Waiting on Wednesday #13: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King


Hi everyone! Welcome to another "Waiting on Wednesday" post (meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!). 

This week I am waiting on:



The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
June 1st 2017, Skyscape
YA Fantasy
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.
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I LOVE THIS BOOK'S COVER SO MUCH! It's the reason why it made me want to know what this book was about and then fall hard for how it sounds! I mean, have you read the blurb??!? I love how the main character goes from being considered weak due to her health to someone strong, proving them all wrong. Granted she is forced into a fight she does not want/opposes, but I'm already rooting for her to kick butt and set things right. I also want to know what hidden abilities she possesses and meet this handsome Captain *wink wink*. Have you added this book to your TBR?
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What are you waiting on this week? :)

Book Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Title: Long Way Home
Series: Thunder Road #3
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published:  January 31st, 2017
Page Count: 448 pages
Format: eARC
Source: From publisher via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review


Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating:  4/5 stars

.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.


Long Way Home by Katie McGarry is a spectacular addition to the Thunder Road series and my favorite yet. It's darker and fiercer then ever, a thrilling ride that challenges love, friendship, and where each character's loyalties lie.

What I Loved:

While Nowhere But Here and Walk the Edge can be read as standalone companion novels, Long Way Home's storyline is set up perfectly to match the puzzle pieces left unanswered from the first two books. It's fast-paced and action-packed from page one, and it doesn't dally much with introductions since at this point we are already familiar with the characters.

This book takes readers deeper into the secrets of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club and their long time feud with their rival gang--the Riot. The previous books barely scratch the surface of these clubs as they focus more in the blooming relationships between the main characters of each book, and while we do get some romance, it's not its sole focus. For once, both main characters, Violet and Chevy, are inside the Reign of Terror's circle and they are set on finding answers, for their lives are suddenly at stake.

Katie McGarry, so far, has created excellent characters in this series, but I've noticed that she excels in writing fierce women who don't like to sit down and let men protect them or do their job when they can well do it on their own, like Violet. She's a headstrong, independent young woman who demands and deserves respect. Despite her hurt and her personal issues, at the end of the day she's the kind of person whose instinct is to protect those she loves even if she puts herself at risk, and she's hardly recognized for it until now. Even I failed to notice how amazing she's as a character until I reached her point of view in this book. But now I'm glad to say that Violet is my favorite female character from this series.

We also get great male character leads in the Thunder Road series, but unlike Oz and Razor from the first two installments, I like how Chevy is actually a character torn about the paths he wants to take-- either stay with the Reign of Terror or pursue a life outside the club that includes a college career and football. Chevy is a character who does try to weigh in the pros and cons of either life, and while it does have a toll on him as he battles with himself, he is a lot more open minded than the previous main characters of the series.

And while Violet and Chevy already have history between each other and their relationship doesn't give the opportunity to fall in love with them for the first time, it's really hard not to sigh and wish for a love like theirs. Their feelings for each other runs deeper and stronger than newfound love, and it shows other wonderful aspects in a relationship like trust, safety, friendship and forgiveness. Come to think of it,  this also applies with their relationships with friends and family members. Most of these relationships are broken due to lack of trust and misunderstandings, but as the novel progresses, most of them have a chance to heal and a second chance at trust.

What left me wanting more:

While I love how The Reign of Terror is a family made out of friends who deeply care for one another, their old century thinking still doesn't sit well with me. They are surrounded by amazing, independent women and yet they don't like to rely on or trust them. This way of thinking has often risked their well-being from their enemies (the Riot), but I guess that's the price to pay when there's inequality (in this kind of environment). However, things seem to be about to change, and I enjoy every time women prove to these old guys how they can be equally badass.

Also, I'm not going to lie, my favorite couple still is Razor and Breanna from Walk the Edge, so I had hopes to read more about them in Long Way Home. Unfortunately, only Razor and Oz make appearances. I still loved having them around and help Chevy and Violet save the day, but it would have been nice to have more young girl power since Violet was mostly alone in this one.

Final Verdict:

Long Way Home is one of the most anticipated YA Contemporary novels of early 2017 and with good reason. Readers won't be disappointed with Violet's and Chevy's story for not only will they fall in love with them, but they will also come one step closer to uncovering all the Reign of Terror secrets. Now to wait for the next book!

The Week's Entrée #138

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

Last week we got the sweet surprise that Epic Reads featured our bookish heart photo (in celebration of Valentine's day) in their weekly post of favorite bookstagrammers! It's the second time they do this and damn, did it makes us so happy ♥ You can check out their post to discover even more amazing bookstagrammers and below is our bookish heart. Gotta say, it came out looking so perfect. ♥.♥


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New books!
{For review}
From publishers, authors, Netgalley/Edelweiss, etc.



Huge thanks to Feiwell & Friends for granting me access to read The Love Interest (so excited to read it!). And another big thanks to Merit Press and T.R. Wolf for sending me review copies of Silent and The Auctor Trilogy. They are soooo pretty in person!

