Book Review: The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

35692900Book Title: The Queen’s Game
Author: Carla de Guzman
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publisher: Midnight Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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There are only two reasons why Nina would come back home to Cincamarre–one, if Auntie Delia promises to stop butting into her business, two, if her father died and she was made to ascend the throne to be queen.

Unfortunately for her, it was the second thing that brought her home.

As a princess who’s sunk a yacht and been caught kissing popstars, it’s easy for her aunt, the regent, to think she’s ill prepared for the throne. But Nina doesn’t think that having to fake date Felipe, the handsome, squeaky clean Prince of Concordia was the best solution for that.

Nina’s ready to learn the ropes of her new role and make it hers, and reconnecting with Felipe only makes her want to be a better queen. But is the monarchy ready for Queen Nina?


MY THOUGHTS

Y’ALL! This is my first ever #romanceclass and adult read, and I am so glad to have started with The Queen’s Game. Since I normally only read young adult and middle grade books, this one felt a teeny bit weird to read. Granted, this is a book intended for adult, a different audience, but nevertheless, I still thoroughly enjoyed this!

When I first read the synopsis, I was immediately sold. The fact that this was on sale on Kindle when I bought it was an added bonus! Royalty is one of my weaknesses when it comes to tropes and this one was incorporated with Philippine culture, and I AM SCREAMING!!! I loved seeing glimpses of our culture in the otherwise fantasy land of Cincamarre. It really warms my heart.

Aside from having a gorgeous name, Saturnina Inez Mercado, our main character, is a kick-ass woman that does not take shit from others when it comes to her life.  She has her own distinct personality! Also, being born as the king’s daughter and the next in line for the throne really puts a lot of expectations on her. I admire Nina for being her own person and not conceding to the norms set by her aunt and the title she holds. And Felipe, her love interest, is such a—and I cannot stress this enough—precious human being! Despite Nina’s horrid reputation, Felipe still believes that she can do wonders for her nation on her own. He has been a constant pillar of support for her and that is the energy I’m looking for in a relationship. Not to mention his swoon-worthy letters to Nina! *faints*

However, this book was too fast-paced for my liking. With only 165 pages, this one really was a whirlwind and I would have loved it if I got to spend more time with Nina and Felipe. Regardless, the romance here is just so sweet and got me smiling so much!

I feel so delighted to have supported, read and loved a book by a Filipino author. I highly recommend you read this one! I can feel that this is the beginning of my #romanceclass addiction.

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Blog Tour: Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg [REVIEW, FAVORITE QUOTES + GIVEAWAY!]

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SMOKE AND SUMMONS COVER (1).jpgBook Title: Smoke and Summons
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Series: Numina Trilogy #1
Publisher: 47North
Publication Date: February 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m so excited to finally be able to share my thoughts about this book. This is the first I’ve read of the author’s works and I must say that I am impressed! The writing is spectacular and it kept me reading, more and more.

Smoke & Summons was unlike anything I’ve read before. It has a unique plot, with our main character starting out as a vessel for summoning unearthly beings to do unspeakable acts at the command of her owner.

Also, this book involves a rich background and history of both the main characters and the fantasy world itself. It is evident that this has been well-thought of and has been executed perfectly. Aside from that, I want to let you know that I’ve read this faster than I anticipated, despite my hectic school schedule. That’s how hooked I was. There definitely wasn’t a dull moment in this book, and it always kept me wanting more!

If that isn’t enough, Sandis and Rone were very likable main characters. Sandis, having lived most of her life growing up isolated and underground, is still pretty shell-shocked about the life above ground. I love her so much, that precious human. She has gone through so much but she has been nothing but nice still. I sympathized with her throughout the whole book. On the other hand, Rone definitely knows his way around. He is strong, hard-willed and adaptable to different situations. This makes them such a great duo since their personalities clash. They make great teamwork and it’s funny seeing Rone crack a sarcastic remark to just go over Sandis’s head! 😂

Overall, Smoke & Summons was truly a fantastic read. For someone getting into YA fantasy (and even those who mainly read books in that genre), this is an amazing book, jam-packed with action and excitement that will surely get you going! I’m very much looking forward to read the next in the series and the author’s other works.


FAVORITE QUOTES

She’d always loved the sun. No matter how hard things got, the sun was a bright constant against the city’s smoke and fear.

“You talk like you’re a thing.”
“To him, I am.” Her touch crept up to his neck. “I’m glad you don’t think so.”

Sandis hugged herself, trying to hold the sensation in. She balled her body around it, protecting that last semblance of love.

She could protect them, even when no one had protected her.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author.jpgBorn in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at http://www.charlienholmberg.com.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram


GIVEAWAY

Win a finished copy of Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg (US Only)

Start Date: 10th February 2019
End Date: 5th March 2019

Book Review: The Secret of Dinswood

42051408Book Title: The Secret of Dinswood
Author: Ellen Alexander
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publisher: BHC Press
Publication Date: February 26th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Middle Grade
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Desperate to get away from a home where she no longer feels wanted, twelve-year-old Emma Higsby is elated when she wins a scholarship to the prestigious Dinswood Academy boarding school.

Emma quickly falls in love with the renovated castle nestled in the heart of the mountains. But when rumors surface that her new school is having financial problems and may have to close, she begins to search for a way to save her new home.

When she discovers a riddle of buried treasure left by the eccentric school’s founder, Lord Dinswood, she and her friends must use their courage and intelligence to solve each clue.

But someone else is searching for the treasure as well. Emma and her friends will have to race against time and discover the secret of Dinswood first!


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my thoughts in any way.

MY THOUGHTS

The book in a few words: Boarding school. Pirate treasure. Mysterious hunt. Beautiful friendships. If that does not intrigue you at least a tiny bit, then I’m not sure this book’s for you.

