Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: ten hidden gems in the fantasy genre. Fantasy has always been by go-to genre. I can’t get enough of it! These are some books that I absolutely loved but haven’t seen too many people talking about. Seriously, you NEED to pick these up!

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you have any other hidden gems to recommendations?

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Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: ten diverse novella recommendations. Part of my goal this year was to read more diverse books. I stumbled upon a few earlier this year as part of a diverse read-a-thon. Also, through various Twitter accounts and blog hopping I’ve found several amazing novellas that you all should really read! I just loved them all ❤

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you have any other diverse novellas recommendations?

Mini Reviews: The Chaos of Longing & The Little Queen

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30369886The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson
Release date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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The Chaos of Longing is a prose and poetry collection draped in raw honesty, ache, and eroticism. The collection explores trauma, love, heartbreak, and the realizations from it all.

The book is divided into four sections. “Inception” briefly examines formative years and its effects on how one loves. “Longing” reflects on love and sexuality. “Chaos” explores toxic relationships, unrequited love, and heartache. After chaos, there is order with self-love and healing poems in “epiphany”.

Some content may be triggering.

Over the past year, poetry has become one of my favourite genres. It has given me words that I can identify with, that I can hold close to my heart and know that I’m not alone. Others feel what I feel, others have gone through similar situations. It’s also showed me different perspectives, points of view that I perhaps wouldn’t have considered. It has opened up a whole new world for me, so I was very excited to read this particular poetry collection as it sounded similar to several other poetry books that I have recently read.

While K.Y. Robinson is undoubtedly a talented writer and her poems are beautiful, I didn’t really feel a connection to the words. It felt like I was a person looking through a window, I could see what was happening inside, but couldn’t do anything to interact with those on the inside. I wasn’t expecting such a sexually themed collection of poetry. I didn’t feel anything about those pieces, but I did enjoy her poems on self-worth, self-love, and self-confidence. The final section of the book was most definitely my favorite and the most enjoyable to read. It reminded me of The Princess Saves Herself in This One and Love, And You, two books I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

So, while I didn’t personally connect with much of the poetry on an emotional level, I am in awe of the author’s honesty. The collection is often brutal and painful, especially the beginning. Robinson has poured out her heart and laid herself bare. This is why you should give this collection a try. I will definitely be picking up her next book because while I wasn’t always emotionally invested in each poem, there was still enough to keep me curious and wanting more.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

35440860The Little Queen by Meia Geddes
Release date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Poetose Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

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When her mother and father pass away, the little queen must figure out how to be a little queen. And so she begins her adventures, journeying away from her palace and into the world to determine how she should go about going on. The little queen soon encounters numerous folks who teach her a thing or two: the book sniffer, the dream writer, and the architect of silence are just a few. Along the way, the little queen finds friendship, love, and meaning in being a leader in her world. The Little Queen is a magical exploration of self-discovery, vocation, community, and home.

I completely adored this precious and beautifully written fairytale! I saw it recommended on various diverse Twitter accounts and thought it sounded like something that I would enjoy reading. And it was, it really was! I honestly wish I had the words to do it justice and truly describe how gorgeous it is. The writing was lyrical and had a magical quality to it that just brought everything to life. Plus, it featured cute illustrations that further added to the fairytale feeling. The mixture of the story and illustrations reminded me of the books I read in my childhood. It definitely made me heart happy!

The story is about a little queen who is unsure if she can properly rule her kingdom. So, she sets off on an adventure to explore her kingdom. Along the way she meets new people, makes friends and falls in love. I loved how the characters she met were women of various walks of life that show and teach her so much. I also really liked how this story featured a f/f love story. It’s so simple and pure…they were just so perfect together!

Another reason why I just can’t stop gushing about this book is its message of acceptance. The book and its characters embrace differences and never judges people for the way that they are. It promotes self-acceptance and choice. This is such a beautiful and important message for people of all walks of life, but especially young adults who will hopefully read this book.

The Mystery Blogger Award

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A big thanks to Laura at The Book Corps for tagging me! Please be sure to check out her lovely blog. Also, thanks to Okotoenigma for creating this fun award.


