BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Realm of Ruins – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the Realm of Ruins 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

M3SFH_vwTitle: Realm of Ruins (The Nissera Chronicles #2)
Author: Hannah West
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: YA Fantasy

Valory’s power is different…it’s dangerous, unruly, and destructive. But can she channel it to crush a cunning enemy and save the realm from chaos? 

Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies—including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger—Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.

Weaving together her imaginative world of gritty fairytale magic with snippets from Beauty and the Beast and other classic stories, Hannah West’s dark and dangerous adventure is a gripping, immersive companion to her acclaimed debut, Kingdom of Ash and Briars. This richly packaged edition includes an illustrated family tree, detailed map, and embossed jacket with shimmering metallic effects.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Kobo


REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher. 

Realm of Ruins is a companion novel to Kingdom of Ash and Briar, and while there are a few references to the previous book, you can definitely enjoy this without reading it and understand everything that is happening! 

One of the things I liked best about Realm of Ruins, was that the action started right away, quickly pulling you into the book. There is so many elements of fantasy (especially YA fantasy) in this that I really love: magic, fairy-tale retellings, quests, hidden powers. Hannah West does a great job introducing the world and magic system in a way that is understandably, and yet without long passages of info dumps. The Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid aspects of the story were intricately woven into the plot, although I do wish those parts of the story had been expanded upon a bit.

The action and the characters are the main driving force of the story. The book is non-stop action and adventuring from the beginning, so the story was able to hold my attention throughout the novel. I also really enjoyed the characters and their contributions to the story, which also helped keep me engaged and interested. I absolutely loved how the story ended. To me, the last chapter seemed a bit ambiguous – especially in regards to Valory – and I was totally digging it. I almost wish the book had ended there, instead of with the epilogue, because I think it would have been a stronger finish. The epilogue didn’t focus as much as closer for the characters as I would have liked and I really feel like there were a few loose ends that needed wrapping up. I’m not sure if it was the author’s intention or not, but it almost feels like another book is possible in the future? If so, I look forward to it!   

★ ★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

-QDTbixgHannah West is the author of Kingdom of Ash and Briars and its companion, Realm of Ruins. She’s always loved writing about magic and fairytales, but her time studying abroad in Orléans, France inspired her to finally write and publish a fantasy novel. She’s a freelance writer and vegetarian living in Texas with her husband and their rambunctious blue heeler.

 

Follow Hannah:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Win one (1) of five Nissera Chronicles bundles. Bundle includes one copy of Kingdom of Ash and Briar and one finished copy of Realm of Ruins.

 ✨ ENTER HERE ✨


FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week One:
December 4 | The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

December 5 | The Reading Corner For All
December 5 | Wishful Endings
December 5 | Utopia State of Mind

December 6 | Paws and Paperbacks
December 6 | Jrsbookreviews
December 6 | Bri’s Book Nook
December 6 | Mythical Books

December 7 | Rhythmicbooktrovert
December 7 | Moonlight Rendezvous
December 7 | Adventures and Readings

December 8 | Nay’s Pink Bookshelf
December 8 | 808bookdr
December 8 | Library of a Book Witch
December 8 | Confessions of a YA Reader

Week Two:
December 9 | A New Look on Books Blog
December 9 | The Critic Uncritical Bookworm
December 9 | Kait Plus Books

December 10 | My Fangirl Chronicles
December 10 | Fyrekatz Blog
December 10 | Belle’s Book Blog
December 10 | Oh Hey! Books

REVIEW: Fire and Heist – Sarah Beth Durst (ARC)

23510085Title: Fire and Heist
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Rating: ★★★ 

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

I never would have thought to combine Ocean’s Eleven with were-dragons, and yet here this novel stands. Fire and Heist not only has a well-written and super interesting premised, but it was really fun to read!

I’m not sure what I was expecting going into this as far as the setting, but when I read that it was set in an alternative-modern day, I found myself pleasantly surprised. The beginning of the book was a bit confusing, however. The story and the protagonist, Sky, continuously mention the “family business” and heists, but it was never actually explained what exactly the family business was and why they needed to go on heists. You kind of learn and make assumptions as the book goes on, but I think it needed to be expounded upon a little more.

