Monday, March 7, 2016

Fun-Size Reviews

Fun-size reviews! For when you want a little bite of a book, and your trust YA blogger is feeling far too lazy to say much more about them!

I have been buuuuuuusyyyyy lately, so while I've definitely been back in the reading swing (thanks to the magic of romance novels) after a TERRIBLE reading February, my brain is still all limp and tired and sleepy and doesn't want to write reviews. It just wants to Netflix. And read more Tessa Dare. SO. TEENY TINY FUN-SIZE REVIEWS, like it's Halloween and you came to my door and I plopped a few teeny tiny reviews in your plastic jack 'o lantern bucket. (American traditions are really weird.)

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Series: No
Release date: January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen (Harper Collins)
Length: 360 pages
Source: eARC from the publisher

Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how.

Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past.

Haunted by happy memories from her life, Breezy sets out to find answers in the gritty, threatening world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she discovers is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Debut author Kali Wallace interweaves folklore and myths from all over the world in this stunning novel about the heartbreaking trauma of a girl’s life cut short and her struggle to reconcile her humanity with the monster she’s become.

This book gave me the CREEPS in a great way. It's dark, creepy, sad, paranormal fiction with absolutely ACES writing. Seriously, the writing. My god, the writing. I loved the voice of the main-characters (a bisexual Asian-American girl!). I loved her personality, her struggles, and her...well, undead life, as this new thing she doesn't quite understand, and the darkness of her dead heart, and whatnot. I wasn't as thrilled with the actual plot--mostly in the middle-- but the emotional beats and the characters and the ultimate resolution were all amazing. I will read whatever Kali Wallace writes next, because damn, does that woman have a way with words. I felt cold and grim and heavy and all manner of things while reading this, like the story seeped into my body. (This sounds unpleasant, but I promise you it's not.)

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Series: Yes, #1 in the Castles Ever After series
Release date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins)
Length: 370 pages
Source: purchased

In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities. And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh. Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one. 

MY TESSA DARE OBSESSION CONTINUES UNCHECKED UNBRIDLED AND UNTAMED (see this post to know what I'm blathering about). I normally never read series out of order, even if they are utterly unrelated companion series like the Castles Ever After series, but whoops, I read When a Scot Ties the Knot first and found it to be one of the funniest books I've ever read in my life, plus it was shippy and banter and sexy and fun times all around, basically.

But Romancing the Duke was rather a different animal. It took me a few more chapters to get fully into RtD compared to Scot--but that wasn't really far on RtD, since Scot is uproariously funny and light from page one, and RtD takes a bit longer to build. But oh. my. god. once I realized what was going on and who these characters were and that classic Tessa Dare humor came in, THE SHIP, YOU GUYS. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

I think I loved this even more than the first, ship-wise. It's like a Regency Beauty and the Beast, with Izzy (no beauty, but impoverished, excessively romantic, very headstrong, and practical indeed) inherits a castle that--oops--is already occupied by a brooding, cantankerous Duke (who happens to be visually impaired, something i think the book does SO WELL, though I admit I do not have any life experience in this matter). And the two of them together...and the humor...AND THE OCTUPUS HAIR and the bats and the Knights of Moranglia and I'm just RAMBLING HERE but if you've read the book and understand how precious and important and sublime all these little inside jokes are, good chance you just happy sighed along with me. Because Castles Ever After is just... *happy sigh*

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Series: Yes, #1 in the The Orphan Queen duology
Release date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen (Harper Collins)
Length: 391 pages
Source: eARC via Edelweiss

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

So I was skimming my copy of TOQ in preparation for reading The Mirror King and realized I never reviewed this. OOPS. So here we go, quick and dirty: I VASTLY enjoyed The Orphan Queen, despite its flaws (particularly prevalent in the opening bits of the book, which I just reread). It's a bit info dumpy, and I have world building qualms, mostly in the character names/bland culture, but I don't actually particularly care once the story gets rolling. There are vigilantes and spies, and really awesome kisses, and a brutal twist or two, and magic that is destroying the land in a big toxic cloud and then a BING BANG EXPLOSION of an ending and then the world cliff-hanger imaginable, and guys, I was invested. I can forgive basically anything if i care so much about the characters that I'm quite literally howling at the book as i turn the final, cruel page (because oh my freaking Bellamy Blake is that last page cruel).

I hear The Mirror King goes above and beyond The Orphan Queen, so I'm definitely going to try to get to that one soon!

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Series: Yes, #0.5 in the The Wrath and the Dawn duology
Release date: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin)
Length: 9
Source: free

Seventy-one days and seventy-one nights had come and gone since Khalid began killing his brides. This dawn, Khalid would mark the loss of the seventy-second girl, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. Khalid didn’t know how many more of these dawns he could take. And there was something about this latest girl that piqued his interest. Not only had she volunteered to marry him, but at their wedding ceremony, she had seemed not the least bit afraid. In fact, what he had seen in her eyes was nothing short of pure hatred. She was about to lose her life. Why wasn’t she afraid? Why did she hate him so? He had never before gone to his wife’s chambers before her death at dawn. Tonight would be different.

This free story is nine pages long, and it's basically Khalid and Shazi's first meeting from Khalid's point of view, and if you have any heart at all inside you it will dissolve to sand as you read this and fly into the wind and straight into the sun and you'll just sag to the ground and mash your face into the floor and keen like a tragic beached whale because such is the agonizing glory of Shazi and Khalid. For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of this ship.

No, I haven't completely lost it. Shut up. I'm fine. I am so fine.


  1. Ahh Shallow Graves sounds so creepy and SO GOOD.

  2. Romancing the Duke was so funny to me so I'm even more excited to read When A Scot Ties The Knot! And omggggg Izzy and Ransom is the best ship!! I loved their dynamic. I felt the same way about TOQ, sort of ordinary at first but the CHARACTERS and CHEMISTRY and THAT ENDING. You will loooove The Mirror King, it's so amazing and even better. Shiiiip! There is also a part that made me freeze in horror for 20 minutes. So. There's that to look forward to ;) (spoiler? kinda sorta? but I want to know when you get there so I had to say it hahaha).

  3. I just need to know all your thoughts when you get around to reading The Mirror King, okay, thanks, bye! No, but seriously, I would love to hear what you think :D And I definitely need to read that Tessa Dare series!!

  4. I LOVED When A Scot Ties The Knot, thank you so much for that. Romancing The Duke was also so amazing. I never thought that I'd like regency romance novels but this is one time that I'm glad I'm wrong. Both the books were so good.......

  5. I also loved your review for Teressa Dare Romancing the Duke. I love reading interesting and not too serious series:)


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