Book Review: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

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Book Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
Publication Date: April 9th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


I received an eARC of this book from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have no idea where and how to start because I’ve tried writing a review four times already. And none of them seem to give the book justice. So here I am, for the fifth time, attempting to concoct a [somewhat] coherent book review, uncaring if I fail miserably once more because I just need to let everything out, else I might explode.

My bookish friends have been constantly raving about this prior to its release and due to overbearing academic pressure, I wasn’t able to keep up with them. But fast forward a few weeks later, I finally had the chance to read and witness for myself how utterly excellent this really was.

Descendant of the Crane was a never-ending rollercoaster in the form of a beautiful, well-thought out book. Influenced by Chinese culture, I adored the intricacy in this one. Some may think that the slow pacing would put me off, (and normally it would!) but in this case, it just added to a great reading experience. The premise was intriguing enough but the plot twists in this book made the whole plot all the more breathtaking. The mystery was so well-done that I was doubting everybody at one point and I could not put the book down! Like the little mystery fan that I am, I always try to solve the mystery on my own so I take short breaks from reading every now and then to let the story so far sink in and come up with a hypothesis about the case. But just when I thought I knew what was bound to happen in this book, a plot twist would smack me right in the face, upending my theories!

The courtroom spectacle and murder mystery was astounding in itself, but what really tied everything for me is the depth of the main characters’ story. The book didn’t just account the tale of how the death of their king affected The Kingdom of Yan, but it also explores how it stirred each of the main characters’ life. Through this, I really connected with each of them. Hesina, for one, constantly amazes me for she remains headstrong however fragile she is inside. She’s got a heart of gold that would probably be her downfall one day. Akira, on the other hand, is such a cunning and mysterious character; full of depth and I just can’t get enough of him. And, OH MY WORD, don’t even get me started on Lillian and Caiyan. I swear on my life, they will be the end of me. I’m speechless and I just want to go back to the very first page, snatch them and then lock them up in a vault. Now, Sanjing is probably an underrated character here but however hostile he can get, I can still see his lovable, precious side from time to time.

Oh oh OH! Let’s have a moment of appreciation for the fact that the romance in this book wasn’t overpowering, which I appreciate a lot!! I’m glad it wasn’t too fixated on and that it didn’t take the focus away from the main plot.

I’ve grown to love both the world and the people in Descendant of the Crane which made parting with the book that much harder. I was left emotionally unstable for quite a while when I finished this one and I couldn’t even think straight! I haven’t cried in public because of a book for a while now, and this made me bawl like a baby.

If you haven’t read this book yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Please do yourself a favor and go to the nearest bookstore, or better yet, order online (links provided above) for less hassle. This will not disappoint you and every penny you spend will be absolutely worth it. And if you’re one of the lucky people who got swag from the preorder campaign, then swoon with me once more!! THE CHARACTER CARDS AND THE ROSE GOLD BOOKMARK ARE SO GORGEOUS.

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible for me if not for Emily at Literary Edits. I won her 500 followers book giveaway on Twitter! Thank you once again, Emily. 🧡


Have you read Descendant of the Crane? Let’s chat!

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Blog Tour: The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]

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Hummingbird.jpgBook Title: The Hummingbird Dagger
Author: Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 16th 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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From the author of Suitors and Sabotage comes a suspenseful and enthralling new Regency novel, perfect for readers who like their Jane Austen classics with a side of mystery and murder.

1833. A near-fatal carriage accident has deposited an unconscious young woman on the doorstep of Hardwick Manor and into the care of young Lord James Ellerby. But when she finally awakens, it is with no memory of who she is or where she came from.

Beth, as she calls herself, has no identity; the only clue to her circumstances is a recurring nightmare of a hummingbird, blood dripping from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth tries to solve the mystery of her own identity and the appalling events that brought her to their door. But nothing could prepare her for the escalating dangers that threaten her and the Ellerby clan. From the hazardous cliffs of Dorset to the hostile streets of London, Beth will fight to reclaim her past, hunted by a secretive foe with murderous intentions.

Fans of Cindy Anstey’s previous novels won’t want to miss The Hummingbird Dagger, a dark and twisty new offering that blends romance, danger and mystery.

