Blog Tour | The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa | Review

Wicked faeries and fantastic danger… Welcome to book one of the new trilogy in New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey fantasy series, as infamous prankster Puck finally has a chance to tell his story and stand with allies new and old to save Faery and the world. 

“YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF ME…”

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten. Filled with myths and faery lore, romance and unfathomable dangers, The Iron Raven is book one of a new epic fantasy trilogy set in the world of The Iron Fey.

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks | Google Play

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have not read the other books set in this world, but having loved some of Julie Kagawa’s other books I definitely wanted to pick this one up. It can definitely be read without reading the past books, but I’m sure having them as a foundation would give more oomph to it.

I really enjoyed how fast paced this was, I didn’t really feel like there were any sections that dragged. It was easy to get immersed in the quest that the characters went on and no one really felt superfluous to me. I will definitely be going back and reading the previous books in this world and look forward to any future installments that are coming in the future!

JULIE KAGAWA is the New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, The Talon Saga and the Shadow of the Fox series. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden and training in martial arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a plethora of pets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Series Review | Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova

NIGHTSCHOOL answers the age-old question: Where do demons get their diplomas? Schools may close for the night and the lights may be off, but the classes still run. The Nightschool is education for a different crowd – vampires, demons and weirns, a special breed of witches. When Alex, a young weirn, enrolls in a Nightschool to learn what has become of her sister, will she be prepared for what she finds there?

Now that I’ve finished the four volumes of Nightschool, I wanted to kind of do a wrap up on my feelings about it. First things first, I really enjoy the world that Svetlana Chmakova has created here and would pick up anything else she writes in this world. At the end of this series I was definitely left wanting more but not because I felt there wasn’t enough, just because I felt like I just wanted more and more of this world. The art style is very manga-esque and I loved it as it was able to portray the characters and creatures well. I would love to learn more about some of the adults in the series, since it seems each of them could have amazing back stories on their own.

If you like paranormal worlds and mystical beings, I would definitely recommend picking up this series. They are quick and fun reads and will fly right by!

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Review | Ring the Bell by Josie Jaffrey

Scale the mountain. Ring the bell. Buy your freedom. Or trade the prize to change the world.

Mia’s life is defined by the Surge. The race comes every five years, and she’s determined to win it. She’ll make it to the top first, ring the bell and set her family free.

But victory comes at a price. The faster she runs, the more people she’ll condemn to death in the valley below.
In Unterstrom, only the strongest survive.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I went into this short story pretty blind, but really enjoyed the world that Jaffrey crafted in its whort length. It follows Mia as from when she is a small child, living through something in her community called The Surge. What that actually is is revealed slowly throughout the story. If you’re a fan of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, this certainly has some similar tones and themes to it, but in a different way. Jaffrey’s writing, even in this short length, is engaging and I look forward to reading more of her stories.

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Chit Chat | Asian Dramas to Watch Based On Your Reading

Hey everyone! I know a lot of people have recently been getting into watching Asian dramas as of late, especially Kdramas (Korean dramas), especially with the selection that Netflix has had and been adding. Here’s a little secret – though I’m not Korean or Asian, I have been watching them for years. Part of this is because my partner is Korean (and his mom likes to sometimes recommend some) and part of it is because I’ve always been interested in Asian cultures. Plus, Hulu used to have a massive catalog of Kdramas and was always spamming me with ads for Boys Over Flowers – so I fully fell down the rabbit hole. I have come nowhere near to watching a huge amount of dramas, but I like to think I’ve watched some really good ones. There are definitely some genres or types that I feel line up well with book tropes and book genres, so here are some fun recommendations that I have.

Do you love Paranormal books? Anything featuring monsters or ghosts? There are a lot of Korean movies or dramas that take on the zombie genre, but if you’re looking for something other than zombies I would recommend Goblin: The Great and Lonely God, Black or Scholar Who Walks the Night. If you want a paranormal drama with a comedy twist then go for any version of Oh My Ghostess. Another great one that is darker but definitely has a lot of comedy thrown in is The Master’s Sun.

