Monday, May 30, 2016

Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Release date: April 26, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 342
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
Well. I'm pretty sad. I think everyone saying how wonderful The Star-Touched Queen is got to me, and I had really high expectations coming in--which were definitely not met. Yes, the writing is pretty and it's an interesting idea, but it fell short for me.

As I said, the writing is pretty. Downright gorgeous in places, but, like I've seen others say, it gets to be too much. There's a difference between making your phrasing evocative and descending almost into senselessness. I'm not saying that's necessarily what's going on in The Star-Touched Queen, but very nearly, for sure.

I also found the middle to be desperately boring. At the beginning of the book, I was totally engaged, loving seeing Maya go into the rafters to spy on her father's meetings and was so interested to see where she'd be going with Amar. But, once Maya gets to Amar's kingdom, the momentum seems to just stop. I went from reaching for the book at every moment to dreading when I'd make myself pick it up again. And I was never sold on Amar and Maya's romance--it made "sense", I suppose, but you've just gotta give me some development of the relationship for me to buy in.

Even so, I didn't completely hate The Star-Touched Queen. The writing had some really wonderful moments, and I loved all the stories Maya told her sister. I know there are countless people who have loved this and I am definitely in the minority, but I simply couldn't get past those problems.

About the author:

Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. The Star-Touched Queen is her first novel.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {149}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Hi y'all! A week back to semi-regular blogging and all is well! This week has been relatively quiet, but I got some AMAZING books, so I won't even talk anymore and get to the goooooods. :)

Oh, and today's actually my blogoversary! 5 YEARS, if you can believe it. I haven't decided how to celebrate yet, sooooo, we'll see? I've been MIA so much, it totally snuck up on me this time around!

For review:

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser (no cover yet!)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
The Crown by Kiera Cass
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

This week is employee appreciation at work, which includes an extra discount! I always save up the books I want to buy for several weeks before (or months, in Rebel's case!) so I can buy the books at work, but also get the great discount. :) A couple of these I've needed for my collections and a couple I need to read!


Gemina (Illuminae #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Books I read this week:
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

I'm currently reading:
It's In His Kiss by Julia Quinn

So that's been my week! I can't deny how much I love having my bookseller affiliation listed on Edelweiss (which is how I got most of those egalleys!), since there's a lot of auto-approvals! It's bad, because this happens, but... :)

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Release date: April 5, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 336
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
I keep thinking I'm totally tired of dystopians, and then I read another and I like it! With Flawed, I knew I liked Cecelia Ahern's adult novels, so I figured, why not? Flawed does fall into some of the dystopians traps we've seen over and over again, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment much.

I always love when your protagonist goes from being someone you really dislike into someone you want to see succeed. This was the case with Celestine for me. She's one dimensional, completely ascribes to her society's ideas, and only strives to be the perfect citizen. But, one action on the bus, when her morals take over her self interest, makes Celestine into someone totally different. It's like flipping a switch; she sees the wrongs of her society, how their interest in perfection has fallen prey to individual's thirst for power.

Flawed isn't terribly long, and I found I read it really quickly--in two short sittings--but I didn't feel like all that much happened. Most of the action is told in the synopsis or you can guess at it--standard dystopian stuff--but, to me, it felt like a big setup. Certainly the sequel, Perfect, can build quickly now, but I'd rather a book that stands on its own, rather than one that feels like its just setting up.

I think the biggest flaw (heh) is that Flawed manages to hit all the dystopian trends. There's a love triangle. There's a distinct bad guy who is controlling the government and attacking our protagonist. At times that government seems a little nonsensical. I wish there had been something new and exciting, but I'm still enjoying the old formula in moderation, and I'm sure others are too.

About the author:

Cecelia Ahern is the award-winning and bestselling author of many adult novels, including P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie--both of which were major motion pictures. Flawed is her debut young adult novel. She resides in Ireland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron {117}

Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Release date: September 13, 2016
What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.
NEED. I've read and loved all of Sharon Cameron's books, so I'm on board! I'm still moderately obsessed with Rook--and have all intentions of shoving it into people's hands again when it comes out in paperback. (I did that with the hardcover...)

 So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh

Release date: April 26, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 384
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Eva Leigh’s deliciously sexy Wicked Quills of London series continues as a Lady’s secret career writing erotic fiction is jeopardized by real-life romance . . .

