I’ll Be Your Queen // ARC Review: Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

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Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
Series: Standalone
Genre(s): Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: 2/7/17
STARS: 4.5

Goodreads Description
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

*I received an ARC for review from a publisher – this does not affect my review in any way*

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones was just as magical and splendid as the synopsis describes. Liesl, a musically gifted teenager is forced to become the Goblin Queen in order to save her sister. Sacrifices are made, lives are lost and hearts are broken in this dazzling debut.

To begin, the writing of Wintersong was absolutely stunning. As a writer myself, I focus on the details and descriptions of the fantastical worlds these authors create. Jones’ awriting captured every details of the world she has created, both real and Goblin Realm. She did such a fantastic job. The characters of the story were written just as well. I felt that Jones’ created such well rounded characters that carried passionate and realistic emotion, not to mention, they did very humane things (at least the humans did) and their very being was realistic.

The plot of Wintersong alone was quite unique. Instead of having a typical plot with a rising action, climax, falling action and conclusion, Wintersong followed a similar plot but it was written as if there are two plot arcs within one book. Something I myself have never seen in a novel. I was quite confused at first because as I was reading, it felt like the end but I was only 40 percent through with the book. Both arcs were fabulous and unique, dark and fun in their own way but I admit that the second arc left my confused. Though the writing was beautiful and enthralled me one hundred percent, I felt it could have been clearer.

Liesl and the Goblin King have a unique relationship as well. The relationships within Wintersong are genuine, the relationship Liesl has with her sister has issues, just like any other pair of sisters but it is apparent they love each other. As for the relationship with Liesl and the Goblin King, it most certainly isn’t ooey gooey romance. For sure a passionate romance that grows over time.

Overall, Wintersong by S. Jae Jones is a stunning debut novel full of magic and intrigue. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys YA with any sort of fae in them. I give this book a 4.75 star rating! Loved it!

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Trapped in a Library with a Knife Carrying Teenager // ARC Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

 photo 30256248_zpsbclveelk.jpgBy Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Series: Standalone
Genre(s): Contemporary
Release Date: 1/31/17
Stars:
3.5/5

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Goodreads Description

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

By Your Side is a contemporary romance novel about teenager Autumn Collins who finds herself locked in a library with bad boy acclaimed druggie, Dax Miller. Autumn, frustrated and hoping her friends will eventually come find her is surprised to find that WOW Dax Miller isn’t a druggie. WOW. Dax is actually really nice. WOW. Dax didn’t go to juvie because he punched someone in the face. While on the other hand, Dax finds himself surprised that Autumn isn’t the perfect, naive, rich brat he assumed she was.

I quickly burned through By Your Side in a couple hours. I was intrigued by the concept and quite recently I finished reading her last novel, PS I Like You and I very much enjoyed it. I would say I did enjoy By Your Side but on the other hand, I felt that the synopsis is somewhat misleading. The novel does take place in the library for the first third of the book, but it isn’t about books. It isn’t about Autumn liking to read. The entire book is mostly about Autumn trying to tell Jeff (this guy she isn’t dating yet but everyone thinks they will) that she doesn’t want to be with him.

The characters were actually disappointing in my opinion.  I didn’t love them, I didn’t understand them and most importantly, I didn’t really care about what their end result would be. Characters in my personal opinion are the central part of the story, if you don’t care about a character, why would you care about what they say or do? It is without a doubt, that though By Your Side was an entertaining and light read, it wasn’t a thoughtful deep novel and for sure did not meet my expectations.

The plot was for sure not fast paced, it was definitely interesting, but like I said, not superb. In fact, Autumn had some serious angst that needed to be solved. There wasn’t much to By Your Side. It was extremely one dimensional and it felt like the only thing within our story was Autumn, Dax and Jeff. All the other characters? Forget them, we hardly knew their last names!

Overall, By Your Side was a disappointing read that failed to meet my expectations of West’s last novel. I recommend the novel to anyone looking for a light slightly fluffy novel, but this is most certainly not the next great American novel.

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Have you picked up By Your Side yet? Did you enjoy it? Are you anticipating this novel? Let me know down below in the comments! Thank you for reading!

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“Remember, it’s only a game.” || ARC Review » Caraval by Stephanie Garber

 photo Caraval_final20cover201_zpsy4iavhbc.jpgCaraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Untitled #1

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Action
Release Date: 1/31/17
Stars: 5 STARS

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Goodreads Description

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber easily lands in the top five books read this month. Starting on the first page, the reader is whisked into a story where everything is questioned. The audience doesn’t quite know what is happening yet, but it is written in such an amazing way that it keeps the reader hooked. Caraval gave me the chills, by page one, I knew Caraval would be phenomenal.