Do you like books that have gaming or the gaming/tech industry in it? I have a couple Chinese dramas for you! They both have a lot of romantic comedy aspect to them, but Love O2O tackles other issues as well, such as how female gamers are viewed (especially if they excel at the game). Another great one is Go Go Squid! which had me laughing and crying at the same time way too many times!

Ok, so I know that contemporary romance, especially romantic comedy is a huge genre when it comes to books, so I would be remiss if I didn’t cover some dramas that were great romantic comedies to dive into. This one is going to require a list!

  • What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?
  • Cinderella and the Four Knights
  • Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon
  • I Hear You
  • 1% of Something

I just know some people are waiting for me to get to historical fantasy shows and there are definitely some great ones. If you want a Korean fantasy that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones in it’s political scheming then check out Arthdal Chronicles – I haven’t finished this one yet, but what I’ve seen of it so far has me hooked. I would also recommend Gu Family Book (also known as Kangchi: The Beginning) and Eternal Love (also known as Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms).

There are tons more that I could talk about, but I think that’s all I’m going to include in today’s post. If you’re wondering where you can watch Asian dramas Netflix does have a great selection. Another option and where I watch a lot of the dramas I watch is Viki.com – they have a huge catalog of shows from multiple countries as well as movies and are constantly adding new content.

Let me know if you’d like to know about more Asian dramas in the future and thanks for letting me indulge in a fun post today. 🙂

Happy reading and happy watching!

Review | Living With Mochi by Gemma Gené

Gemma Gene’s adorable comics celebrate fur-parenthood and the extreme love you experience when you look into your dog’s eyes. If you are never alone when you go to the bathroom, are forced to share your food, and find your life ruled by a sassy fur ball, Living With Mochi is the perfect book for you.

When architect-turned-cartoonist Gemma Gené first met her pet pug, Mochi, she felt as if time stopped. This dramatic moment and her adoring relationship with the rambunctious pug led her to begin chronicling her adventures with Mochi in a series of incredibly cute webcomics that have gained a social media following of half a million loyal readers. The comics chronicle Mochi’s life from puppyhood to adulthood, featuring Mochi’s unrequited dog friendships, his jealousy of his two dog-brothers, and his love of food. Readers and dog parents will love this humorous tale of a sincerely loyal friendship between one grumpy pug and his adoring owner.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was so adorably cute! I’m not a pug owner and am pretty solidly in the cat camp, but as someone who loves pet in general and has owned both dogs and cats in the past, this was wonderful. It perfectly illustrates pet and owner personalities and interactions. If you’re a pet owner or love animals, you will likely enjoy these mostly single page comics about Mochi the pug and his humans. This is definitely a great read if you’re looking for something to put a smile on your face.

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Review | Hazel and Grey by Nic Stone

Two anxious young lovers lost in the woods. A beckoning mansion in a dark clearing. A short modern-day retelling of Hansel and Gretel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin.

It’s bad enough that Hazel and Gray have defied the demands of Hazel’s foul stepfather. The Monster has forbidden their romance. Now they’ve awakened in the forest, phones dead, hours past curfew. But not far away is a grand estate in the middle of nowhere. The door is open. In this short story about choosing your own path, the fury of the Monster that awaits them back home may be nothing compared to what lies ahead.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This one was definitely not what I was expecting when I thought of a Hansel and Gretel retelling. While I did like the twists in the story and the darker elements, I found it to be very predictable and had guessed who the ‘bad guy’ was going to be, and the connections between characters. I was not expecting what the house they found would be and didn’t realize just how far it would go with that, so I’m not sure how I feel about that. That being said the story did fly by and I found Nic Stone’s writing style compelling and easy to read.

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Blog Tour | Back in the Texan’s Bed by Naima Simone | Review

He’s going to claim his child and the woman who got away…from USA TODAY bestselling author Naima Simone. Will they ever learn that giving in to desire is playing with fire?