The Secret of Dinswood follows a group of students from Dinswood Academy in their quest to save their school from financial troubles by hunting for Lord Dinswood’s hidden treasure. For a school that’s been struggling financially, Dinswood Academy is so freaking extravagant! This is exactly the kind of school I would’ve dreamed of attending during my childhood.

Emma and her friends only went on this hunt to save their school from crippling financial troubles. They go on and on about how they must save the school because it means everything to them despite only being there for, what, a few months? Granted, they did meet their best friends there but is going to separate schools really that awful to risk their lives on the hunt?

The main character here is so well-developed; I love her so much! At the start of the book, I could really feel Emma’s insecurities and anxiousness of being out of place in Dinswood Academy. Since it’s a prestigious boarding school, only accepting the richest of the rich, Emma could only afford to go there because of her scholarship. Despite the best efforts of her friends, she can’t deny that sometimes, she feel alienated among the wealthy crowd of students. I absolutely sympathize for her because I, personally, know that feeling which made me love and understand her better.

With that, I’d like to mention that Martha, Emma’s best friend, is the epitome of a great friend. She has always been there for Emma from the beginning, and she has never let the superficial things like financial status get in the way of their friendship. However, although Martha has been a wonderful buddy to Emma, she hasn’t been much help in the treasure hunt and frankly, she’s a bit repetitive too. In another time, and in another story, I really would have loved her more.

The pacing was a bit slow at first, which allowed readers to fully get to know the main characters and get accustomed to the school. Unfortunately, I think the book could have done with a little bit of a faster pace in terms of the mystery since they only discovered a substantial piece of clue at around 72% of the book, and they were still clueless up to that point.

This is a great book and I would really recommend it if you don’t mind a slower pace in mystery and if you love stories in boarding schools as much as I do!

 

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Book Review: The Expedition by Chris Babu

40584496Book Title: The Expedition
Author: Chris Babu
Series: The Initiation #2
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication Date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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THEY SURVIVED THE INITIATION. NOW THE REAL TEST BEGINS.

Drayden and his friends thought nothing could be harder than the Initiation. Little did they know it had only been a warmup for the challenge that lay ahead.

With New America’s situation dire, Drayden and the pledges venture out into the unexplored world outside the walls, escorted by a team of elite Guardians. The group seeks to contact another civilization in what remains of Boston, but Drayden has secret goals of his own.

Dangers abound in the real world, including Aeru, the deadly superbug that wiped out humanity. While they battle the elements of a desolate landscape, a power struggle emerges within their ranks. The Guardians seem to be carrying out a covert mission themselves, and the quest turns everything they thought they knew about New America upside down.


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my thoughts in any way.

MY THOUGHTS

I have read and loved the first book in the series, The Initiation, which was spectacular in multiple aspects (you can read my review here) so I was so excited to read this next one! I was also a bit skeptical at first since I barely remember the nitty-gritty about the previous book due to my severe forgetfulness, but I pushed through, hoping for the best. Fortunately, everything came back to me and I got to really enjoy this book.

The Expedition was a fast-paced book that is equal parts action and strategics. This allowed the group of privates to maximize their own individual strengths during their mission, and I loved seeing, in the little things, how they have grown closer compared to the first book.

I still very much liked Drayden as a character. If I were to think about an expedition, I’d probably immediately think that physical strength is a prerequisite for undertaking such. I had my doubts as to how Drayden might cope in the expedition, yet it proved to be unnecessary. What Drayden lacked in physical strength, he made up for in quick thinking, wit and intelligence. And frankly, I admire the latter far more than the former.

The challenges that the group faced in the expedition were much more different and difficult than the ones in the initiation. In this books, the struggles that the privates experience were much more crucial since they deal with unexpected troubles now, in the part of their world they’ve never set foot on. So seeing them all work together, and contribute each their own skills for their collective objective was really invigorating since, as you can tell, I’ve really grown attached to this group of brave kids.

And although I did kinda foresee one aspect in the book that is supposed to be shellshocking, I did doubt myself more times than I would care to admit. Thus, the book really has some unexpected twists and turns that would make you second guess yourself multiple times.

But despite all those, I still ticked off a star from my rating since I was not keen on how the sentences in dialogues sometimes run waaaaay too long, as if they’re each doing monologues. Aside from that though, I think my mood contributed a lot on this decision as well since I was pretty distracted with life when I read this.

Overall, if I were to pick this book up some other time, when I really am in the mood for a post-apocalyptic-ish adventure, this really would have the potential of earning a 5-star rating from me. I highly recommend this series, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. I can’t wait for the next book!

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Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. This allows bloggers, such as myself, to feature upcoming book releases that we are ecstatic about.


Can’t-Wait Wednesdays are always so fun for me to do but sometimes I get so, so torn on what upcoming book to feature. It usually takes me ages to pick what book to spotlight and time is gold so for this week, I just randomly picked a title from my list of anticipated upcoming releases.

Here it is, The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the author and her work, plus there are literally no low ratings for the book on Goodreads. I’m so stoked to see how astounding this book would be and what its impact would be on me since I expect great representation and tackling of heavy topics for middle grade audience.

37539698Book Title: The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Series: None (Standalone)
Publication Date: March 26th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Middle Grade

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Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James navigates heart surgery, reconnections with a lost mother, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl in this stunning, heartfelt novel–perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin and Erin Entrada Kelly.

When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a “New Life Plan”: 1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before; 2) find a new best friend; and 3) kiss a boy for the first time.

Her “New Life Plan” seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. When the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James.

This sweet, tender novel dares readers to find the might in their own hearts.

What about you? What’s an upcoming release you can’t wait for? Leave a comment and let’s chat!


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