#ARCSTRAVAGANZA #5: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 5th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen one of my most highly anticipated sequels of this year!!! *eeeeeK* I still cannot believe I was approved on Netgalley but this truly made the end of last week cuz overall last week was a really sucky week in general. The book Gods definitely blessed me with some magic to make up for my troubles haha! Ok so, last year at NYC Comic Con I picked up a copy of The Bear and the Nightingale (see review here) not knowing that it would be my most favorite score. I read it sometime in December 2016 which btw is PERFECT weather for this read, and I fell in love with the writing & the story. From the opening scene in front of a warm fire to the very end, it felt like I was sitting down for story time every single time I picked it up. The cozy feels are real and I am so thrilled to have a early copy of the sequel The Girl in the Tower! Both the covers for these books are S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G! *heart eyes emoji*

*If you haven’t read The Bear in the Nightingale yet, I’d skip the 411 section after my photo*


The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

 


The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingalecontinues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? If you’ve participated in #ARCstravaganza this week, please feel free to drop your links & I’ll make my way around <3’s!


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Review: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

the-library-of-fatesThe Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Published by: Penguin/Razorbill

Date of Publication: July 18th 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy

Pages: 354

Format: eGalley

Rating:★★★★ 4 Stars

*HUGE thanks to Penguin/Razorbill & Aditi Khorana for the eGalley copy of The Library of Fates in exchange for an honest opinion

 

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A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

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The Library of Fates took me on a journey full of growing pains, sacrifice, friendship, and fated love against the backdrop of a vibrant colorful land full of hope. The introduction to this story starts with the very special bond between father and daughter. Princess Amrita is the daughter to the ruler of the country of Shalingar who loves his people and goes above & beyond to keep them safe, free, and prosperous. However, while on a visit the Emperor Sikander sets his sights on Shalingar, Amrita volunteers her own hand in marriage to keep the peace. Amrita’s father did not want this for his daughter & tried everything in his power to reverse his daughters fate. Although Amrita and her father have a tight bond, there are still many secrets he is keeping from her regarding her mother who he refuses to speak about. As a result of tragic events that take place during the Emperors visit, Amrita is forced to go on the run far from the palace walls & her beloved country of Shalingar. She does not go alone, as a true testament of her character & beliefs, she saves the oracle who was enslaved by the emperor. Thala has been mistreated since the age of 9 when she was first ripped away from her home by the emperor. She has been forced to take the drug Chamak to enhance her visions (Think Grishas/Six of Crows) & serve the Emperor. Although Amrita is forced to leave everything & everyone behind, she is focused on finding a way to defeat the emperor & warn her people of the dangers to come. Thala on the other hand is seeking for a way to reverse their fate by finding the Library of All Things. The only ones (besides the Emperor) in their way are themselves. Amrita is a non-believer of all things magic/fables and Thala believes whole-heartedly. This unlikely pairing embark on an adventure that will leave them changed forever…

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Although there are many characters along the way shaping Amrita’s fate, these are the ones that stood out the most for myself…

The Amrita we meet at the start of this story isn’t the one we see by the time we read the last sentence. She has been forced to run for her life leaving behind her home & all those she loved. She has no real destination in mind and we see her & Thala tough it out, really shedding her life as a princess. Also, she is having a hard time accepting the possibility that the fables her father imparted her with as a child may actually be closer to reality. She’s on a path that will challenge her to grow & make some tough decisions regarding her fate & those of her people. Amrita was the most fleshed out character we get in The Library of Fates and following her journey full of twists & turns was unpredictable and satisfying.

Amrita’s father ChandradevI am a sucker for father/daughter relationships and so I can’t speak about characters without showing Chandradev some love. A father who loved his country & his people but fought hard to not have to sacrifice his daughter to a tyrant. Chandradev also won my ❤ for being a lover of folklore/mythology, telling Amrita stories that always made her wonder. I’d love to see more father figures like Chandradev on the page seeing as they are scarcely written.