The writing was great! This is my first novel by Sarah Beth Durst and I found her writing to be light, witty, and quirky – which fit this book perfectly. I also really enjoyed the heists and the way they were written: it was easy to follow along with the action and thrilling to read about! Another aspect of the book that I give huge props to the author for was the romance. Fire and Heist is a standalone, and one of the issues with standalones is balancing a love interest with good pacing in a short period of time without it turning into insta-love. The love interest in this book is an ex-boyfriend, and so the feelings were not only already established, but it added a new and unique kind of angst to the story.

Fire and Heist is a standalone that can most accurately be described as Ocean’s Eleven + were-dragons. If you enjoy quick, light-hearted, thrilling stories full of were-dragons, gold, and fun heists, than I suggest checking this out! 

Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2018

The end of the year is approaching fast, and if you’re like me, there are still a whole lot of books left on the TBR from this year that haven’t been read yet! November was a bit of slower month for me, reading-wise, due mostly to the fact that I was on vacation for two weeks. I had anticipated catching up on my TBR while I was gone, but I’m not one to sit around do nothing, so vacations usually aren’t as relaxing as they sound, as I’m always finding things to do! I also went to YALLFest a couple of weeks ago, and I had so much fun!! I met so many great people, made some new friends, and got a ton of books and ARCs, including a couple highly-anticipated upcoming releases that I was desperate for!


36739553FURY: I loved this conclusion to the Menagerie series! For the most part, I thought it wrapped things up well. There were a few things, however, that I wish would have been different for the final book. A lot of questions were left unanswered and I think certain plot points needed to be fleshed out a bit more. Although I didn’t mind the bittersweet ending, it was almost a little too bitter, and since I’m a hopeless romantic, I truly wish there has been more of the romance and felt a little cheated. I’m also still unsure how I feel about the epilogue, and it has bothered me ever since. ★★★★½

25883848THE HATING GAME: If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m complete trash for a love-to-hate relationship and witty banter. This 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. The highlight of the book were the characters themselves; I thoroughly enjoyed reading about both Josh and Lucy and really enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. I now understand all the high praises I’ve seen about this book, because it deserves all it.  [review]  ★★★★★

39863498THE GILDED WOLVES: I figured I would enjoy this because it’s Roshani Chokshi but I didn’t realize just how amazing it would be! 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. The characters are truly the heart of this story and I can’t wait for everyone to meet them!  [review]  ★★★★½

29939390WINDWITCH: My first attempt at reading this when it was released nearly two years ago, I had to stop at about 15% of the way in. The pacing was so tedious and I was disappointed when I learned that some of the beloved characters weren’t going to be reunited during the course of the story. I’m proud of myself that I picked it up again and was able to finish it this time! There was a lot about this book that I didn’t enjoy: the slower pacing, the fact that Safi and Iseult don’t reunite and the absence of their sisterhood, the fact that Safi and Merik don’t reunite or interact, and the lack of action. I also hated that the story kind of hints towards a love triangle, because I am not here for it. The pacing and action does start to pick up towards the end, and the last part of the book begins to resemble everything I had loved about Truthwitch.  ★★★½

9780451477538_RebelOfTheSands_JK.inddREBEL OF THE SANDS: This was my second reading of the book, in anticipation of finally read the entire trilogy. I’m so glad I reread it, because I hardly remembered anything about it and because I enjoyed it so much better the second time around. I loved the world-building done in this book: Miraji is a Middle-Eastern inspired setting with Old-West aspects + magic. There is so much action and fun stuff happening here. We have amazing characters, a slow-burn romance, treks across the desserts, an abundance of princes, and a kick-butt heroine that I adore. This fast-paced book is full of plot twists and plenty of action.  [review]  ★★★★

31574408TRAITOR TO THE THRONE: I’m thankful I was able to read this right after finishing Rebel of the Sands, because otherwise I think my experience would have been a lot different. This book focuses more on Amani and is a lot slower paced than the previous book. Instead of a plot filled with action and adventure, we get introduced to political intrigue and court machinations. Beloved characters from the first book – including Jin and their romance – are sadly missing for a good portion of this book, but there was so much happening that it never bothered me. A few new key characters are introduced and there were two that I absolutely loved getting to know: Rahim and Sam! The action starts to really build towards the last few chapters, and by the end we’re left with a big cliffhanger!  [review]  ★★★★