After discovering he has a secret son, oil heir Ross Edmond isn’t letting Charlotte Jarrett walk away again. He proposes they move in together—to share their son…and a bed. But Charlotte has secrets, and Ross doesn’t know the real reason his family’s former chef left town three years ago—and they still have a powerful enemy who could bring them both down…

Buy Links | Harlequin | B&N | Booksamillion | Amazon | Indie bound

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This story contains a few different tropes, some that I often enjoy and some that don’t always hit right for me. I always enjoy a good second chance romance but the secret baby storyline isn’t always what I reach for. I really enjoyed the Charlotte herself, but the miscommunication between her and Ross was just too much for too long. There were also some instances where side characters didn’t seem to be quite consistent between their words and actions, but most of the characters were enjoyable to read. All in all I did enjoy the story and would read more of Naima Simone’s writing as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Nora Roberts years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Published since 2009, she spends her days writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. She is wife to Superman–or his non-Kryptonian equivalent–and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern US.

Author Links | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Review | The Hazards of Love Vol 1 by Stan Stanley

The Hazards of Love follows the story of a queer teen from Queens who makes some mistakes, gets dragged into a fantastical place, and tries to hustle their way back home.

Amparo’s deal with the talking cat was simple: a drop of blood and Amparo’s name to become a better person. Their mother and abuela would never worry about them again, and they’d finally be worthy of dating straight-A student Iolanthe. But when the cat steals their body, becoming the better person they were promised, Amparo’s spirit is imprisoned in a land of terrifying, flesh-hungry creatures known as Bright World.

With cruel and manipulative masters and a society that feeds on memories, Amparo must use their cleverness to escape, without turning into a monster like the rest. On “the other side,” Iolanthe begins to suspect the new Amparo has a secret, and after the cat in disguise vanishes, she’s left searching for answers with a no-nonsense medium from the lesbian mafia and the only person who might know the truth about Bright World. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was really intrigued by the premise of this one so though I would pick it up. The art style was vibrant and punchy and had me instantly enjoying it but I did find the story a little hard to get into. It starts with action off the bat and the introduction of Bright World is like being thrown in head first. This made it a little hard for me to understand at first, but as the story goes on we learn along with the main character as they navigate it and it definitely picks up. The second half was more and more enjoyable as it went along and I was a little bummed when I reached the end. Though the first half definitely was slow for me, I would be eager to read the next volume to see what happens!

Happy reading!

Kindle Deals | 2/8

Hey everyone! I figured it had been a while since I had shared some kindle deals and found a few great ones! As always keep in mind that these prices may change or be different where you are so always double check before buying.

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao ($1.99)Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed ($1.99)Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta ($0.99)Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill. Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron ($2.99)Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria | Review

An Ember in the Ashes meets Mask of Shadows in Emily Victoria’s #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame, in which asexual Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant automaton Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible – she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father – their nation’s greatest traitor – once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

BUY LINKS | Bookshop.org | Powell’s | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Amazon | Chapters | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was not expecting this book to suck me in from the beginning, but it did. The beginning definitely gives a good introduction to Karis and her motivations and it hits the ground running so to speak. I did enjoy the setting and aspects of Ancient Greek that were woven into the world/story. The duel perspectives of Karis and Alix were well played off of each other and it was nice to have a perspective that wasn’t just another human character. I loved the inclusion and diversity of the characters and their orientations without it being a huge thing. Those are my favorite types of inclusive stories, when it’s just normalized within the world. There were definitely aspects where the story could have gone a little farther, but overall I really enjoyed the story and the characters. Even minor characters were given fleshed out identities that were wonderful to read and breathed life to them even as the main characters worked through their adventure. I could see this having a sequel or companion, but I think it’s meant to be a standalone – still, the potential is there.

Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.

SOCIAL LINKS |
Author website: https://www.avictoriantale.com/

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale

Happy reading!