The Rules: 

  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and link it to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate between 10 to 20 bloggers
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions
  • Share a link to your best/favourite post that you have written

3 Facts About Me:

1. I’ll be teaching a new subject this school year. For the past four years I have been teaching English to 7th and 9th grade students. Now, I’ll be teaching a class called Leadership Skills and Global Issues (LSGI), which is all about global events, Model United Nations, public speaking, research and essay writing. I’m beyond excited! 🙂

2. I’m obsessed with making book and character aesthetic boards on Pinterest. I love doing it and just can’t stop! I spend a ridiculous amount of time on that site.

3. I’m afraid of ice skating after having a pretty horrible accident when I was in grade 3. We used to skate at the local arena in PE class. A bunch of us had our arms linked together and one girl fell pulling me down with her. The back of her blade went straight into my knee and all I remember is being in tons of pain. Now, the closest I’ll get to the ice is sitting in the seats during a hockey game.


Laura’s Questions:

1. If you could time travel to only one period of history, which would it be?
This is such a difficult question! I love history and so many different time periods. Umm…maybe ancient Egypt? There are so many things that I’d love to know like how exactly did they build the pyramids? I could learn so much!

2. What is your favourite TV show/movie? 
Hmmmm….right now I’m obsessed with The X-Files, Law & Order and The Last Kingdom.

3. What is your favourite country/city you’ve traveled to? And if you haven’t traveled, what country/city have you always wanted to visit?
Without a doubt, Scotland has been my favourite country to visit. I lived in Edinburgh while attending university and I just fell in love with it. My heart still aches for it. I really want to go back sometime soon. Work and budgets just keep on getting in the way. 😦

4. What classic novel have you always wanted to read but haven’t/or DNF’d?
I’ve always wanted to read Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. The were quite successful when released in the 1800s, but have now been overshadowed by the books released by her older sisters.

5. Is there a book that you wish you had come up with instead of the original author?
There are so many! I really wish I could write like Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë. Their books were absolutely brilliant, especially since 200 years on people are still reading them!


My Favourite Post:

I used to post Bookish Mixes on the blog and these were by far my favourite posts. They were so much fun to make! They were also really time consuming so I kind of stopped making them. But I do have so more on the way! Yay! 🙂


My Questions:

1. Which book has surprised you the most this year? Why?
2. When going on a trip, which item must you have with you? Why?
3. If you were writing a book, what would it be about?
4. Which diverse book are you most excited to read?
5. If you could change a book cover that you hate, what would you do to improve it?


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Blog Tour: The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (Review)

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I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34738792The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember
Release date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

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Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

Julia Ember has blown me away yet again! Her books are always unique and interesting. The Tiger’s Watch is the second book she’ll release this year but I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Last September I hosted a cover reveal but then had to wait what felt like ages to finally read it. Well, the wait was well worth it because I devoured this book in one night. It was honestly that good!

Here’s why you really NEED to read it:

