Lobizona by Romina Garber – Blog Tour and Review

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Hey guys! I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Romina Garber’s novel, Lobizona! I just want to say a quick thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to be a part of this tour. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

SUMMARY:

Lobizona_Front coverSome people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past—a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

My Review:

If there is a book that needs to be on everyone’s tbr this year, it’s Lobizona by Romina Garber.
Our main character is Manu, an undocumented Argentinian teenager  living in Miami with a secret even she does not understand. Her family has fled from Argentia for reasons unbeknownst to her, and her mother forces her to be invisible. She does not go to school, she does not have friends, and every time she goes outside she must wear sunglasses with mirrored lenses to hide the golden glow of her eyes. However, once her mother’s workplace is raided by ICE she is forced to go on the run where she discovers a magical school hidden in the everglades called El Laberinto–a school for Brujas and Lobizons, a world where she thinks she finally might belong.Despite her hope of finding a home that will accept her, Manu is once again labeled as illegal for being a hybrid.
Garber did a truly fantastic with the writing of the novel. The pacing is exquisite, and the stake are set from the very first page. The world she weaves is lush and vivid and full of adventure. I don’t know if I would truly define this book as YA Fantasy because to me it truly felt like a contemporary filled with magical realism at times. Garber does her best to stuff her story with as much representation as possible from the undocumented experience in America, to LGBTQ+ representation in general, and although I love where her heart is at I feel like she did not give each topic all the love it deserved.
There is just so much I want to say about this book, but I also wish for people to go out and read it themselves so they can experiences Garber’s fantastical world as well. The one thing that truly irked me about this novel, as it does in most novels, was the romance. Manu and Tiago’s relationship just rubbed me the wrong way as most of their ‘tension’ could have be handled with a simple conversation. That being said, this one minor issue is overruled by the abundance of good that is done in this book.
Overall, I give Lobizona by Romina Garber four and a half out of five star for being a book that I see becoming very important to a lot of people. The world is magical, the characters are relatable, and the story is one that needs to be told. I truly recommend Lobizona to anyone and everyone looking for a book that stands apart from a majority of the YA out there on the market.
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About the Author:

Romina Garber_Credit Drew Bordeaux

ROMINA GARBER (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her books include Lobizona. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

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The Shadows Between Us – Book Review

The Shadows Between Us

By Tricia Levenseller

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Details:

Title: The Shadows Between Us

 

Author: Tricia Levenseller

 

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

 

Pub. Date: February 25th, 2020

Synopsis:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

 

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My Review: 

I knew from the moment I read the synopsis that I was going to enjoy this book, but I didn’t know that I was going to love this book.  From the first line to the final moments I. Was. Hooked. Levenseller is an author I’ve read before, and while I have liked her previous works, The Shadows Between Us might have solidified her as an auto buy author for me.

 Alessandra is cunning, ruthless, sexually liberated, and a girl who doesn’t take no for an answer. The Shadow King, Kallias, is secretive, powerful, and just as ambitious as Alessandra in his own ways. The dynamic between these two was electric! I’m someone who is a complete sucker for an enemies to lovers trope and this is one of the most well written examples of that trope I can think of. They are both using each other for their own gain, but come together despite their initial reservations. Aside from the main characters there’s a large cast of side characters who actually have their own arcs and purposes. I personally loved to see the arcs of Alessandra’s female companions and how they go from trying to copy her to gain the King’s fortune to becoming their own people and discovering love for themselves.

While I was pretty easily able to guess who the villains were I found the plot enjoyable, and Levenseller was actually able to pull off a pretty interesting plot twist. The pacing to me did feel a bit off at times with some plot points being glossed over and others taking almost too much time, but those are just minor complaints. I really enjoyed reading this book–I actually managed to finish it in about three hours–and while I’m dying to get more of these characters, I am so glad this is a stand alone. I’m so used to massive fantasy series that this book seems like a breath of fresh air in an over saturated market.

I really enjoyed this novel! It didn’t take a lot of brain power, I was able to finish it quickly, and it entertained me from start to finish. I give The Shadows Between Us five out of five stars for being one of the best stand alone fantasy novels I’ve read in recent years, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA/NA fantasy.

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Gotham High – Book Review

Gotham High

By Melissa de la Cruz

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Details:

Title: Gotham High

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Illustrator: Thomas Pitilli

Publisher: DC Inc

Pub. Date: April 7th, 2020

 

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East End comes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took–even destroy the ones they love–to satisfy their own motives.