{Purchased}


I screamed when I saw that Of Fire and Stars was a kindle daily deal last Saturday! I've been wanting to read for so long and I'm so happy that I snatched a copy for such a deal. ♥ 

{Won}


And I won an audible audiobook of Timekeeper by Tara Sim! Cannot wait to finish my current audiobook to start listening to this one. ♥
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To Read This Week:


I will be buddy reading Seeking Mansfield with the lovely Becky from Book Nerd Addict and I will also dive into my eARC of Daughter of the Pirate King. SO NERVOUS. I heard that DOTPK is AMAZING so my expectations are sky high. 
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And that's it for The Week's Entrée! What are you all reading? :)

Waiting on Wednesday #12: Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott


Hi everyone! Welcome to another "Waiting on Wednesday" post (meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!). 

This week I am waiting on:



Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott
October 10th 2017, Knopf Books for Young Readers
YA Mystery
Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.
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This book sounds incredible! A treasure hunt with mysterious teens touched by magic? Count me in! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy and to proudly display it on my shelf ♥ You must add this book to you TBR!
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What are you waiting on this week? :)

Release Day Review: The Union by S. Usher Evans

Title: The Union
Series: Madion War Trilogy #3
Author: S. Usher Evans
Genre: NA Fantasy/Dystopian
Publisher: Sun's Golden Day Publishing
Publication Date:  February 14th, 2017
Page Count:  277 pages
Format:  ARC
Source: From author in exchange of an honest review


Summary:
Fifty years of war have led to this. 

Prince Galian spends his days ministering to the sick in Kylae, but his nights strategizing how to change hearts and minds of his people. With the death camp closed, the country is becoming more volatile, and even King Grieg may not be able to maintain control over the warring factions.

Across the Great Madion Sea, Theo Kallistrate seeks an audience with the Raven rebels, rumored to be brewing insurrection against President Bayard. But they don't trust her, and progress has been achingly slow. When the war takes a major turn, Theo and Galian find themselves front and center in a political firestorm that could end with their union…or their funeral.

The Union is the final book in the Madion War Trilogy, which readers have called, "fast-paced," "compelling," and "not to be missed."
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 5/5 stars

First of all, HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO THE UNION! I read this wonderful book a few months ago and even after all this time, I cannot stop thinking how amazing and heart-stopping this book is. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and basically felt all the feels in this epic conclusion to the Madion War Trilogy. My heart still hurts that this trilogy is over, but I am a happy to have gone on such a fantastic journey with Theo and my princeling, Galian. ♥

These two amazing main characters suffer so much throughout the series, battling with their beliefs, their expectations as citizens of warring countries, and their love for each other that only seems to be their downfall. Theo and Galian grow so much throughout the series, especially Galian, that by the time I reached the end of The Union (and recovered from a mini heart-attack) I felt so darn proud of both of them. 

The Union also made me fall more in love with the secondary characters. I didn't think Rhys, Kader, or even the Queen would manage to make me like them so much, but I did. I ended up looking forward to their scenes a lot (such smart people!). But my full appreciation goes to Rhys for being incredibly funny as well. I want one like him!!! (And I hope Galian doesn't see this).

However, if I had to point out one thing that really stood out to me in The Union, is how realistic Theo & Galian manage their relationship and how they deal with their problems. Being apart and having things on their minds takes a toll on them so their reactions were something I found interesting and that really added to the story.

OH BUT THE ENDING. Remember that mini panic-attack I mentioned earlier? Yeah, well, it's because S. Usher Evans is evil and plays with our feelings. I cannot say what happens for obvious reasons but I will say that it'll shatter your heart into a hundred pieces. Or, you know, poke you until you bleed dry from so many holes.

So yes, I highly recommend you read the Madion War Trilogy. It is full of feels, bad-ass characters, one charming Princeling, and an epic ending you definitely do not want to miss!

The Week's Entrée #137

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

Guys, I remember yesterday that I had something to tell you all about but now I CANNOT REMEMBER. I feel that it was somehow important... OH WELL. But what I can tell you right now is that OHMYGOSH I am SUFFERING reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. SO MUCH. I am buddy reading this book and it has been excellent to have someone to discuss and all, and yet we both don't want to finish it because we have a feeling our ship will never sail or will drown or shot down *cries all the tears*. Will tell you all next week how it goes if we do end up finishing it. IF I can bear to write a post... or a review.



Have you guys been reading any good books lately? Books that have taken over your mind 24/7? Please do let me know which so I can check them out. I have a feeling I'm heading straight into the worst book hangover EVER.
.......

New books!
{For review}
From publishers, authors, Netgalley/Edelweiss, etc.


Thanks to the pubs for granting me access to these two titles. Cannot wait to read them!

{Purchased}


This book was $0.99 so I had to snatch a kindle copy! 

{Won}


I won a HB copy of Caraval by Stephanie Garber from the lovelies Helena & Becky from Book Nerd Addict! So so excited to read this book with them too ♥
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To Read This Week:


Still reading Long May She Reign! Have to finish this one (I'm barely in chapter 2 LOL). I'm not sure which book I'll be reading next... maybe Caraval.
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And that's it for The Week's Entrée! What are you all reading? :)

Lessons In Falling Blog Tour: Lessons Learned + Giveaway


Hi everyone! Today I'm happy to share with you a lesson I learned back when I was in High School as part of the Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher blog tour and the Lessons Learned event pulled together by Spencer Hill Press. Below you can also read a bit about this amazing book that just came out on February 7th and don't forget to watch the wonderful book trailer! Thanks for stopping by. :)
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Lessons in Falling
by Diana Gallagher
YA Contemporary
February 7th, 2017 from Spencer Hill Press
When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee –and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.

That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.

Savannah wants to understand what happened, but Cassie refuses to talk about it and for the first time, Savannah has to find her own way. The only person she can turn to is Marcos, the boy who saved Cassie’s life. Being with him makes her see who she could be and what she really wants: gymnastics.

But Cassie doesn’t approve of Marcos or of Savannah going back to gymnastics, and the tighter she tries to hold onto Savannah, the farther it pulls them apart. Without Cassie to call the shots, Savannah discovers how capable she is on her own—and that maybe her best friend’s been holding her back all along.
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Lessons Learned Event!

Spencer Hill Press is having an amazing promotional event in celebration of Diana Gallagher sharing her own "Lessons Learned" with her readers. Now, they're asking readers to share their own! Below is a description of the event:
"Want to share your own Lessons Learned?? It's easy! Tell us about a time in your life when you persevered, despite a bad situation, and what lessons you learned from that situation. Share it however you like - on your blog, your social media, wherever! Submit your link to the Rafflecopter below and share the giveaway with your friends to win an annotated ARC!"
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Isn't that awesome? So I thought to share my own lesson learned (sorry if it's a bit too long and not that cheerful):


When I was in middle school, I had a classmate in a specialty class who suddenly started losing a lot of weight and there were rumors going around that she was often found in the bathroom throwing up her lunch. I wasn't close to her so I couldn't know for certain if the rumors were true, and I often found myself wanting to approach her and ask if she was okay but I was terrified of offending her. As it turns out, I later found out that the rumors were complete lies which was a relief in itself, but they did a lot of damage during the time they were floating around. This classmate suffered a lot of "concerned" bullying and full-blown bullying from teachers, friends and classmates, people always talking behind her back but no one being brave enough to ask. Including me. She transferred to another school and I didn't see her for a while until we met by chance and talked about everything, including everything that happened in Middle School. (She is doing great, by the way!)

I was a chubby teenager throughout Middle School and my first year of High School, but during my second semester, I decided to finally lose some weight. I asked my mom to help me out and together we worked hard to plan my meals. I cut back from desserts and upped my veggies. I started working out 1-2 hours per day, even waking up at 5 am every day  to walk/run for half an hour before going to school. I did this for 3 months straight and people were starting to notice my results. And the rumors started to spread too. That I was bulimic, that I was starving myself, and other harsh stuff were being said about me. Complete lies, I worked my butt off to lose weight!

The thing is, in a way, I appreciate the concern, but I would have appreciated more for people to talk to me, to ask me, and to believe me when I said I was working out and eating healthily (not starving myself!). I 'suffered' the same thing my MS classmate suffered and it was then that I understood what she went through, what the lack of support this huge accomplishment to changing your habits and doing something for yourself, could cause to one's self esteem. It made me sad for this classmate, for she was around 13 years old when this happened to her, while I was close to 16 and, I guess, could take on more of this "concerned" bullying. Like I mentioned, she's fine now, but I can somehow imagine how hurt she must have felt when everyone spoke about her, to the point of having to switch schools and start over. It was not fair. I wish I could have been there for her and give her the right kind of support.

To be clear, I call it "concerned" bullying because people sometimes believe that they know better about certain situations and decide to have a say in the matter, to hear but not listen and understand. A light example:

Aunt to mom: "Melissa will have such flabby skin after all that weight she suddenly lost." Mom: "She works out every day, reason why she lost weight, that's how it works. You know that."
Aunt: Right *eye roll*.
And repeat. 

Nothing happened suddenly. It may have seemed like that to people but not for me. I worked out hard and did things right and I was never prouder of myself. But that's how some things work when others try to express their "concern", and the best thing to do is to ignore and keep doing what you are set on doing because only you know how much you work for it.

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Whew, there you have it! I had never talked about that in social media but it feels right to share my experience. And now I have the feeling that Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher is already teaching me lessons when I have yet to read it (how cool is that?!), but I will surely do it soon right after my current read because I cannot wait to know more about Savannah's story. I hope you all decide to join this wonderful event so we can read about your own lessons learned and of course, read this book! 

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About Diana Gallagher

Though Diana Gallagher be but little, she is fierce. She’s also a gymnastics coach and judge, former collegiate gymnast, and writing professor. Her work has appeared in The Southampton Review, International Gymnast, The Couch Gymnast, The Gymternet, and on a candy cigarette box for SmokeLong Quarterly. She holds an MFA from Stony Brook University and is represented by Tina Wexler of ICM Partners. To learn more, visit dianagallagher.blogspot.com.