The plot of Caraval was stunning. Extremely well paced. There wasn’t a single part in the entire plot that I felt I was waiting. The entire story kept me on my toes. Don’t even get me started on the twists. Garber is clearly the queen of plot twists because the plot twists were so well done. I didn’t see a single one of them coming. The romantic plot was also spectacular, it is clear that the romantic aspects in the story isn’t the main plot. But when romantic parts appear in the story, it made me as the reader squeal. In a good way, of course.

The descriptions were out of this world. Every single page of Caraval played in my mind like a movie. I could picture every single bit of magic Garber wove into the story. Everything, the smells, the sights, Garber definitely has a talent in world building. The setting for the majority of the book, Caraval was a mystical place, Garber gave me the shivers and made me want to hop right into the story.

Our main character, Scarlett was lovely. Headstrong and definitely feisty was one character that I just adored. She cared for her sister dearly, and she is quite an admirable character. I’m very glad she wasn’t the type of character to fall right over into the “hot guy’s” arms. Julian, our “hot guy” of the book was spectacular. I loved him, Scarlett might not have fallen over on to him, but I surely did. Julian’s character was mysterious, he was caring, and the twists surrounding his character were just spellbinding.

Overall, Stephanie Garber’s, Caraval is definitely a book that any lovers of fantasy should read. Any of her next books will be an instant read. Her writing stunned me. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. Caraval had no cons. It kept me hooked all the way. FullSizeRender (20)

Have you pre ordered Caraval yet?

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new year // new goals // new start

Hi everyone! Claire here, long time no see and I really miss you guys! Life has been hectic, I’ve been in a blogging slump for just about forever, and in general, life has been really not that great at all. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the new year and all the goals I’m hoping to stick to! Let’s do this! FullSizeRender (20)

goal #1

I haven’t really been blogging much at all. Any posts that are being released were scheduled a bit back on so when I’m talking, I’m not really talking. So my first goal is to post at least once a week. Whether it be a review, discussion, list post, whatever, I will have a post up once a week for you guys.

goal #2

Being organized is one thing I am terrible at. Seriously, you should see my room. I really hope to accomplish being organized because when you’re organized, I feel like it can make life a lot less stressful by just being organized.

goal #3

Get my shit together and get a job. Or an internship, or bonus, an internship that pays. I need to make money and all my friends have jobs and then there’s me with like no money. Plus I need to make money so I can get my car!

goal #4

Finish driver’s ed and get my permit. I just actually started taking driver’s ed, the only problem is is that now that school is starting it will be hard to keep up with the class. Hopefully I’ll be able to manage my time well enough and I’ll be able to finish driver’s ed and get my permit before my junior year

goal #5

Be myself! Last year was basically a mess, we can all agree on that. Just last year I started wearing makeup. Not a lot but some eyeliner and mascara and  a little bit of lip gloss. Pretty simple and it made me feel way better and confident. I also wore it for those around me. This year, I’ll definitely be wearing makeup but I want to be wearing it because I like it and no other reason.

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These were my goals for 2017! What were some of yours? How will you accomplish them?  Are they similar to mine? Let me know down below in the comments!

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Honor Has No Place In Survival // SPOILER FREE ARC REVIEW: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

 photo CarveTheMark_Roth_EpicReads_zpsl4sdxhr7.jpgCarve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Untitled Duology
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Adventure
Release Date: 1/17/17
Stars:
5/5

Goodreads Description

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Allegiant came out when I was in 7th grade. That was the last book Roth published and that was a fair amount of years ago. This January, Roth brings us the first book in her newest duology, Carve the Mark. Set in a world similar to that of Star Wars with multiple planets, Carve the Mark is ready to stun the eyes of readers all over the world regardless if they liked her debut, Divergent. 

Carve the Mark is undoubtedly a unique novel coming from concepts that I myself have never read in the YA world. Though it starts off at a slow pace, unlike Divergent it is clear that Roth’s writing has grown so much. The pace is slow, yet meaningful. As I was reading I could feel the story coming together and I could feel myself getting to know the characters better.

Let’s start with Akos. Akos is definitely one of those characters that I had trouble connecting with at first. In fact, I had trouble connecting with all of the characters. Though, especially Akos because he’s a dude. It kind of makes sense there. Like I said, Akos was a questionable character at first, but as the story carried onward I must admit that he quickly became one of my favorite. Cyra on the other hand is quite the opposite of Akos and though she does carry the traits of many YA heroines, her character remains unique. There was definitely something different about her that made her feel special.

The plot of the Carve the Mark was slow. It is a long book. Not super long, but definitely a decent size and being a larger book I definitely assumed for a faster paced novel. I didn’t get a faster paced novel but Roth definitely explores the world well and creates a good balance of all the characters. We don’t see many side characters that are only on the page once. I can definitely see the relation Carve the Mark has to Star Wars. With several different planets and space ships and the “Current” and all that jazz, yet the novel definitely stays true to its story and is unlike any I’ve ever read before.

Overall, I would definitely say to read Carve the Mark even if you disliked Divergent. Carve the Mark is completely different than Divergent in every way with characters that aren’t copy cats of Tris and Four not to mention it’s like in SPACE.