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect.

With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of Gotham High to review!

 

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My Review: 

A well known fact about me in my family and friend group is that I adore anything involving superheroes. I’ve gone to the theatre to see every new marvel movie, I’m subscribed to DC Universe so I can watch Young Justice and read the Nightwing comics, and I will read any superhero/supervillain YA novel that comes out. Given this obsession, I was so excited when I received an ARC of Gotham High on Netgalley and started reading it right away.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first–I absolutely adored this art style! The illustrator did such a fantastic job at capturing the mood of the novel and particular scene with his color choices, and I love how almost sketchy vibe of the character designs. It was the most enjoyable part of the novel for me since I don’t often get the chance to read graphic novels.

It’s normally very hard to capture a character that people are already acquainted with, in this case Batman, Catwoman, and Joker, but I found the younger versions of these three to be intriguing. De la Cruz definitely took some artistic liberties with some characters, most notably making Bruce Wayne half chinese, and I found that some of these changes worked and some of them didn’t. The diversity of this story, while refreshing, came off as somewhat forced. I also really didn’t like how the female characters were constantly depicted as manipulative–it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Lastly, let’s discuss the plot, which I found to be just the right amount of cliche. I got major Riverdale vibes due to how dramatic everything was, but that made the story fun. I, along with an alarming number of people, are huge suckers for these trashy teenage tv shows and novels because, despite being totally unrealistic, they are addicting and engaging and something you’re able to enjoy without using too much brain power.

In conclusion, I give Gotham High three and a half out of five stars for being a fun, cliche novel that has some issues with representation. I recommend this novel to any younger DC fan who’s looking for a fun take on the adolescence of some of their favorite characters.

 

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Tigers, Not Daughters – Book Review

Tigers, Not Daughters

By Samantha Mabry

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Details:

Title: Tigers, Not Daughters

 

Author: Samantha Mabry

 

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

 

Pub. Date: March 24th, 2020

Synopsis:

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.

In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of Tigers, Not Daughters to review!

 

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My Review: 

When I got an email asking if I could review a novel with Little Women, The Virgin Suicides, and King Lear influences–I was hooked. Those are all works I’ve read and enjoyed,  so  I instantly  accepted.  This book was…interesting. Being a little under 300 pages I expected to be able to finish Tiger, Not Daughter in a matter of hours, but I found it took me a little longer than expected due to the way it was crafted and the rather heavy subject material it deals with. I also think that the constant switching of perspectives made it a little difficult to follow the story as just when I was really getting invested/interested in one pov it would switch and I’d have to get invested in a whole other character. It felt a little cut up in the beginning, but after a while I found myself used to it.

The characters and the writing itself were the strongest elements of this novel. The writing has an almost poetic quality to it, and I found myself getting lost in the words. Mabry was able to take the rather depressing topic of grief with the Torres sisters processing the loss of the eldest sister, Ana, and write about it in a way that that comes off as beautiful and sad rather than just sad. We get to see how each member of the family is coping with this loss in way that feels real and unforced. Rosa, Idrian, and Jess are brought to life within the pages, and through their memories Ana is bright to life for the reader.

One aspect of this novel that I didn’t really love was the supernatural/magical realism. I felt that it look away from the reality/relatability of the story, but it didn’t ruin the story entirely for me. Overall, I give Tigers, Not Daughters four stars for being a beautiful, impactful tale that I recommend to anyone looking for a quick, emotional read.

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Wicked Saints – Blog Tour

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Hey guys! I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Emily A. Duncan’s debut novel, Wicked Saints! I just want to say a quick thank you to Wednesday Books for inviting me to be a part of this tour because this book was absolutely incredible.