Praise for Duels & Deception:

“Delightful … It is Jane Austen spiced with action, suspense, and humor.” —VOYAstarred review

Jane Austen fans in need of a good new book, look no further.” —Entertainment Weekly


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

MY THOUGHTS

It’s been a while since I’ve read historical fiction and The Hummingbird Dagger is one definitely made me wonder why I don’t read this genre more often! There’s just something about the 18th century time period that fascinates me.

I loved the mystery aspect in this one so much! The dilemma got me really thinking most times since I always try to solve them on my own. Plus, with the historical genre added, it somehow gave the book a more eerie vibe to it. This, of course, did wonders for my reading experience. I was a bit spooked to read this during the night but I literally could not put the book down at times.

Also, I can understand how others would dislike the pacing of this one as it is a bit slow most of the time. However, I liked the lethargic pace in this one (which is largely unusual for me) since it allowed for a more immersive reading experience.

The only thing is… I found it hard to give my rating an extra star for this since I think that all the characters fell flat. They don’t seem all that real for me and that kind of distracted me for the most part.

Overall, The Hummingbird Dagger is still a great book that kept me on my toes and a mystery worth reading!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

Website Twitter Goodreads Facebook


GIVEAWAY

Print copy of The Hummingbird Dagger (US/CAN)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Rune’s Folly by Garen Glazier [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]

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Rune_s Folly.jpgBook Title: Rune’s Folly
Author: Garen Glazier
Publication Date: February 5th 2019
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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By day, Tansy McCoy is a florist making charmed bouquets for the citizens of Junonia, capital of the Kingdom of Terranmar. By night, she’s an assassin and the keeper of the Dangerous Garden where deadly blooms grow. Together with the town tailor, butcher, baker, and metalsmith (just don’t call her a candlestick maker), she is part of the Guild, a secret group of spell-wielding thieves and mercenaries. Their task: consolidate all that remains of the realm’s fading magic under the ruthless King Zeno’s control.

Impetuous loner Tansy chafes under her Guild demands. She longs to quit her town and trade and head for the hills. Unfortunately, King Zeno has other plans. He wants to marry off his daughter to Terranmar’s famously reclusive wizard, Rune Hallows, and he’s willing to have the Guild kidnap him to make it happen. Fail to deliver the wizard and the consequences will be swift and deadly.

Reluctant but determined, Tansy sets out on the long journey to faraway Wentletrap and Rune’s desolate tower by the sea. To get there she must cross a swamp full of sinister surprises, battle a werewolf, and outrace a bloodthirsty band of revenants, while she wrestles with her own magical powers that seem to be expanding in unpredictable ways.

But reaching Rune’s tower is only the beginning. When Tansy learns the real reason behind the king’s contest, she’ll need to decide whether to give in to the growing forces of magic ready to reclaim Terranmar or embrace her newfound powers to save the kingdom.


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

MY THOUGHTS

Oh, wow! This book took me by surprise because I didn’t expect to love this one as much as I did. Frankly, I didn’t know I was in the mood for an adventure/fantasy until I picked this one up.

I was reading this nonstop, flipping page by page, that it all suddenly ended right under my nose. And I wasn’t ready for it to end. The history and background of the world is just so interesting that it really pulls the readers in the story. I got so lost in Tansy and Rune’s adventures that it felt like I was there with them.

Aside from the lush world-building though, the characters were one more aspect in the book that I absolutely adored. Tansy, for one, is a great main character. She’s strong-willed, sarcastic (which I always appreciate) and maintains a bravado despite her constant self-doubt and fears. Rune is another character worth mentioning. He’s a powerful wizard who has an air of mystery to him and also has a sense of humor. But as much as I loved the two of them, I would love to get to know more about their ragtag group as well. Although I am a bit skeptical about the strength of their alliance, I think they do make a great team.

The concept of powers in this book was unique. The magic of the people aren’t like the typical ones I usually read about so Rune’s Folly was like a breath of fresh air. The ending wasn’t groundbreaking per se, but it did answer the few questions I had. Although I wish this first book was a little longer, I’m definitely looking forward to what the series has in store for me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Garen.jpgI have always called Seattle home and find the perpetual gloom to be a wonderful writing ally. I like coffee shops, bookstores, dancing in my living room and singing in my car. The opening scene of Up makes me cry. Three Amigos makes me laugh. Fashion magazines, croissants, and long, long baths are my guilty pleasures. They might occur separately or together. I prefer boxing classes to yoga, and I get some of my best ideas when I’m running. I loved school and spent more time than one really should getting a business degree in marketing and a master’s in art history. In an ideal world I’d go to bed at 2am and wake up at 10am. I’ve never been an early bird, and I feel strongly that alarm clocks kill dreams.