Thala was an interesting character to get to know, she has a lot of hurt and pain when she is gifted as a slave to Amrita by the Emperor. Shalingar did NOT believe in enslaving people & so when Thala arrived, Amrita and her father were immediately appalled at the offer. This set the tone for Tala’s journey beside Amrita, their friendship very unlikely yet  strengthening from the minute they set off. This friendship was slow building & met with many bumps on the road which made it more authentic.

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The first half of this book reads very differently than the second half. At first I really did think I was getting the same story we’ve all read before…you know? the one where the princess is forced to marry a megalomaniac while her true love comes to her rescue? YEAH that’s the one! Whelp, I can assure you the this was NOT that story! The Library of Fates took such an interesting turn at the midway point leaving me enamored with the way Khorana wove fate into this story. The belief that there are many different versions of ourselves living many different lives all at the same time following the threads of their own fate really intrigues me. I docked it one star only because I felt it didn’t really find its footing till after the half-way point which is about the time I started to really fall in love with this story. I also would’ve liked to have been given some answers regarding Amrita’s mother but won’t go into detail for fear of spoilers. Overall I really enjoyed this read & the world Khorana has created, lush with Persian influences & steeped in Indian folklore. I reccomend The Library of Fates to those who’ve ever wondered whether our fates are written for us or if it’s entirely within our control…& for those who believe in magic 😉

The Library of Fates will be out on shelves Tuesday July 18th. will you be picking up a copy? If you’ve already had the opportunity to read, what were some of your thoughts on this tale?

Waiting On Wednesday

bad-romanceTitle: Bad Romance

Author: Heather Demetrios

Book: Hardcover, 368 pages

Expected Publication: June 13th 2017

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult

 

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Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

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Bad Romance instantly caught my attention with its decaying flowers on the cover and it’s Gaga-esque title. My guess was right, this story is about abusive relationships. Although in the Goodreads synopsis we are made aware of the main protagonists abusive relationship with her love interest, it is the step-father/daughter relationship that made me add this one to my TBR. The description “wields fear like a weapon” sticks out the most. I’m hoping for some in depth character development/exploration, a realistic account of toxic relationships & its after effects and lastly i’m interested in the outcome. Of course i’m hoping for a positive outcome but i’m curious as to how it will be handled by the author.

What are you wonderful Bookish Peeps waiting on this Wednesday? Are any of you planning on reading Bad Romance?…gosh I can’t get Gaga’s song out of my head now

Waiting On Wednesday 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


Title: The Valiant

Author: Lesley Livingston

Book: Hardcover, 288 pages

Expected Publication: February 14th 2017

Publisher: Razorbill Young Readers (Penguin Random House)






Edelweiss Synopsis:

A richly-imagined, gripping historical fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima,The Valiant recounts a seventeen-year-old’s tumultuous journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary female gladiator and darling of the Roman empire.

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant. 

Reasons:

When a synopsis includes the words/names: Gladiators, Julius Caesar, Celtic King, fighting arena, and warrior…I stop for a moment of silence while I try to contain my excitement. Female warrior protagonists? *SqUEeee* & it’s being released on Valentine’s Day, what better gift to give myself? Ok! fangirling over lol. A school of female gladiator’s run by none other than Julius Caesar himself?!?! SIGN ME UP! to read all about it that is (Lol). I’m a sucker for a strong female protog who isn’t afraid to get down & dirty, throw in a bit of Rome & you’re basically serenading me. I also love the names Fallon & Sorcha, they scream Fantasy & that cover is AWESOME to say the least. I only wish that the book was a bit longer but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the beginning of a possible trilogy.

Slowly but surely we’ve been seeing YA branch into different sub-genres and Historical Fiction is finally getting some love. With some of the more popular books like Eleanor Herman’s Legacy of Kings & the collaborative project My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Asthon, and Jodi Meadows leading the way, I am hoping Lesley Livingston’s The Valiant joins their ranks & makes for a brutal & kick butt Valentine’s Day. Also, for those of you attending New York Comic Con this October like myself, Edelweiss has The Valiant listed for promotion at this event. So yes! I am already crossing my fingers & toes for the Book Gods to bless me with either a eGalley or physical ARC of The Valiant.