SUMMARY:

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A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

My Review:

I’m not gonna, the first thing that came to my mind when I read the synopsis of this book was: AHHH! IT SOUNDS LIKE SIX OF CROWS!! Which, if you don’t know, is one of my all time favorites, but this book turned out to be much, much darker, which is not a bad thing. The world Duncan creates is both beautiful and brutal, with the lands being ravished by a seemingly endless holy war. Our main characters are Nadya, a cleric who can speak to all of the gods, Malachiasz, a blood mage who leads a group of rebels, and Serefin, a blood mage prince who is hunting Nadya, who I actually all really enjoyed (an impressive feat considering I always seem to find something to hate on hahaha). I will say I think Serefin is my favorite considering he is both a bisexual icon and one of my new favorite villains.
The book starts off by throwing the reader into the middle of an invasion which really sets the tone for the rest of the book. The pace is quick and the pages are full of action which makes this a hard book to put down. I will say that as someone who hates blood and needles and all things of that manner I was a little put off by the blood magic in the beginning, but I think it’s something really cool that a lot of other authors haven’t really explored. I also really enjoyed the Russian and Slavic influences on the story/world, and though Duncan did a great job in incorporating it naturally into the story. I also think she did a great job at setting up the religions of this world, something that actually reminded me of Bardugo’s other series the Grisha Trilogy, because that is extremely difficult to do! Despite all of my  comparisons to Bardugo’s books I truly believe this book stands on its own, and that Emily A. Duncan is going to be the next YA dark fantasy queen. I really want to talk about everything I loved in incredible detail, but, as this book doesn’t come out till April 4th, I shall restrain myself till then.
Overall, Wicked Saints is an amazing book filled to the brim with beautiful writing, brutal action, and an incredible story. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who loves fantasy–especially dark fantasy–and I need to get my hands on the next book asap!! I’m giving Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 5/5 stars for being my, and probably everyone else’s, newest obsession.
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About the Author:

41ad2-emily2ba.2bduncanEMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science

from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through

interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video

games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

 

Social Links

Website: https://eaduncan.com/

Instagram: @glitzandshadows

Twitter: @glitzandshadows

Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

 

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan releases on April 2nd, 2019.

 If you would like to pre-order a copy of Wicked Saints:

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We Rule the Night – ARC Review

We Rule the Night

By Claire Eliza Bartlett

Details:


Title: We Rule the Night


Author: Claire Eliza Bartlett


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: April 2nd, 2019

 

Thank you so much to NOVL for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis:

Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.

My Review 

I was so, so excited when I received this in the mail not only because of its definite bookstagram potential (just look at that cover!!!), but because of its completely epic synopsis. As a WWII inspired, feminist fantasy novel I had high hopes going into this We Rule the Night, and Bartlett certainly did not disappoint me.

This world is absolutely fascinating and very well fleshed out! It’s completely original and different to many of the fantasy worlds I’ve been reading about lately that have all blended together into a sort of fantasy mush. The war-torn feel comes across clearly, and leaves the world feeling very reminiscent of WWII. The magic system is so intriguing and completely intertwined to the world itself. With Living Metal, the Weave, and the Spark, I can confidently say that this magic system is unlike any other I’ve encountered in my many, many years of reading, which is a truly astonishing feat. The closest thing I can think of is Leo from The Heroes of Olympus, but that doesn’t even compare to how detailed and imaginative the magic system is within these pages.

I literally felt as if I could not put this book down, and somehow managed to finish it within a few hours of picking it up. The action is great, the world it great, and the characters might be the best part of it all. Our main characters, Revna and Linne, are incredibly complex, capable, badass females we all need in our lived. They each had a certain depth to them which brought them to life, and I found myself cheering them on from the sidelines as they faced challenge after challenge. Bartlett clearly put lots of time and effort in developing these characters, and it clearly paid off. I really have nothing bad to say aside from the fact that the plot seemed to slow down and lag at times, but that didn’t do too much to hinder my enjoyment.

In conclusion, I give We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett four and a half out of five stars for fulfilling my feminist fantasy dreams. I highly recommend We Rule the Night to anyone and everyone, but especially to all of the females out there who love a good fantasy novel.

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The Wicked King – Book Review

The Wicked King

By Holly Black

Details:


Title: The Wicked King


Author: Holly Black


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Pub. Date: January 8th, 2019



Synopsis:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

My Review:  

When I first tried to read The Cruel Prince I decided I hated it before I got through the first twenty pages. I was convinced that the rest of the world was wrong, and that The Cruel Prince was absolutely terrible. I posted about it, talked about with friends, and probably made enemies with a good half of the bookstagram community. But one of my friends would not give up on me. She promised that if I finished The Cruel Prince she would read a book of my choice that I’d been begging her to read for ages, so I begrudgingly agreed. I forced my way through the pages, hating almost every character I met along the way, but somewhere around halfway through I found myself unable to put it down, utterly invested in the story. I finished the book two hours later and made amends with (almost) everyone. From the moment I finished The Cruel Prince I put The Wicked King on my most anticipated reads of 2019, and started reading it on my Kindle the moment it was released.