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Are you excited for Carve the Mark? Did you enjoy the Divergent series? Let me know down below in the comments!

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Ever the Brave // ARC Review: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

 photo 28114396_zpsgkvzjgif.jpgEver the Hunted
Author: Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1
Genre(s): High Fantasy, Romance,
Release Date: 12/27/16
Stars:
3.5/5 STARS

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Goodreads Description

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.


Ever the Hunted
by Erin Summerill is one of those books that though it has an interesting plot that grabs the reader in, but it lacks worldbuilding and other essentials of a good fantasy novel. Ever the Hunted holds a touch of magic, clashing kingdoms and a very interesting love story.

One of my favorite parts of Ever the Hunted was our epic main character. Britta Flannery does follow the traits of the main heroine who is brave, snarky, and and of course totally badass but though she follows these typical traits, I still liked her. Britta follows a lot of human traits that sometimes are lacking in novels like being misguided, or desperate. Sometimes, I feel like female heroines become so brave, or so sarcastic/comedic that they cross the line into stupidity. Britta does not do this. The characters of Ever the Hunted were definitely strong, they had history, they had personality and most of all almost each and every single one of them had a purpose in the story and they weren’t just there to be there. If that makes any sense at all.

The plot of Ever the Hunt for the most part was well paced. Big action scenes were appropriately placed and when there wasn’t a huge action scene, instead there was a huge revelation or a swoony moment. The beginning of the story does very well for the reader because Summerill definitely hooks the reader in and fast. There wasn’t a dull moment in the beginning. The world building I thought was average, not spectacular and not necessarily terrible. I found it to be enticing but I was not fully captured by the world in comparison to other fantasy books.

I really liked the end, in a way it kind of was a cliffhanger, but it still concluded the story very well. I think that though the end had a good conclusion, the end, or more like the climax of the story felt awfully rushed. Having more of a buildup to the climax before having the biggest part of the story happen in a chapter would have benefit the story a lot. Though the world building suffered, I thought the magic was nice. I really loved how Summerill described how the magic worked. The magic itself wasn’t the most creative method of magic, but I enjoyed the way it was described because it was just wonderful. I could truly picture it and that was what made the magic more unique if anything.

Overall, I liked Ever the Hunted a lot and though it had some flaws in it, I would be interested in reading the next one. My final rating is 3.5/5 stars mostly from the the lack of world building. Thanks for reading guys!

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Have you read Ever the Hunted yet? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan on getting it? Let me know down below in the comments! 🙂

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Love is in the Air // ARC Review: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

 photo Secret of a Heart note_zpsrkfclnho.jpgThe Secret of a Heart Note
Author:
Stacey Lee
Series: Standalone
Genre(s): Romance, Magic
Release Date: 12/27/16
Stars:
5 STARS

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Goodreads Description

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee is a perfect spice of romance and growing up. In addition, Lee adds a nice little touch of magic to the general story with our adorable main character, Mim, being an Aromateur. A type of “Witch” that has a nose unlike any other. Mim can smell the heart notes and the personality of the people around her, her ability to do this allows her to create the non-cliché version of a Love Potion.

Mimosa, the main character is what makes this book so fantastic. Her character is so unique. Not to mention, POC, and gosh yes I just loved it so much. One of my favorite things about Mimosa was that though she made mistakes, she is determined to fix them. Some books follow a similar plot, but they are written in such a way that the character sounds petulant and angsty. I felt none of this with Mim. Mim was definitely her own character. Moving on to Court (which I’ll be honest I find that a ridiculous name), he was a normal guy. Perhaps a little cute, the star soccer player, but I loved how he was quite simply just a dude. He had family problems but wasn’t a broken-hearted misunderstood teenage boy like many other teenage boys in YA. He was an extremely comforting character and I thought he supported and stood by Mim really well.

Moving to the plot, I felt like the plot was fantastic. I thought it was so much fun. I loved loved LOVED the concept of this book and the plot kept me loving it more throughout the entirety of the story. The beginning of course isn’t the fastest thing in the world especially, but it was only “slow” for about 30 pages before we get into interesting conflicts. The romance aspect of the plot was adorable and though The Secret of a Heart Note is definitely about love, it isn’t solely focused about love. Does that make any sense? I found the the romance plot mainly focused on Mim and the other characters in the story and how they developed. On a site note, I want to make sure you guys know Mim is only 15. I was stunned by this because I’m 15 and no way would I get a love story that epic at 15…hehe… anyway…

Overall, I really loved The Secret of a Heart Note. This was the first book of Stacey Lee’s that I’ve read and it has definitely convinced me to read some of her other works. Everything about The Secret of a Heart Note was epic and a definite 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cute fuzzy romance with a spice of magic.

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Have you read The Secret of a Heart Note yet? If so, what do you think? Are you anticipating this book?

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