Learn more at garenglazier.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY

2x signed copies of Rune’s Folly (US/CAN)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

#AvengersReadathon19: Sign-Up + My TBR!

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WHAT? I’m signing up for another readathon?? Well… I’m not sure what’s gotten into me either because this isn’t like me at all. Although I love seeing readathons hosted all year round, I’m really not one to join in on the excitement because I’m a big mood reader and the pressure of the challenges can be a bit much for me. However, this one sounds too good to pass up so I decided, to hell with my inhibitions, this is gonna be so much fun!

AVENGERS READATHON 2019

Hosted by the lovely Noura at The Perks of Being Noura, this readathon was created in line with the upcoming Marvel movie titled Avengers: Endgame. Although I’m not totally caught up yet, I’m hoping to finish the rest of MCU movies before the release of Endgame.

So, the rules of this challenge is fairly simple which appealed me to join. There are 18 different Avengers profiles and each of them have challenges/assignments than need to be accomplished. The goal of this readathon is for participants to choose two Avengers profiles at most and complete their corresponding assignments in the duration of the readathon. Participants are allowed to skip only two assignments at most for their chosen profile/s. This runs from April 14 until May 14, a whole month. Oh, and also, this doesn’t limit you to a certain format which means any are accepted (eBooks, physical books, audiobooks, graphic novels, etc.) as long as it complies with the assignments.

I feel like I didn’t explain the mechanics well so click here to find out more about the Avengers Readathon 2019!

Now, on to the exciting bit! I decided to select only one profile since I don’t think I can finish two profiles’ challenges in one month. And I chose… Scarlet Witch! She’s one of my favorite characters in the Avengers.

SCARLET WITCH ASSIGNMENTS: MY TBR

There are a total of 6 prompts for Scarlet Witch and I opted to skip out 2 of them for the time being. Who knows, maybe if I have more time left in this readathon, I can finish them all. But for now, here are the books I plan to read!

WANDA AND PIETRO
book with twins

Skipped this one as I don’t think I currently have a book with twins at the moment.

RED PSIONIC ENERGY
character with red hair or book with a red cover

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1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.

TELEKINESIS
book featuring powers

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For some the tower of shells was folly. For Tansy McCoy it was destiny.

By day, Tansy McCoy is a florist making charmed bouquets for the citizens of Junonia, capital of the Kingdom of Terranmar. By night, she’s an assassin and the keeper of the Dangerous Garden where deadly blooms grow. Together with the town tailor, butcher, baker, and metalsmith (just don’t call her a candlestick maker), she is part of the Guild, a secret group of spell-wielding thieves and mercenaries. Their task: consolidate all that remains of the realm’s fading magic under the ruthless King Zeno’s control.

Impetuous loner Tansy chafes under her Guild demands. She longs to quit her town and trade and head for the hills. Unfortunately, King Zeno has other plans. He wants to marry off his daughter to Terranmar’s famously reclusive wizard, Rune Hallows, and he’s willing to have the Guild kidnap him to make it happen. Fail to deliver the wizard and the consequences will be swift and deadly.

Reluctant but determined, Tansy sets out on the long journey to faraway Wentletrap and Rune’s desolate tower by the sea. To get there she must cross a swamp full of sinister surprises, battle a werewolf, and outrace a bloodthirsty band of revenants, while she wrestles with her own magical powers that seem to be expanding in unpredictable ways.

But reaching Rune’s tower is only the beginning. When Tansy learns the real reason behind the king’s contest, she’ll need to decide whether to give in to the growing forces of magic ready to reclaim Terranmar or embrace her newfound powers to save the kingdom.

SCARLET WITCH
paranormal or horror

Skipped this one as well. I’m not in the mood for the genre at the moment.

Choose 1 of Black Widow’s assignments
THE BLACK WIDOW
spies and heists

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DIVERGENT meets OCEAN’S EIGHT in this urban fantasy heist!

On my seventeenth birthday, I wake up in the hospital to find I just survived a sketchy-but-terrible accident. My perfect-looking parents say I live an ideal life inside the Boston dome. And although my swoon-worthy guard, Thorne, looks totally familiar, he says we don’t have a history.

What a bunch of crap.