This book absolutely infuriated me in the best way possible. Holly Black does a fantastic job and sucking readers back into the world of Elfhame–this time with Cardan on the throne. I loved how Cardan and Jude interacted throughout the story, the tension is tangible between the two, and the moment it finally breaks is absolutely epic and has given a new meaning to “I hate you”. Cardan and Jude’s relationship progresses in a way that is both entertaining and well done. There were moments between the two that made me swoon, made me yell, and made me wonder why I like to torture myself, but they are definitely one of my favorite ships. Jude is just as badass as ever (if not more), and Cardan a pompous ass who I both want to hit and kiss. Taryn and Locke still remain as two of my least favorite characters ever created, but that alone is a testament to Black’s incredible characterization…I don’t think I’ve ever loved hating anyone as much as I love to hate them. Their whole relationship just pisses me off to no end, and I swear to god the reveal near the end that involved Taryn had me screaming and tossing my book around the room. Speaking of things that had me screaming, I love how the Undersea was more involved in this book. Queen Orlagh and Nacasia and Balekin really raise the stakes in The Wicked King, and provide a wonder antagonizing force for our favorites to go up against. The only issue I have with the conflict in this novel is that it takes a while to get to it. I felt like the beginning of the novel, though interesting and necessary to establish where we are in time and what’s happened while we’ve been away, could have been much shorter. That and the fact that I had to wait a year for this book and another year for The Queen of Nothing are the only issues I really have. Oh, and that the ending had me absolutely sobbing due rage because of my problematic faves and sadness that I’d have to leave Elfhame again until next year. In all honestly the ending is amazing, and it has left readers begging for the next book as soon as possible.

In conclusion I give The Wicked King by Holly Black four and a half out of five stars for being an incredible sequel to what was one of my favorite books of 2018. I highly recommend The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King to anyone who loves fantasy, epic relationships, and dramatic fae princes.

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An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason – Book Review

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason

By Virginia Boecker

Details:


Title: An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason


Author: Virginia Boecker

 


Pub. Date: October 23rd, 2018



Synopsis:

When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.

Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on. 

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review 

As a fan of Shakespeare and historical fiction in general, I was itching to get my hands on the books from the moment I read the blurb. An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason has to be one of the most entertaining YA historical fiction novels I have ever read. It’s a wonderful take on classic Shakespearian tropes that I can see many, many people enjoying. 

A royal spy and an orphan out for revenge on the people who killed her father, Toby and Katherine could not be more different. One is out to prevent the people who are plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth and the other out to assassinate her. Katherine disguises herself as a boy, Kit, and auditions for a play which is being put for the queen in order to assassinate. The play itself is actually being put on by Toby who is using it to Lure the assassins in and stop their plotting. Over the course of the novel the two start to develop feelings for each other, and, of course, drama ensues. I really enjoyed both characters, and the similarities with the play which is being performed, Twelfth Night. I loved how we got to see Katherine grow and find herself over the course of the novel, and I found her story to be very relatable and empowering. Toby was so passionate and funny–he’s a character that you can’t help but like. The only real issue I had with this book was the pacing. I felt that there were a lot of things that could have been sped up such as all of the plotting, the investigating, even the relationship between the two main characters. The ending though, that definitely made up for the pacing issues. It was fun, exciting, and the perfect way to tie up the novel. One thing I really need to give props for is how well researched this book was. Reading it, I could tell that Boecker actually put effort into trying to make things as historically accurate as possible which is something that not every author does.

In conclusion I give An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason four out of five stars for being a fun-filled read as well as one of my new favorite YA Historical Fictions. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, but especially to fans of Shakespeare.

              

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The Impossibility of Us – Book Review

The Impossibility of Us

By Katy Upperman

Details:


Title: The Impossibility of US


Author: Katy Upperman


Publisher: Swoon Reads


Pub. Date: July 31st, 2018



Synopsis:


The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of The Impossibility of Us through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

My Review 


            After reading Katy Upperman’s debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, last year I knew I had to get my hands on her next novel as soon as possible. I was such a huge, huge fan of Kissing Max Holden so my expectations were high, and Katy did not disappoint. The Impossibility of Us was such a wonderful, emotional read, and it was so much better than I expected. I didn’t expect this book to make me cry, but I was crying buckets by the end. Upperman does a fantastic job of making the reader feel so many things all at once, and I can truly say this is a story I won’t soon forget.