BTW, did any of you catch the “for fans of SJM & Cinda Williams Chima”? …Signed, Sealed, Delivered *sings* I’m YOURS!

Have any of you heard about The Valiant? If so, does it tickle your fancy? Eh? Lol. Feel free to drop THAT link with your Waiting On Wednesday’s. I have my Goodreads open & TBR ready for suggestions <3’s!
 
 

Waiting On Wednesday 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1)

Author: Traci Chee
Book: Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected Publication: September 13th 2016
Publisher: Putnam


Amazon Synopsis (I usually go with Goodreads however; GR was missing the very enticing last line):

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible. With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

 Things undeniably alluring about this book:

· That coverrrrrr yooOO!!!!!!!!!!! Such stunning colors which will probably only make the gold lettering Pop! Smh don’t mind me, this book is speaking to the bookstagrammer in me

· The Title! perfect for this book (read Amazon Synopsis) & who doesn’t luv reading about a fellow fictional bookworm? Eh?

· A mystery to solve! & the only clue left behind is a BOOK! In a society where everyone is illiterate–there are NO BOOKS! *Gasps*

· Our female protagonist! I am actively looking for diverse reads whether it is Fiction or Fantasy, because there just isn’t enough. I don’t know the female protagonist’s ethnicity but it definitely adds to my reason for wanting to read this book

· Last but not least! The promise of assassins & pirates! Need I say more? 😉
 

Waiting On Wednesday 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 My Sister Rosa

Author: Justine Larbalestier

Book: Hardcover, 320 pages

Expected Publication: November 15th 2016

Publisher: Soho Teen
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Reasons

I believe this book is already out in Australia (our Protagonists are Aussies) however, the U.S. (where I’m located) won’t see it until later this year in November. I read mostly psychological thrillers & darker themed books during the Fall months & My sister Rosa fits the bill. I’m not sure why but any story with a sibling who’s a bit off or in this case off their ROCKER…intrigues me (I don’t know what that says about me lol). The story starts off in Sydney & then sees the siblings move to New York City…my thoughts immediately flew to how large of a city NY really is & how hard of a task it will be for Che to manage his sister Rosa’s deep dark secret. I’m really looking forward to picking this one up with a large cup of hot tea 🙂🙃🙂

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year old sister? A spine-chilling psychological thriller from one of Australia’s finest YA authors.

‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’

I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.

As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.

Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa?

My Sister Rosa will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page to the last.



 

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

                                  
                   

And I Darken

(Top image is Hardcover, Bottom is Paperback)

Author: Kiersten White  

Book: Hardcover, 496 pages

Expected Publication: June 28th 2016

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Reasons: Vlad the Impaler. Anti-hero. Alternate POV’s. I am so intrigued by the synopsis of this book & after watching Kiersten White’s interview on PolandbananasBooks, I felt even more excitement for this book. I know nothing about Vlad The Impaler which is great because Kiersten White said that she researched him & Romania extensively in preparation for this book. I love when an author does their homework on their setting & time in history. It adds to the whole experience especially since I’ll never be able to time travel so the more detail the better (at least for my mind to envision anyways). We also are made aware that Lada is not your conventional hero as a matter of fact, she’s an anti-hero. I expect this to be a dark read which I’m looking forward to since I think it will make it stand apart from current YA Fantasy reads. Alternating POV’s between Lada & her brother Radu. My favorite books are told in alternating POV’s & sometimes can help push me to read if I ever reach a slumpy part. Also, alternating POV’s allow me to familiarize myself with a character’s frame of mind and I enjoy that aspect quite a bit. This is a trilogy & what’s even cooler about this series is that we start off with protagonists around their teen years & go up to about their early 20’s. I’m super excited about this book & will be getting my copy next week!!! 😃

Goodreads Synopsis:

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. 

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.