35406534HERO AT THE FALL: This was such a thrilling and wonderful conclusion to the series! The fast-paced and action-filled plot returned, and now the stakes are raised. I was happy that Jin and Amani were together again in this one, because I love the way their relationship changed and grew over the course of these books. I also loved the relationships Amani had with all of the other characters, but especially her friendships with with Shazad, Amed and Sam. More of the book’s mythology was included, and I really enjoyed reading those bits of stories and their creativity. As much as I loved everything that went on, we also said goodbye to some characters, including one of my favorites. And while I liked the ending/epilogue, I do wish that a couple of the characters were given more a more satisfying conclusion to their stories.  [review]  ★★★★

30518319A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION: This wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I really loved the setting! Veronica and Stoker find themselves in a remote island off the coast of Cornwall, in a possibly haunted castle, as the guests of Lord Malcolm. The entire plot/setting is very reminiscent of a murder mystery dinner and it was so very fun to read. The pace of this book was a bit slower than the others, and it took a while for it to really pick up. However as with all the other, it was full of thrilling adventures, witty conversations, sexual tension, and of course – murder and mayhem. And after years of waiting, we finally get a nudge in the right direction towards romance between Veronica and Stoker – and it was totally worth the wait!  [review]  ★★★★

32796839KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIARS: I thought I would love this a lot more than what I actually did. I really liked the story, the writing, and the world-building. The fairytale retelling aspects were enjoyable and I thought they were creative and intriguing. However, even thought the story is told through first-person POV, I had trouble connecting with Bristal and felt disconnected from the story. And while I really liked the romance, there was an aspect of it that just felt kind of strange. ★★★½

26061583THE DARK DAYS DECEIT: This was the conclusion to the Lady Helen series – a series that I absolutely love – and yet I was so disappointed while reading this. I’m going to attribute my lack of enthusiasm towards this book to my high expectations and longer than usually wait. The release date was pushed back nearly a year, so I had forgotten a lot of things that had happened in the previous book. The book felt like parts of it were drawn out too long, while other parts were rushed and didn’t make any sense. The three books build up towards a romance between Helen and Lord Carlston, and yet what we’re given at the end was such a letdown. The conclusion of both the plot and the romance were honestly really anti-climatic and I finished this book feeling saddened and unsatisfied. ★★★½

35298956THE OTHER MISS BRIDGERTON: I haven’t enjoyed a Julia Quinn book this much since I first read The Viscount Who Loved Me. I had such a fun time reading this! There was so much that I loved about it, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the hate-to-love romance is what did me in. I have been disappointed that I haven’t really liked any of Quinn’s books other than The Viscount Who Loved Me, so I’m glad to find another favorite! ★★★★

OTHER

WWW Wednesday #16 | Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart | Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books | #ARCstravaganza: Crown of Feathers | Blog Tour + Giveaway: West |

 

MINI BOOK REVIEWS: Rebel of the Sands Series – Alwyn Hamilton

Thank you to everyone who voted in my polls, either in my October Wrap-Up post or on Twitter, and helped me pick which long-overdue trilogy I should read while I was on vacation. The winner ended up being the Rebel of the Sands series by Alwyn Hamilton! Since I read all three books back-to-back, I decided to do something a little different and review all three at the same time with mini reviews. 


9780451477538_RebelOfTheSands_JK.inddTitle: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Rating: ★★★★

I actually read Rebel of the Sands back when it was first released, but just never kept up with the rest of the series. It was almost like I was reading the book again for the first tine, because I hardly remembered anything that happened. I’m also glad I reread it because I ended up enjoying it tremendously more than I did the first time around.

We meet our main character, Amani, a gifted gunslinger in a small town in the Last Country. I loved the world-building done in this book: Miraji is a Middle-Eastern inspired setting with Old-West aspects + magic. And if you’re wondering if it’s as awesome as it sounds, the short answer is yesThere is so much action and fun stuff happening here. We have amazing characters, a slow-burn romance, treks across the desserts, an abundance of princes, and a kick-butt heroine that I adore. This fast-paced book is full of plot twists and plenty of action. I flew through it in one day and then immediately picked up the sequel.

 

Title: Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)31574408
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Rating: ★★★★

Traitor to the Throne picks up after a bit of a time jump, but it’s very easy to fall back into the story and figure out what is going on. I’m thankful I was able to read this right after finishing Rebel of the Sands, because otherwise I think my experience would have been a lot different. This book focuses more on Amani and is a lot slower paced than the previous book. Instead of a plot filled with action and adventure, we get introduced to political intrigue and court machinations. Beloved characters from the first book – including Jin and their romance – are sadly missing for a good portion of this book, but there was so much happening that it never bothered me. A few new key characters are introduced and there were two that I absolutely loved getting to know: Rahim and Sam! As with Rebel of the Sands, there was plenty of magic and plot twists to keep things interesting. The action starts to really build towards the last few chapters, and by the end we’re left with a big cliffhanger! 