            The characters were probably my favorite part of this novel. Elise was so relatable and headstrong and Mati was so sweet and strong–their relationship is so adorable!!! I loved how the story was told from both of their perspectives–Mati’s being more poetic and Elise’s being written in prose. It really added an extra element of creativity to the story that I haven’t seen before. I thought Upperman did an amazing job at addressing Islamophobia by making Mati Afghan and showing how terribly people, including Elise’s mother, treat him. I especially enjoyed the moments when Mati taught Elise about his culture–I found those moments to be so precious.

            Overall I think Katy did an incredible job with The Impossibility of Us. It touches on topics I don’t think I’ve ever read about in YA novels in such a fantastic way. In conclusion I give the Impossibility of Us four out of five stars for being a heart wrenching, emotional read that’ll be sure to have everyone crying. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, but especially to fans of contemporary romance. Katy Upperman is a fantastic author, and I truly can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

             

If you would like to order The Impossibility of Us

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-CG

Grace and Fury – ARC Review

Grace and Fury

By Tracy Banghart

Details:


Title: Grace and Fury


Author: Tracy Banghart


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Pub. Date: July 31st, 2018



Synopsis:


In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of Grace and Fury through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review 


            What do you get when you mix together badass female characters, an amazing plot, and an interesting world? The answer: Grace and Fury. From the second I started this book I knew it was going to be fantastic, and it did not let me down. Tracy Banghart tells the story of two sisters, Nomi and Serina, in such a way that draws you in from the first sentence and leaves you begging for more at the last. I don’t even know where to begin in writing this review because I loved everything so, so much, and I can guarantee that none of my readers want to read a ten page essay on how much I enjoyed this book.

            The world building throughout the story is great. Set in an Italian inspired fantasy world where women are oppressed, the reader immediately gets the sense that something isn’t right. Girls aren’t allowed to learn how to read or write, and to do so is a capital crime. Men rule over everything, and the women who don’t submit to them are sent off to the Hawaiian inspired prison at Mount Ruin. Banghart does a fantastic job in describing both the prison at Mount Ruin as well as the palace, which also happens to work as a prison for some of its inhabitants.

            I will admit that I was a little worried when I read the first couple chapters of Grace and Fury--it gave me major Selection vibes with the whole Heir and Grace thing, and anyone who knows me knows that I strongly dislike the selection, but luckily that ended as soon as the Heir selected his Graces and I WAS SHOOK! I love it when a story catches me off guard, and that’s what Grace and Fury did from the very beginning. There are a multitude of twists and turns which are absolutely wonderful and unpredictable. The ending in particular left me absolutely shell shocked, and I kept trying to flip the page on my kindle, hoping there was more because I was not ready for it to be over. Banghart leaves the story on a cliffhanger which has the reader already begging to have book two in their hands (I NEED IT NOW!!!). 

            While both the setting and the story itself are incredible, it’s the characters who truly steal the show. Nomi and Serina couldn’t be more opposite: Serina has trained her whole life to become a Grace and be submissive to men, while Nomi is a rebel who constantly fights the role which has been set for her. Both girls end up somewhere they never could have imagined, and they have to fight to survive. If someone asked me to pick my favorite of the two sisters, I would not be able. Both characters go through so much throughout the story, and neither are the same person they were at the beginning of the story at the end. Their character devlopment is fantastic, and I can only imagine how much effort Banghart put into bringing these characters to life. Even for the side characters, Banghart does an incredible amount of characterization. She gives each and every one their own backstory, and she doesn’t skip over any details. Personally, I really enjoyed getting to know about the others on mount doom–specifically Oracle and Val, but I also liked getting to know those within the palace–especially towards the end when I started to doubt everything I’d been told. The characters are the shining stars of Grace and Fury, and the character development throughout the story is truly some of the best I’ve ever seen.


In conclusion, I give Grace and Fury five out of five stars for being a fantastic opening to a new series as well as a fun story that promotes feminism within its pages. Grace and Fury is a story of strong women and family love, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Be sure to pre-order a copy today because I can guarantee this is a book everyone is going to be talking about.

If you would like to pre-order Grace and Fury

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

 There’s also a pre-order campaign going on right now, so you can get some pretty cool swag if you submit your receipt. Click here to learn more.

-CG