Reading Challenge Updates: Part II

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NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge: This challenge is hosted by Bookish Things and More and is designed to motivate bloggers to read and review the tons of books they have on their NetGalley and Edelweiss queues.

Books Read So Far:
• Cold Summer by Gwen Cole (from Edelweiss, miracles do happen!)
• A Stolen Crown by Kelsey Keating (from Netgalley) (review)
• Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (from Netgalley) (review)
• Traveler by L.E. DeLano (from Netgalley) (review)
• Home by Nnedi Okorafor (from Netgalley) (review)
• Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (from Netgalley)
• Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta (from Netgalley) (review)
• The Witch Who Came In From The Cold: Season One by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Ian Tregillis, Cassandra Rose Clarke and Michael Swanwick (from Netgalley) (review)
• Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson (from Netgalley) (review)
• Geekerella by Ashley Poston (from Netgalley)
• The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (from Netgalley) (review)


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Beat the Backlist: This challenge is hosted by Novel Knight and is all about reading the books that have been on your TBR for ages. There are also Harry Potter themed challenges!

Books Read So Far:
• Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
• The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
• Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (review)
• I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (review)
• El Deafo by by Cece Bell (review)
• Cut by Patricia McCormick (review)
• The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
• The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho (review)
• Assassin’s Creed: Heresy by Christie Golden (review)


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Flights of Fantasy: This reading challenge is hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly. My goal is to read 40+ fantasy books throughout the year.

Books Read So Far:
• The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
• The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
• The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho (review)
• Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (review)
• The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (review)
• A Stolen Crown by Kelsey Keating (from Netgalley) (review)


diverse-challenge-2017Diverse Reads Challenge: This challenge hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat. and Chasing Faerytales is about reading and promoting diverse books.

Books Read So Far:
• Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
• The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
• Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (review)
• I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (review)
• The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho (review)
• El Deafo by by Cece Bell (review)
• The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
• Home by Nnedi Okorafor (review)
• Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
• I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

29283884This week I’m looking forward to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. I’ve read a chapter preview and OMG!! I can’t wait. I really, really need a full length copy of this book. Everything about it screams amazing: 18th-century Europe,  pirates, highwaymen, queer characters, romance. The book is scheduled to be released on June 27th by Katherine Tegen Books.

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Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Mini Review | Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson & Andrea Offermann

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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.
 
31159613Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson & Andrea Offermann
Release date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette.

I really like graphic novels. There’s something about the blend of words and illustrations that when done right really hit home the emotion, the pain…whatever emotion or trial the character is going through. I also really enjoy Arthurian legends so I jumped at the chance to read Yvain: The Knight of the Lion, M.T. Anderson’s first graphic novel. While I’ve liked his other books, this one actually disappointed me for many reasons.

  • The panels of the graphic novel were set up like a Medieval tapestry which I thought was pretty cool because it fit the whole theme of the book. However, the drawings were flat and lifeless. They could have been a lot more dynamic than just a man sitting and staring at his drink or a side profile of a man riding his horse. The brown/yellowish colours also didn’t do the illustrations any favours.
  • There were tons of typos in my version. This will more than likely be fixed before the final version is released but it was hard to ignore them while reading.
  • For me, a good graphic novel pulls you in. Even with a lack of space or words, I learn to care deeply about the characters and their journey. Here I didn’t feel anything, well I did, but that feeling can best be described as boredom. Sir Yvain could have been eaten by his own lion I wouldn’t have even blinked an eye. Character connection is extremely important to me and I was saddened not to have it here.
  • A part of what hurt my connection with the characters was how fast the plot progressed. It’s a graphic novel, so yes I know that’s normal, but it was two pages in and Sir Yvain had already met his one true love. Really?! No build up whatsoever.
  • I also took issue with how women were portrayed. None were really anything more than tools to move the story along. All of the women were either bossy or needy. Sir Yvain was always saving women, dealing with women who were written as irrational or having to move around their evil plots. All the bad things that happened to him were because of women.

So, overall this book didn’t really add anything new to the hundreds of other interpretations of Arthurian legends. And coming from an author such as M.T. Anderson I was expecting a lot more. I did enjoy reading the author’s notes at the end. They explained the original source material and the author’s motivation for writing the novel. But other than that, this wasn’t for me. If you have read it though I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, I’d love any recommendations for graphic novels based on Arthurian legends. 🙂

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I wasn’t actually tagged to do this one but I saw it on The Jouska‘s blog and decided to do it as well. Go check out her blog if you haven’t yet. It’s totally wonderful. ❤


Questions:

1. What’s your best quality?
I learn things very quickly. Once I’ve read about it or seen it once everything sticks. This has been very helpful when it comes to learning dates and statistics in history and computer programs for work. It also means that I can help others, which I love doing.

