Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Breaks the Dawn

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: Dark Breaks the Dawn 

Author: Sara B. Larson 
Release Date: May 30, 2017


On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

A princess with magical powers and a kingdom in danger? Sounds like my kind of book. Usually during the summer I read a lot of realistic fiction, but I am more than willing to throw a few great fantasy novels into the mix. Luckily, this one comes out just in time for me to do so. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake


Title: Three Dark Crowns
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Format: Hardback

Page Count: 398

Rating: 

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown. (taken from goodreads.com)



“Three dark queens are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets will never be friends.
Three dark sisters, all fair to be seen,
Two to devour and one to be Queen”

I'll admit that I was really disappointed when I saw how many people didn't care for this book. I was looking forward to its publication for months, but when many fellow reviewers didn't fall head over heels for Three Dark Crowns, I decided to push it toward the bottom of my TBR pile. It wasn't until my friend purchased it and encouraged me to give it a shot that I cracked the spine, and let me just say, I'm certainly glad that I did.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm a sucker for a good fantasy story, and Blake definitely provides one in this dark novel. Three sisters, one crown, and many expectations. There's a dash of politics, a smidgen of romance, and of course, some real kick-butt heroines. I was already a fan of Kendare Blake after reading Anna Dressed in Blood, and Three Dark Crowns reaffirmed my appreciation for her writing.

The story is told in alternating points of view, switching mostly between the three sisters but also covering some of the sisters' companions. At first, I found the constant changes a little jarring, but I quickly adjusted to the different POVs as I got to know the characters more.

The main reason I couldn't award this book five stars was the first third of the story. Although the premise immediately hooked me, I just felt like I was waiting for something interesting to happen for the first 100 pages or so. I know I'm not the only one who felt this way, and I have seen several readers say they didn't bother finishing the book because they couldn't get through the first part, which I think is a terrible shame. If you're considering reading Three Dark Crowns, trust me when I say that things speed up. The drama, the characters, the story: everything really gets better the more you read.

That ending... Phew, Blake really knows how to get people to buy her next book. It was brilliant, and I'm definitely going to get my hands on the sequel as soon as it hits shelves.

Overall, I'm glad that I decided to give Three Dark Crowns a shot, even though many others didn't love it. It's original and entertaining, and I can't help but feel that the series is going to get better and better with each installment. If you're a fan of dark fantasy and strong characters, then I'd definitely recommend this novel.


 


^Basically me cackling at the big reveal Blake sets up. We're in for a ride with this series.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: One of Us Is Lying

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: One of Us Is Lying 

Author: Karen M. McManus 
Release Date: May 30, 2017


The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

I'm intrigued by the challenge the synopsis presents. I've always loved trying to guess how the story will end ever since I devoured most of the Nancy Drew novels as a little girl. Hopefully this mystery will keep us on our toes. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review and Release Day Celebration: The Best Kind of Magic


Title: The Best Kind of Magic 
Author: Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Publication Date: May 16, 2017 
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 336

Rating: 

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings. (taken from goodreads.com)


"I can see true love. I don't mean the chocolate-covered, mushy-gushy signs of true love, but real, destined-to-happen happy endings. All I need is five seconds of eye contact, and I'll envision anyone's soul mate." 

I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

I had a really fun time with The Best Kind of Magic. It's been a while since I picked up a novel that was so purely enjoyable and cute. Sure, I wasn't mind-blown or anything, but Cestari has written a novel that would make preteen me sequel. 

The premise is definitely interesting. What would you do if you could envision anyone's soul-mate - even the perfect match for the boy you love? And it's not you? Amber is torn between trusting the validity of her supernatural visions and following the desires of her heart. This was definitely the aspect that kept me reading, and I was really impressed with the original concept.

There are plenty of other paranormal creatures sprinkled throughout the tale, including vampires and leprechauns. I've heard that some people aren't a fan of this style of fantasy, but I found it amusing and even a little quaint. 

Almost every part of The Best Kind of Magic reminds me of the light-hearted novels I used to read when I was younger. The YA genre has grown to encompass such as wide range of content, but Cestari's novel is truly a book I could recommend to teens of all ages. It's fun, cute, and of course, romantic. 

I've already read the synopsis for the second book, I really do see good things down the road for this series. If you're looking for a fun (and fairly quick read), definitely check this one out! It just hit shelves today, so happy book birthday to Crystal Cestari.