  • It features magical people called inhabitors. These people have their souls bonded with animals and use this connection to become warriors and spies. The connections are deep and allow both sides to experience situations that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Tashi’s connection with Katala, a rare golden tiger, is was one of my favourite aspects of the novel. Tashi’s bond with Katala pushes them to become better, to stand up for what they believe in and protect those that they love. It’s not a bond of abuse or power, it truly improves the lives of both sides and wasn’t made by force but free will. 
  • Free will and choice are also major themes of this book. Tashi’s life has pretty much been planned out for them. They were given over to the monastery at such a young age that they don’t remember their family. Tashi really didn’t have a choice in becoming an inhibitor. Their story in this book is all about making their own decisions. What is best for them and the people that they love? Tashi faces some difficult choices and while I didn’t always agree with what they did, I appreciated how they followed their heart. 
  • None of the characters are really what they seem. Nothing is black or white but various shades of grey. The story’s villain, Xian, kept my on my toes the whole time! I felt just as confused as Tashi did when he appeared on the page. At times Xian comes across as kind and caring, just trying to do his best under difficult circumstances. Other times he was just cruel and angry. My heart flip-flopped so many times…I just don’t know I feel about him! I character I did absolutely adore was Pharo. Loyal, wonderful, big-hearted Pharo. He’s one of those characters that just wiggle their way into your heart. You just have to love him!
  • The world is so rich and wonderfully written. I’m always amazed by the author’s ability to create fully formed fantasy worlds in under 200 pages. The Tiger’s Watch was inspired by Ember’s trip to Bhutan. Much of the story happens in an isolated monastery. This in a way limits the amount of characters and creates a simple plot. The world isn’t complicated but is a reflection of our own with people fighting over resources.
  • It’s fast paced and relentless. From the first page the reader is thrown into the action. The first chapter has a lot going on in it and I found this a bit disorienting. Too many new names and too much information! It was a bit of a shock but everything calms down by the second chapter. At first I was confused but looking back I can see why the author chose to do this. It matches what’s going on and really helps you understand how the characters must feel.
  • It features a genderfluid protagonist. Now, I can’t speak for the representation, but what I did enjoy was how Tashi’s genderfluidity was not what the book was about. It was who they were and never used as a plot device to create drama or generate interest. There were also scenes where Tashi was misgendered but this was always corrected by other characters.
  • The ending was quite abrupt, which could be a negative thing, but not here! It was a perfect cliffhanger. I could have used more though. That’s always my complaint with books by Ember. They are always so short and I’m a greedy reader. I always want more and more.
  • The cover artwork is beautiful! My heart is so happy whenever I see it. I can’t wait for what this series has in store.

I can’t recommend this book enough! It has so many amazing things happening for it — a diverse cast of characters, drama, battle scenes, romance! YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! And also pick up Ember’s other books because once your done with this one you’ll fall in love with her gorgeous writing, loveable characters and lush worlds.


About the Author

15037326_10157714059105285_2165799410648686596_nOriginally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss was released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win one of two (2) signed paperback copies of The Tiger’s Watch. Good luck! ❤

Blitz: THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee

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THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee
Release date: August 8th, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

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The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…


Book Excerpt:

“GREETINGS,” HE SAID, HIS ACCENT THICK BUT HIS VOICE LOUD and clear. “I have arrived.”

Now, I’d done my best to describe this guy to the police. They pressed me hard for details, as apparently this wasn’t the first group mugging in recent weeks.

But I’d let Officers Davis and Rodriguez down. Nice eyes and a winning smile weren’t much to go by. I was too frazzled to notice anything before, which meant this was my first decent look at the boy without the influence of adrenaline.

So a couple of things.

One: He was short. Like, really short for a guy. I felt bad that my brain went there first, but he wasn’t even as tall as Mrs. Nanda.

Two: He was totally okay, physically. I didn’t see how anyone could be up and about after that beating, but here he was, unbruised and unblemished. I felt relieved and disturbed at the same time to see there wasn’t a scratch on him.

And his mint condition just made Point Three even more obvious.

He was . . . yeesh.

Nothing good could come of our new classmate being that handsome. It was destructive. Twisted. Weaponized. He had the cheekbones and sharp jawline of a pop star, but his thick eyebrows and wild, unkempt hair lent him an air of natural ruggedness that some pampered singer could never achieve in a million years of makeup.

“Argh, my ovaries,” Yunie mumbled. She wasn’t alone, judging by the soft intakes of breath coming from around the room.

“Arrived from where?” said Mrs. Nanda.

Quentin looked at her in amusement. “China?”

“Yes, but where in, though?” said Mrs. Nanda, trying her best to convey that she was sensitive to the regional differences. Fujianese, Taishanese, Beijingren—she’d taught them all.

He just shrugged. “The stones,” he said.

“You mean the mountains, sweetie?” said Rachel Li, batting her eyelashes at him from the front row.

“No! I don’t misspeak.”

The class giggled at his English. But none of it was incorrect, technically speaking.

“Tell us a little about yourself,” Mrs. Nanda said.

Quentin puffed out his chest. The white button-down shirt and black pants of our school’s uniform for boys made most of them look like limo drivers. But on him, the cheap stitching just made it clearer that he was extremely well-muscled underneath.