2.What’s your worst quality?
I’m terribly shy, especially in situations when I have to meet with new people. My shyness is often interpreted as being cold or uninterested, which is very far from the truth. So, people end up thinking that’s how I am as a person and I hate it. I can’t help it. I just need time to become comfortable. I’m really a nice and loving person. Ugh!

3. What’s the best excuse that you’ve ever made to get out of a meeting/event/party?
Oh, I’m totally the queen of lame excuses. Seriously, I shouldn’t even try. 😛

4. Would you rather have the ability to become invisible or have an invincible strength?
Invisibility would be a very cool ability to have! I could easily avoid things that I don’t want to do or become a really good spy. The options are limitless!

5. Are you fond of pets?
Yes, I’ve always had pets growing up. I had a budgie, tons of fish and a golden retriever. Right now, my husband and I have a beagle named Toto.


My Questions:

1. Favourite fantasy sport or game from a book or movie?
2. Name 3 items that you always need to have with you when you leave your house.
3. What item do you constantly misplace?
4. Silver or gold jewellery?
5. Aisle or window seat while on an airplane?


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Blog Tour | Traveler by L.E. DeLano

travelertourbannerI 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.

27242803Traveler by L.E. DeLano
Release date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

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Traveler is about a Jessa St.Clair, a teenager with a vivid imagination who has a natural talent for writing. She’s constantly scribbling down story ideas based on her dreams. One day her rather ordinary life is turned completely upside down when one of her characters, a boy from her dreams, approaches her in real life. He tells Jessa that she’s a traveler, a person who can travel between dimensions and worlds. The catch? She’s in grave danger. Someone is trying to murder her in every dimension and they both need to work together to find out why.

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  • The pacing was was very slow at the beginning. I didn’t initially connect with the story or the characters at all. To be completely honest, I would have given up if I didn’t have to write a review for this blog tour. I’m very glad that I didn’t because about a quarter of the way into the story things start to pick up and it’s pretty fast paced from there on.
  • I really enjoyed the characters. Jessa was the type of character that I could see myself being friends with in real life. She’s tough, caring and made tons of comic book references that made my little nerd heart happy. Jessa’s older brother Danny has autism but it doesn’t define who he is. There were tons of hints that he was the only character to actual know Jessa was traveling between dimensions, he just couldn’t properly articulate it. I think he’s going to play a much larger role in the sequel. How? I’m not really sure but there’s something definitely there. And I can’t talk about the character without mentioning Finn. Oh, Finn *sigh* I loved him to pieces.
  • The book doesn’t give anything away and I really enjoyed that about it. I had no inkling about who was targeting Jessa until the last few chapters. It kept me guessing and that’s what really kept me going through the slow parts of the story. I hate it when books reveal everything to the reader too soon.
  • The ending was so, so good! It was shocking but in a good way. I’m now completely hooked and want the sequel in my hands right away. My mind was racing trying to figure where the author will take the characters next but every scenario I come up with leaves me with just too many questions.
  • I loved how the author included a recipe for glitter mousse at the end of the story. What is glitter mousse you ask? You just need to read the book to find out. 🙂

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  • It’s advertised as being about steampunk pirates and yeah, a charming pirate appears but not nearly enough. I kind of feel ripped off in a way. Like I signed up for something and only got half of what I was promised.
  • There is a love triangle and I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES so yeah…NO!
  • There was one scene in particular that rubbed me the wrong way. In it Jessa judges another girl based on her tight clothes and heavy makeup. I hate it when books have their female characters judge each other. It’s hurtful and damaging. It’s basically saying if you dress like this then you are this type of person. NO! This scene also stood out because it didn’t fit Jessa’s characterization.

So, while Traveler wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it to be, I did quite like it by the end. I think it’s one of the book series where each book is better than the last. The author has setup a solid foundation and left me wanting more. The sequel, Dreamer, is scheduled to be released next year.


about

headshotL.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary, author of the upcoming Traveler (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer.

Probably best known under her alternate moniker, Ellie DeLano, she has blogged for both Woman’s Day and Mom’s Magazine, and runs her own blog on parenting and autism at SingleMomtism.com.

She lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Blog Tour: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Guest Post)

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31696213Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Release date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook, paperback

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Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.