I don’t remember anything—not even my real name—but I can still tell when someone’s lying. From what I figure out, my dystopian overlords wiped my memory, leaving only my super science skills behind. Now, instead of expecting me to scream for revenge, the government demands that I build new tech that will launch an apocalypse against anyone who isn’t perfect.

So I nod. Say yes. And scheme to blow the whole thing up.

My memory may be gone, but my sass remains intact. I round up a team of teenage scientists to take down the nasty-ass government without getting ourselves killed. Only trouble is, I must accomplish all this while avoiding my growing attraction to Thorne, who may or may not be an alien. Something tells me that protecting my heart from my hottie guard might be the most dangerous adventure of all…

Choose 1 more assignment from either Ant-Man, Spider-Man or Dr. Strange
PETER PARKER
young adult book

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As everyone at her Brooklyn high school announces their summer adventures, Olivia harbors a dirty secret: Her plan is to binge-watch horror movies and chat with her online friend, Elm. Olivia and Elm have never shared personal details, apart from their ages and the fact that Elm’s aunt is a low-budget horror filmmaker. Then Elm pushes Olivia to share her identity and sends her a selfie of his own. Olivia is shocked by how cute he is! In a moment of panic, assuming she and Elm will never meet in real life, she sends a photo of her gorgeous friend Katie. But things are about to get even more complicated when Olivia’s parents send her to the Catskills, and she runs into the one person she never thought she would see. This sweet and funny summertime romance is perfect for fans of Love and Gelato and The Unexpected Everything.


There we go! Hopefully I can finish all those books in this readathon. I think this would be challenging since I still have a lot of catching up to do with the MCU movies as well.

Have you joined in #AvengersReadathon19 as well? Drop your links in the comments, I would love to see whom you’ve chosen and what your TBR includes!

Blog Tour: Last Girl Lied To by L.E. Flynn [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]

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Book Title: Last Girl Lied To
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by: Imprint
Publication Date: April 16th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Book Depo | Kobo | IndieBound

Something made him angry that night.
Something made her cry.
Something made Trixie disappear.
What if it was all the same thing? 

Fiona claims she doesn’t remember anything about the night her best friend left a party early and walked into the ocean. But the truth is, she wishes she could forget.

Trixie’s disappearance is ruled a suicide, but Fiona starts to believe that Trixie isn’t really dead. Piecing together the trail of a girl who doesn’t want to be found leads her to Jasper, Trixie’s former friend with benefits, and Beau—the boy who turned Fiona down, who loved someone else, who might be happy Trixie is gone.

The closer Fiona gets to finding out what happened, and the closer she gets to Jasper and Beau, the more she realizes that the girl she knew better than anyone may have been a carefully constructed lie—and she might have been waiting to disappear the entire time.

Told in alternating chapters between the past and the present, Last Girl Lied To is a gripping emotional thriller.


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

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve read a contemporary YA thriller so I was really excited when I started reading this one. From the sound of the synopsis, I find it really promising and in the end, I liked the story.

Last Girl Lied To started out full of intrigue which hooked me from the very beginning. The book focuses on Fiona’s journey in unearthing the mystery about her best friend’s enigmatic suicide. Although the book’s concept isn’t new in the genre, I found myself liking the book still. Peppered with a few twists and surprises in the plot, the mystery really tied itself up well.

Unfortunately, I failed to connect with the main character, Fiona, no matter how hard I’ve tried to. I just didn’t see much development in her which disappointed me, thus, factoring in to my indifference to her. The book’s pace was also a little bit too slow for my liking which put me off a tad bit. But the ending was quite good and I think it wraps everything quite good.

Overall, despite having a bit of issues with this one, I still found myself enjoying Last Girl Lied To for its great mystery and suspense!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

k1250025.jpgLaurie Elizabeth (L.E.) Flynn is the author of Firsts and the upcoming psychological thriller Last Girl Lied To, along with an untitled thriller to follow in 2020. She is also the author of Wattpad featured series The Boys Tell All. Her other short fiction has been named a finalist for the John Kenneth Gailbraith Literary Award.

Flynn is a former model who worked in Tokyo, Athens, and Paris. She now lives in London, Ontario, with her husband, daughter, and the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua. When she’s not writing about unlikable girls, you can likely find her hiking in the woods with her family, perusing thrift stores for vintage dresses, or binging reality TV.


GIVEAWAY

Get the chance to win 1 copy of Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway