Saturday, May 27, 2017

Author Chat: Emily R. King, Author of The Hundredth Queen


"Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat." (text and photo taken from Emily's website) 
  
Did you always know you wanted to publish a novel?
Nope. When I was in high school, I thought all authors were people who had stable jobs and wrote in their free time. That may be true for some, but because of my assumption, I didn’t think becoming a novelist was a practical profession until I was in my early twenties.

Besides writing or reading, what is your favorite hobby?
I love to bake and have a serious sweet tooth. I memorized my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. When I’m not on deadline, I try to bake once a week.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?
How about Diet Coke? I drink waaay too much of it. I like my Diet Coke best with fresh lime and cranberry-flavored syrup.

What makes your protagonist stand out from other YA heroines?
Sometimes main characters in young adult novels can come off…shall I say, whiney? I don’t do whiney. Kalinda is definitely not the sort to wallow for long. She’s a proactive character driven by her loyalty to her gods and the people she loves.

Where did your inspiration for The Hundredth Queen come from?
I had a dream. More specifically, I woke up in the middle of the night with a book title in my mind: The Hundredth Wife. A second later, I corrected it to The Hundredth Queen. I write young adult fiction, and “wife” would not suit a title for my audience. The following morning, I started plotting.

What book are you currently reading in your spare time?
I set aside a standalone YA fantasy I have partially revised to work on The Hundredth Queen Series. I’m excited to get back to work on it once book three of THQ is finished.

About Emily's upcoming release, which will hit shelves on June 1:

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own. (taken from goodreads.com)
 

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.