“I am the greatest of my kind,” he said. “In this world I have no equal. I am known to thousands in faraway lands, and everyone I meet can’t help but declare me king!”

There was a moment of silence and sputtering before guffaws broke out.

“Well . . . um . . . we are all high achievers here at SF Prep,” said

Mrs. Nanda as politely as she could. “I’m sure you’ll fit right in?”

Quentin surveyed the cramped beige classroom with a cool squint. To him, the other twenty-two laughing students were merely peons on whom his important message had been lost.

“Enough wasting of time,” he snapped. “I came to these petty halls only to reclaim what is mine.”

Before anyone could stop him, he hopped onto Rachel’s desk and stepped over her to the next one, like she wasn’t even there.

“Hey! Quentin!” Mrs. Nanda said, frantically waving her hands. “Get down now!”

The new student ignored her, stalking down the column of desks. Toward mine.

Everyone in his way leaned to the side to avoid getting kicked. They were all too flabbergasted to do anything but serve as his counterweights.

He stopped on my desk and crouched down, looking me in the eye. His gaze pinned me to my seat.

I couldn’t turn away. He was so close our noses were almost touching. He smelled like wine and peaches.

“You!” he said.

“What?” I squeaked.

Quentin gave me a grin that was utterly feral. He tilted his head as if to whisper, but spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.

“You belong to me”


About the Author:

F.C.F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home ever since he beat a friend at a board game and shouted “That’s how we do it in NorCal, baby!” Outside of writing, he practices capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts, and has a day job mostly involving spreadsheets.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


Giveaway:

5 winners will receive Genie Lo prize packs—complete with a finished copy of the book and a special Genie Lo horoscope (that doubles as a bookmark!). This is US only! Click the link to enter. Good luck! 🙂


The “How I Choose My Books” Tag

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A big thank you to Destiny at Howling Libraries for tagging me! Please take the time to go check out her lovely blog or follow her on social media ♡


1. Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

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I wasn’t really a big fan of this book. The cover, with its space theme and ship, along with the synopsis had me thinking it was about one thing while it ended up being about something else. I wanted pirates and more time travel. Instead, it was love triangles, confusing plot twists and insta-love. Nope. Nope. Nope.

2. Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

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I randomly received this book in the mail from the publisher. I didn’t think much of it and tossed it aside. Just from the title, cover and the fact that it was for a middle grade audience made me turn my nose up at it. Months later I needed a quick read and decided to pick it up. And boy was I wrong about it! This book was heartbreaking, honest and beautiful.

3. Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. How did you discover this book?

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I discovered this book while browsing on Goodreads. It sounded absolutely magical and I loved the cover. I marked it as “want to read” and thought nothing of it. A few weeks later the author reached out and sent me a copy to review. I had only been blogging for a few months so this was very exciting.

4. Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

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My students kept pushing this book on me. Two years later and I finally picked it up. I’ve only recently started to read contemporary YA and every time I do I love it. I don’t even know why I resist it. This book was so cute!

5. Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube/book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

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This book was all over a bunch of accounts I follow on Twitter. I’ve been wanting to branch out into more adult genres and had never read a book labeled as “erotica” before so I gave it a try. And wow! YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! *fans self* I’ve already downloaded the second book in the series it was so good.

6. Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

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The cover reminds me of Xena! Honestly, that’s really why I decided to pick it up and luckily it was amazing! Magic, lots of action, political intrigue, romance…so many good things! I need to read the sequel ASAP!

7. What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

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OK, so it really wasn’t a TV adaption, but Dan Jones hosted a fantastic historical documentary series about the Plantagenets and when I realized that he wrote a book about this fascinating dynasty I had to read it. The book, like the series, was fast paced, full of detail and totally brought the history to life. I totally recommend it if you are looking for a good non-fiction read!

8. Think of your all-time favorite book(s). When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

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I don’t even remember the first time I read this book. Maybe when I was in high school? I became fascinated with Jane Austen’s novels around that time after taking a classic literature class. I loved them all but Persuasion stuck with me. It’s unlike Austen’s other novels and its subject matter (second chances) really hit home. I’ve perhaps read it a dozen times now.


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