Guest Post: Most Memorable Convention Moment

The line started deep inside a building the size of an aircraft carrier, snaked outside and down to the entry gates to the park where the convention was being held. I stood in the middle of it with my brothers in the hot Australian sun for hours, refusing to take my jacket off because I had waited months to show off my perfect Marty McFly, Back to the Future II cosplay. By the time we leveled up and made it inside the building, I was exhausted. But still I stood, waiting patiently for my moment – a moment I had dreamed of since I was a kid. We chatted excitedly with other fans in line, complimenting each other’s cosplay and asking where a lucky few got their hoverboards from. The closer I got to the booth, the more nervous I became. What do I say when I meet him? Do I shake his hand? How should I pose? People ahead of us disappeared behind the wall and emerged on the other side thirty seconds later, smiling like they had just witnessed greatness. Because they had. And then it was our turn. It all happened so quickly, like a blur or a dream. I adjusted my jacket and cap, making sure my cosplay was on point. I walked into the booth, and there he was. Christopher Lloyd, or as I had known him growing up; Doc Brown, wide-eyed scientist and inventor of time travel. I saw him and my mind went blank. Somehow, I reached a hand out and said, “It’s so nice to meet you.” He smiled, shook my hand, and said, “Well, it’s nice to meet you too.” I took my place next to him while he greeted my brother, and then suddenly we were smiling for the camera. And just like that, it was over. It was only a few seconds, but for a Back to the Future fangirl like me, it was something I’ll remember forever.


 The Author

Jen_Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away places and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.

Jen lives in a sunny beachside town in Australia with her husband and their cheeky pug, aptly named Heisenberg.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Click here to enter the Canada/US only giveaway to win:

  • A print copy of Queens of Geek

Review | Ruined by Amy Tintera

26074185Ruined by Amy Tintera
Release date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon

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Goodreads | Amazon

A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

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I avoided reading this book for the better part of a year because I heard a lot of mixed things about it. So, I put it off and boy was I wrong to do so! I was so totally missing out! This book was AWESOME! Like I hugged my Kindle when finished reading it awesome. Yeah, I looked like a crazy person and was doing it at an airport but who cares? This book made me unbelievably happy. It had everything I love: slow burning romance, epic fight scenes, kickass women warriors, magic…SO MANY GREAT THINGS! It’s definitely a book that you NEED to read…like now, right NOW! 

To be honest, the description for Ruined doesn’t really distinguish it from other YA fantasy book. Nor does its lacklustre cover artwork which is kind of a mixture of Xena meets generic photo editing background. But don’t let that turn you away! This book was fast paced and its story beyond what the synopsis states.

The story takes places in a world where magical people called the Ruined are being hunted down and killed. They have been forced out of their kingdom and are now launching a resistance against their conquerers. Em, the rightful heir to the throne of Ruina (the kingdom of the Ruined) plans to destroy her enemies from within by assuming the identity of another and marrying the crown prince of Lera. My favourite part of this world was the fact that women and men are pretty much equal. Women are warriors and highly trained in the art of sword fighting. Em was totally about kicking butt but she also got to wear pretty dresses and go to balls. It’s like the best of both worlds! You could be feminine but also strong and deadly.

One of the best parts of the book was the romance. I’m such a sucker for the slower burning romances where the characters hate each other at the beginning, but slowly start develop feelings for one another. UGH! Em and Cas were just so darn adorable together. It makes my heart burst! She’s all full of vengeance and proving that she’s worth something and he’s all shy and wanting to do better. It’s like hot and cold, night and day. They are a perfect balance for each other. When stuff really starts to get real my heart just scattered. These two go through so much drama and it hurt. I’ve become so invested in them that I just NEED to read the sequel.

I really enjoyed the ending. Yes, there’s going to be another book and there was a slight cliffhanger, but when I finished I still felt completely satisfied. This series isn’t about shock and awe. I can’t wait for the sequel because the world, the characters…EVERYTHING was just so good. I want to say more but spoilers are totally bad and I don’t want to ruin anything. SO JUST READ IT!

So, if you are looking for an incredibly fun, entertaining and fast paced fantasy story, this is the book for you! I’m seriously kicking myself for waiting so long to pick it up. What was I thinking?!?!


about

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Amy Tintera is the NYT Bestselling author of the REBOOT duology and the RUINED trilogy, both of which feature lots of action and kissing. Her books are published by HarperCollins in the US and have been translated into 15+ languages around the world. Her next book, AVENGED (Ruined #2), will be published on May 2, 2017.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads