Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My Thoughts: Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

by Meagan Spooner
Website | Twitter | Instagram

Publication Date: March 19th 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 467
ISBN: 9780062422316
Genre: Young Adult | Retelling | Historical Fiction
Source: Edelweiss / Copy from Publisher

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Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancĂ©.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood. (Goodreads)

I was super excited when a copy of Sherwood by Meagan Spooner arrived on my doorstep a few weeks back, and I absolutely couldn’t wait to devour this book! I am a big fan of Meagan’s writing, and I really enjoyed the last book I read by her, Hunted, which was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I couldn’t wait to get started on Sherwood to see what Meagan had in store for us in this new book!

I am a pretty huge fan of fairytale retellings, as I love when an author takes an old story, puts their own twist on it, and makes it something completely new. I always find these stories familiar, yet unique, and I am always looking for new ones to read. Sherwood is a retelling of Robin Hood, and a really enjoyed Meagan’s version of this classic story. Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood, I know I read the children’s version of the story a million times growing up, and I appreciated the familiarity in this book. That being said, I really loved the twist in the story as well!

First off, the main character, Maid Marian, is the hero in the story, and I really love the it’s a girl that saves the day. Though I can’t even imagine living in this time period, and trying to do the things that she did throughout the story. (This time period was not kind to women.) But good for Marian for taking charge! I love that! (I’m not going to say much more on that, so read the book if you want to know more!) Just rest assured, she is awesome. Also, there are also a lot of other familiar characters in the book that you’ll remember from the original story as well!

I have to say that the storyline for the book kind of caught me by surprise! Obviously I knew it was a retelling, but it went in a completely different direction from what I was expecting. The first chapter was a bit of a shocker, and was not at all what I expected. While I enjoyed reading this book, I did have a few small issues with it, two being that it was a bit slow at times, and it seemed to end a bit abruptly as well. I also didn’t really buy the relationship between Marian and Guy, despite how hard I tried to like it. Otherwise, this was a really interesting read.

Overall; If you’re a fan of retellings, especially those of Robin Hood, you should definitely add Sherwood to your TBR! I’m really glad to have read the book, and it’s a welcome addition to my shelf along with Hunted, which is also by Meagan Spooner! Check them out, and I hope you love them!

Monday, March 25, 2019

My Thoughts: The Light Over London by Julie Kelly

The Light Over London
by Julia Kelly
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Publication Date: January 8th 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781501196416
Genre: Adult Fiction | Historical Fiction
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

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Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-read for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted.

It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.

In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.

Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties. (Goodreads)

This year I am on a mission to read more historical fiction novels, and The Light Over London by Julia Kelly was one of books I was most excited to check out this season. This is the very first book I’ve read by this author, and I was super curious to check it out. It did not disappoint!!

I have to say that the storyline for this book was very interesting. The story is set during World War II, and is told in both past and present narrative. The past parts of the book are told via an old World War II diary that the main character, Cara, discovers while working her job as an antiques dealer. The more she reads the diary, the more curious she becomes about its author, Louise, and the life that she had lead. Determined to find the author of the diary, Cara sets out with the help of her new neighbor, in hopes of returning it to its original owner once again.

I haven’t read very many historical fiction novels set in WWII, but I’m definitely trying to read more, and the more I read them, the more I want to read MORE of them. Of the ones I have read so far, this book is definitely one of the lighter reads. While it did talk about things that happened during the war, that wasn’t the main focus of the book. (That did not make the story any less enjoyable, I should add.) I loved reading the historical parts of the story, (I seriously can’t get enough of them), and reading about all the things Louise went through during her time in the women’s branch of the army was really interesting. I can't imagine doing all the things that she did, but it was definitely fascinating to read about. And, oh did she definitely have an interesting story to tell.

I also enjoyed Cara’s part of the story as well, including her discovery of the diary, and all that she had been through as well. The relationship growth between her and her new neighbor was super cute, and I really enjoyed those parts of the story as well.

Overall; The Light Over London was a quick, interesting World War II era read! I really enjoyed the lightness of the story, and I flew through the pages faster than I expected to. I definitely need more books like this in my collection, and I’m hoping to read more soon! I will definitely keep my eye out for more books by this author as well.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

My Thoughts: Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Circle of Shadows
(Circle of Shadows #1)
by Evelyn Skye
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Publication Date: January 22nd 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 454
ISBN: 9780062643728
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Source: Own

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A thrilling new fantasy series full of magic and betrayal—from Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series.

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever. (Goodreads)

Circle of Shadows is the first book in a brand new fantasy series by Evelyn Skye, and this book is a MUST READ! I read the first book in Evelyn’s previous series, The Crown’s Game, a while back and very much enjoyed it, so of course I was super excited to check out this new book. I’m happy to say that this book did not disappoint!!

I don’t often read fantasy novels as much as I used to, but after reading Circle of Shadows, I definitely want to read more. The storyline for this book was super addictive, and I absolutely couldn’t get enough of it. There’s action and suspense, and MAGIC, which was probably one of my most favorite things in the story. I don’t want to go too in-depth and accidentally ruin anything, because reading this book is an experience in itself, so I’ll just say if you’re a fan of magical fantasy novels, you will most definitely want to check this out.

I should also mention that this story has a pretty awesome cast of characters as well! The story is told from two different viewpoints, both from the two main characters, Sora, and her gemina, Daemon, who are both apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas. What does that mean, you ask? It means that they are both “marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona”. (Sounds interesting, right?! It is!!) I love both of these characters so much, and I’m super curious to see what will be next for them in as the series moves along. There are also a lot of interesting secondary characters to love as well!

Overall; fans of the fantasy genre will definitely want to check out Circle of Shadows! I very much enjoyed the book, and I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen next in the story. I’m not sure at the moment if this series is a duology or a trilogy, but I do know that the second book, Cloak of Night, is currently set to release in 2020, and I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on it ASAP! If you do read the book, I hope that you enjoy it just as much as I did!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Red Scrolls of Magic & Sky Without Stars

The Red Scrolls of Magic
by Cassandra Clare
Website | Twitter | Instagram
& Wesley Chu

Publication Date: April 2nd 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN: 9781481495080

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From #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and award-winner Wesley Chu comes the first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel.

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping. (Goodreads)

Is anyone else super excited about this book??
I looooove Magnus Bane, and I can't wait to see what he and Alex are up to in this book!

Sky Without Stars
(System Divine #1)
by Jessica Brody
Website | Twitter | Instagram
& Joanne Rendell
Website | Twitter | Instagram

Publication Date: March 26th 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781534410633

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A thief. An officer. A guardian.

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les MisĂ©rables. (Goodreads)

Ummmm... is it just me....
Or does this book sound AWESOME?!
I am super excited to check it out!!
**"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.**

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

My Thoughts: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Audiobook)

On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
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Publication Date: February 5th 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 464
ISBN: 9780062498564
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Source: *Finished Copy from Publisher

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Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families. (Goodreads)

I was a little late to the party when it came to reading Angie Thomas’s first book, The Hate U Give, but once I finally read the book, I absolutely loved it, and I was determined to read On the Come Up as soon as I possibly could. I am so glad that I dived into this book right away, instead of waiting like I did with the previous book. I definitely enjoyed it, and this will most definitely be another hit for Angie Thomas!

While this book is set around the same neighborhood as The Hate U Give, it’s a brand new story and set of characters to get to know. I really enjoyed all the characters in this novel, including the main character, Bri, who wanted nothing more than to become a famous rapper so she could provide for her family and get them out of their current neighborhood. I love Bri for this, and she definitely has the skills to be a great rapper. I also really love her family and friends as well. They were all so well written.

This book also has a really great storyline, which was not only addictive, but also complete relevant to things that are happening in the world today. As with The Hate U Give, reading On the Come Up was definitely an eye-opening experience, and it made me feel all sorts of feels. It’s rare that I experience such a wide range of emotions when reading a book, yet Angie Thomas has made me feel these things not once but TWICE, and I love her for it.

I also want to add that I started reading the print version of this book at first, but then I opted to listen along with audiobook as I read, which was definitely the best decision ever. The narrator for the audiobook is Bahni Turpin, who also narrated The Hate U Give, and she was definitely the best voice for this novel. She does such an amazing job reading this story to you, and I very much enjoyed every bit of it. (If you haven’t listened to anything narrated by Bahni, I highly recommend you do so. She is the best!)

Overall; It’s pretty obvious that Angie Thomas has yet another hit on her hands with On the Come Up! I loved both this new book and The Hate U Give, and if you haven’t yet picked up either of these books, I definitely recommend them. Angie Thomas is an author that you definitely want to keep your eye out for, as I imagine we will see more and more excellent books from her. She has definitely become an auto-buy author for me.

Monday, March 4, 2019

My Thoughts: Courting Darkness by Robin LaFever

Courting Darkness
(Courting Darkness Duology #1)
by Robin LaFevers
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Publication Date: February 5th 2019
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 512
ISBN: 9780544991194
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical Fiction
Source: Own

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Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about? (Goodreads)

Courting Darkness is the very first book in the brand new Courting Darkness duology by Robin LaFevers, and is also the very first book I have ever read by Robin as well! I have had her His Fair Assassin series on my TBR for the longest, but I have not yet had the pleasure of reading it. I am beyond thrilled to have finally read something by her, and now I can’t wait to read more!!

Courting Darkness has both a very interesting storyline, and a great cast of characters. The story is told from two main characters’ viewpoints, and I definitely enjoyed reading both of their stories. Genevieve and Sybella are both daughters of Death, and the whole idea of this being a thing was completely fascinating. Both girls lead completely different lives, yet also have entwining storylines, and I was completely awed by them both. I’m super curious to see what their futures hold in the next book. There are also a lot of interesting secondary characters to meet in the story as well.

The storyline for this book was very interesting, and while it got off to a bit of a slow start, (for me, anyways), it picked up pretty quickly and I devoured it as sooner than I expected to. I really wish that I would have read the His Fair Assassin trilogy before starting this new series, as I feel like there were a lot of things referenced from that series in this new book that I didn’t understand. However, most things were pretty well explained, and I was only confused a few times. (I will, however, most definitely check out that first series asap!)

Overall; My first experience with a book by Robin LaFevers was definitely a success, and I absolutely can’t wait to read more to see where this Courting Darkness duology will go. I am also super excited to check out the His Fair Assassin series as well, and since I just recently added the first book from that series to my collection, I am hoping to get to it soon!

Friday, March 1, 2019

My March '19 TBR!

Happy First Day of March, Bookworms!!

Can you believe that February flew by so quickly?
I can't believe it is March already!

My reading is not going quite as well as I had hoped so far this year,
and I'm currently behind on my TBR, 
which is something that I definitely plan to tackle this month!
I am hoping to read all of the books pictured below, 
and more!!

Here is some of what I'm reading in March:
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine
Soldier by Julie Kagawa
The Elite by Kiera Cass
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

• • •

I also have a few e-ARCs and books from January and February to catch up on as well.
I'm super excited to get started on all of these,
and to hopefully get caught back up.
I hate being behind!

• • •

What's on your TBR this month??

March Bookstagram Challenge!! #AlltheBooksMarch19


Are you looking for a fun Book Challenge for March??
If so, head over to Instagram and join Lori (loriimagination) and I 
for our March Book Challenge, #AlltheBooksMarch19!!

Why should you join along?

1. It's a lot of fun!

2. You get to see awesome book photos ALL DAY LONG!!

3. It's great way to discover new books, and meet new people!

4. Did I mention that you get to see photos of books all day?
(It's seriously the best!)

Sound like fun? It is! Head over to Instagram and check it out!!