 

35406534Title: Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands #3)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Rating: ★★★★

This was such a thrilling and wonderful conclusion to the series! In Hero at the Fall the fast-paced and action-filled plot returned, and now the stakes are raised. I was happy that Jin and Amani were together again in this one, because I love the way their relationship changed and grew over the course of these books. I also loved the relationships Amani had with all of the other characters, but especially her friendships with with Shazad, Amed and Sam. More of the book’s mythology was included, and I really enjoyed reading those bits of stories and their creativity. As much as I loved everything that went on, we also said goodbye to some characters, including one of my favorites. And while I liked the ending/epilogue, I do wish that a couple of the characters were given more a more satisfying conclusion to their stories. Hero at the Fall was the perfect wrap-up to the series and I had such a fun time reading these books! 


Have you read this series? Did you like it? This is the first time I’ve done a mini series review so let me know what you think! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a Thanksgiving freebie, and I was inspired by Melanie’s post to showcase some of my favorite fanarts! I’m so thankful for all the talented artists who bring my favorite characters/book scenes to life: you all are so amazing, seriously. 

I was really excited to get into my old Deviantart account to find all my favorite pieces, but when I finally figured out how to login, almost all of them were missing my favorites folders 😩 Since I could only find the artwork from recent months, I tried really hard not to turn this post into Jude/Carden Fanart Appreciation post 😂 These artists are all so talented and I highly suggest checking out their work! (p.s. if you haven’t read Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo yet, spoilers ahead!)


wolvesofspring  →  “The Taste of Dreams”

This is one of the most beautiful pieces of fanart I’ve ever seen, and I’m really thankful it’s of one of my favorite characters, Sansa Stark. Look at this masterpiece. Look at it. 

tumblr_pf7lk6paDD1ws1dteo1_1280


nymre  →  “Painted Blue”

Okay, honestly most of the fanart I had saved on Deviantart were Zutara pieces because it’s 2018 and I’m still not over them and I never will be.

patreon_illust_february2_by_nymre-d8ksn1b


Gabriella Bujdosó  →  “Maya and Amar”

I’m obsessed with this art and if anyone will be getting the December Faecrate, please keep me in mind! (there’s also an amazing Grishaverse fanart by this artist as well and I had trouble choosing between the two!)

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.16.16 PM


Melanie Bourgeois  →  “Jude and Cardan”

This is one of my favorite fanarts of The Cruel Prince, and every time I see it I get a little giddy. 

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MORGANA0ANAGROM  →  “Darkling and Alina”

Leigh Bardugo called this “one of my favorite pieces of Grishaverse art ever” and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.

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Newsha-Ghasemi  →  “With Fire and Blood”

Here we are again with another GLORIOUS piece of Zutara fanart. The details of this are stunning. I want a poster of this hanging on the wall in my room. Untitled


Monica Borg  →  “Jude Duarte”

This amazing fanart captures the essence of Jude and The Cruel Prince quite nicely and I’m loving it. 

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taratjah  →  “Chaol Westfall”

Oh, Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Gaurd and of my heart. This artist does so many amazing pieces of Chaol it was hard to pick my favorite one. Also, she does a m a z i n g  work for FairyLoot. I hoard all her fanart pieces that come in the boxes. I could spend all day looking at her instagram. 

tumblr_oz3xewftj31r80kcoo2_r1_1280


Anne-Marie  →  “Death and Night”

Another beautiful fanart from Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen series. I would absolutely love a print of this to frame on my wall. 

DdxWOfXVAAAmWF-


Nicole Deal  →  “Through the Dark”

Another artist with such incredible work it’s hard to choose my favorite, but this Malina piece is just *Italian chef kiss*

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.31.31 PM


 

Honorable Mention: Loweana  →  “Cardan”

Bet you thought you saw the last of The Cruel Prince fanart. I had to include an honorable mention spot because how could I not include this?

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I hope you enjoyed the list! There were soo many more I wanted to add but I had to restrain myself. I love looking at fanart so if you have any favorite pieces or artists, let me know in the comments!