In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure façade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist?
Well, I had read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Forever Your Earl, so of course I wanted to find out who the Lady of Dubious Quality was, and of course I figured I'd like the book. I wasn't disappointed in who the Lady was, but I will admit I was disappointed in her story. I've been devouring so many historical romances--and really liking most of them--so I guess it was time I had a less than exciting experience.

How I feel it a little hard to put into words. On one hand, I think the sex scenes are a little too much? Obviously, this is romance and you're under no illusions that there aren't going to be some--but I just find them off, somehow. I don't normally glue my eyes to the book when that's happening or anything, but I skipped. A lot.

Otherwise, I felt like a lot of the book dragged. It's a lot of threat and sitting and wishing, without much happening. Normally, the middle is when the character development happens, which is always my favorite part, but I found it a little hard to card about Sarah and Jeremy and their plight.

Honestly, I there's not anything wrong with Temptations of a Wallflower and that most of my problems are largely personal, but it's not a historical romance that's going to stick out for me and I'll certainly remember a lot of other books way before it.

About the author:

EVA LEIGH is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ‘80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {148}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Well hey! I'm baaaaaack! I guess I haven't really been gone, per se, since there have been blog tour posts, but I haven't been doing my regular schedule. I keep saying I'll be back to regular, but hopefully this time it's real! I have a good supply of posts scheduled already, so there won't be that pressure, and I can keep up with being ahead and with commenting. We'll see! :)

Fair warning: There's a lot! It's been over a month since my last STS, and I have a problem.

For review:

Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker
Smoke by Dan Vyleta
Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle
Nemesis by Anna Banks (not pictured)

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt
Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin


The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
And can I just say a ton of Julia Quinn books? I got the rest of the Bridgerton books, plus the first one or two of a couple of her other series. I got a couple more than are here, actually, but I've read them and passed them on already... I love her. Maybe too much. I've already pushed her books on my store manager and a couple of customers.


My ACOMAF pre-order tote! I looove it. :D
US and UK versions of Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, plus some swag (not pictured)

Thanks so much to Bloomsbury for the tote and Molly at Macmillan for the books!

Books I read this week (since last post, at least!):
The Debutante Is Mine by Vivienne Lorrett
An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
When the Duke Was Won by Lorraine Heath
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh
To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn
The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine
When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
Nemesis by Anna Banks

I'm currently reading:
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

So that's been my week (month?)! Are y'all exhausted? I am! I told you it would be a lot, and it was more than I expected! I've got a lot of reading to do. :)

On another note, those pictures look so good on my phone and then I move them over to my computer and they look...not so good. For once I had good lighting, only to have grainy pictures anyway. Sigh. I guess I need to start using my real camera again, huh? 

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blog Tour: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine {Review + Playlist + Giveaway}

Release date: May 10, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 352
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee. 

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job. 

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love. 
With The Season of You and Me being my third experience with Robin Constantine, it now comes as no surprise how delightful I find her books. Cass and Bryan are another pair of endearing, fly-off-the-page characters whose faces you simply want to smash together, and The Season of You and Me is the perfect book to kick-start you into summer.

We're all familiar with the trope of a girl heading into summer with the intentions of escaping a boy, only to find a love where she never expected. What makes The Season of You and Me more than its trope are the characters, both the main and the secondary.

Cassidy is frustrating at times, because she really is running away and can't seem to put aside a guy who treated her badly, but she's just genuinely a nice person. And we see that in how she deals with her family--her little brother in particular--the people she meets at Camp Manatee, and also especially in her relationship with Bryan. It's kind of hard to dislike someone who's just nice, right?

Bryan is different in that he's clearly a good person, but he's got a lot of pain, and a good deal of anger. He's had time to adjust, but the kind of change he's experienced can't be adjusted to quickly, and he's got some ways to go. He feels worth so much less than he used to be, and he comes to realize that not being able-bodied doesn't diminish anything about him--aside from the literal use of his less.

With the secondary, we've got a whole cast of friends who jockey for time, with Tori and Wade taking the biggest roles, and Cassidy's litter brother, Hunter, being adorable.

It's through these relationships (Bryan's with all of his friends, but Wade especially, and his kids at camp; Cassidy's with pretty much everyone) that we really get to know Bryan and Cass, and see just why they work. And this is why The Season of You and Me stands out. Certainly, you're treated to a comfortable summer romance, but there's no shortage of characters to love, either!

About the author:

Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.

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