GOLD:
 This book fell really flat for me. There was hardly any worldbuilding and I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters. Not to mention, there was not just one, but two instances of insta-love. The book was pretty romance-heavy, and since I didn’t particular enjoy either of the love interests, it couldn’t make up for the lacking plot. I almost DNF’d this a few times but forced myself to finish it. I kept thinking about how badly I just wanted this to be over the entire time I was reading.  ★★

40046030ECHO NORTH: The was such a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The book completely blew my expectations out of the water. Joanna Ruth Meyer did such an excellent job in taking the original elements of the fairytales in which the book was inspired by, and adding little twists to create a whimsical story that was both true to its roots, and yet totally unique. The vivid descriptions and writing had me completely enamored by the book. The ending was a little bittersweet, but it was entirely satisfying and wrapped the book up perfectly.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★★★

32949202DARK OF THE WEST: This book has an extremely fascinating premise. The best way to describe it 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. However, while I really enjoy books that have plots that are complex and multidimensional, 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.  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★

38237340THE WICKED KING: I waited an entire year for this book and I was not disappointed in the least. There was so much political machinations going on and I loved every second of this book. And the development between Jude and Cardan had me screaming. By the way, that ending that slayed us all? I have a feeling things are not what they seem. There will be no ARCs of The Queen of Nothing, so we will all have to suffer together.  ★★★★★

26839798UNDYING: This was a really good sequel and conclusion to the story. The thing that I missed the most while reading this was that the setting was no longer on an alien planet in space. I really missed the Indiana Jones vibes from the first book. However, there was a lot of adventuring and action in this book, we were introduced to a some fun new characters, and I loved all the interactions between Mia and Jules.  ★★★½

35715518CROWN OF FEATHERS: This is probably my biggest disappointment of the year thus far. I had been looking forward to this book for so long. The premise of the book and the phoenix riding aspects is really cool and interesting, but for some reason I just wasn’t that into it. The beginning was slower to pick up, but once it gets to the middle the action really starts to get going. Girl Pretending to be Boy is one of my favorite tropes, and that was one part of the book that I actually did really enjoy and though was well-done.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★

34842208STAIN: This book blew me away. It was a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other. The dark, gothic elements and vivid descriptions made this such an atmospheric read. There were so many clever intricacies to the plot and the small details were woven together so carefully and in a way that made this a really well-constructed book. I also loved the theme of a rose gaining thorns in regards to Lyra’s character growth throughout the story.  [review]  ★★★★½

43446574WARRIOR OF THE WILD: This book was so much fun to read. It was 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. Rasmira was such a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed reading through her point of view so very much. In addition to our protagonist, we also are introduced to two side characters, Iric and Soren, and I loved the interactions between those two boys and Rasmira. The book has an important and inspiring message of overcoming adversity and growing into the person you want to be, regardless of what others believe of you.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★★★

39855052THE KINGDOM OF COPPER: 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: this was an impressive second installment full of all the same wonderful things that made The City of Brass one of my favorite books. The story has everything I love in a book: political intrigue, complex characters, and mesmerizing writing. The characters I loved so much in the first book are back, and I continue to adore all three of them, despite any mistakes they might be making (looking at you, Dara). A truly unforgettable story, and impossible to put down.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★★½

34466910ROOMIES: I always fear there is going to come a time when a Christina Lauren book won’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully, that time is not now. This had the whole package when it comes to what I look for in a contemporary romance: relatable heroine, witty writing, great dialogue between characters, steamy scenes, and a love interest I wish I could pull forth from the pages. Fake dating/marriage is a trope that I absolutely love to read and it was executed perfectly! ★★★★★

OTHER

#ARCstravaganza: The Storm Crow | The ABC Book Challenge – A | #ARCstravaganza: House of Salt and Sorrows | Blog Tour: Lady Smoke | Top 5 Wednesday: Hyped 2019 Release I Won’t Be Reading | #ARCstravaganza: The Waking Forest

 

REVIEW: Stain – A. G. Howard

34842208Title: Stain
Author: A. G. Howard
Rating: ★★★★½

“In the end, you will have to prove hard enough to wrap yourself in spikes, yet tender enough to walk amongst stars without crushing their fragile legs. You will need to have hair of steel and tears of stone. Only then will you find your true self again.”

If you’re looking for a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other, look no further from Stain. From page one, I was pull into this fascinating story full of princes and princesses, enchantments, quests, magical creatures, and self-discovery. 

Stain is a completely atmospheric book: from the dark, gothic elements to the vivid descriptions, it’s so easy to become lost in this magical world. A. G. Howard has mentioned this being inspired by The Princess and the Pea, but the story she has written is entirely it’s own unique and wonderful fairytale, with only the barest of allusions to that tale. The intricacies of the plot and all the small details that come together by the end were so clever and well-constructed. 

“She would make her parents proud…reclaim what had been stolen, save the night realm’s prince, and unite the sun with the moon – whatever it took to see it all done.”

I adored both the characters, Lyra/Stain and Prince Vesper. Lyra’s growth throughout the book was inspiring, and I loved the theme of the rose gaining her thorns. And I actually appreciated the fact that the author gave her a touch of vindictiveness at the end towards her enemies, instead of the typical all merciful/totally forgiving heroine in a lot of novels. It made Lyra that much more relatable and realistic. The romance was handled expertly: we have a slow burn between the two, and it was so satisfying to watch it unfold!

Stain enchanted me from the very beginning. The story is so mesmerizing and atmospheric that I felt like I myself was under a spell while reading. For those who enjoy dark, gothic fairytales with a touch of romance and strong characters, please do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR.