review

Review: To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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The Cover: To Kill A Kingdom‘s cover immediately drew me in when I first saw it. The water actually looks like part of a Picasso painting and the tentacles really intrigued me. When you think of a siren or mermaid you think of a fish tail and not tentacles so I really wanted to dive into the book and see how they tied in with sirens and I was NOT disappointed. 

Basics: To Kill A Kingdom was released on March 6th 2018, published by Feiwel Friends and is 352 pages long. Genre wise To Kill A Kingdom belongs to Young Adult, Fantasy and Romance. 

Description: Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Overall thoughts: I read To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo last year but never got around to writing a  review for it, so I thought for my first review of 2019 that I would do a re-read of To Kill A Kingdom and write a review for it. First of all, I won’t beat around the bush…I LOVED this book. I am big a fan of anything (especially book wise) that deals with water, mermaids/sirens or fantasy so the synopsis of To Kill A Kingdom really hooked me. 

If you think about mermaids or sirens in this case, I’m sure many of you think of The Little Mermaid which has several versions. If you just think about mermaids/sirens you think how they use their beauty and mesmerizing voice to lure sailors to their deaths. With To Kill A Kingdom it adds a whole another layer to their life and especially luring people to their deaths. Lira is a siren princess who is known throughout the seven seas as one of the deadliest sirens ever, on top of that she is also one of the sirens who has collected the most hearts of her victims. The sirens in To Kill A Kingdom not only lure and kill their victims to the depths of the sea, but they also the hearts of those victims and Lira has seventeen hearts. When a misunderstanding occurs, Lira is forced by her mother (the hateful and cruel Sea Queen) to turn into the creature she hates most, a human. 

Going against her mother’s wishes, Lira decides to use being a human and a pirate prince she meets upon becoming a human to her advantage. She sets out to find the way to overthrow her mother once and for all. To Kill A Kingdom had so many wonderful elements to it’s story that I honestly don’t think I could do a blog post that would be able to go through it all. I think just all the changes and lessons both Lira and Prince Elian go through are my favorite because they both have these beliefs and lies that they were told about humans and sirens that turn out to be completely false. It’s a really fascinating Young Adult read that really made me think about the differences between sirens and people, but also just in general. 

To Kill A Kingdom is a great Young Adult fantasy read that I couldn’t put down. There was always something that happened within chapter that either had me saying, “wow!” or had me on the edge of my seat. Also, the slow burning of will they? won’t they? / enemies to lovers dynamic between Lira and Elian is AMAZING. They are definitely one of my favorite Young Adult book couples ever! If you love Young Adult, Fantasy books with a darker version of The Little Mermaid, you’ll love To Kill A Kingdom as much as I did! 
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Couple Chemistry Rating: 5/5 Shells
5 shells

Favorite Quotes: “In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me.” -Lira

“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.” -Lira

My Rating: 5/5 Shells
5 shells

Buy To Kill A Kingdom:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2FdFk3R
Kindle: https://amzn.to/2syaVGu
Barnes & Nobles: https://bit.ly/2FdkC40
Book Depository:  https://bit.ly/2KewnLd
iBooks: https://apple.co/2SFOqdx
Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2skxM8b

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About the Author:
Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn’t be a fairy. She has a BA in Creative Writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown up than she feels. When she’s not busy making up stories, she can be found buying far too many cushions and organizing food crawls all over the city.  Alexandra currently lives in Hertfordshire with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive).

Follow Alexandra:
Website: https://alexandrachristo.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alliechristo
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2seMJZ8

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book blogger meme

Sex in Young Adult Books

Hello friends! How are you doing on this lovely Wednesday? I’m writing this post because I noticed awhile ago that there is a definite divide between readers when it comes to including sex in Young Adult books. For example I actually held a poll on my Twitter about including sex in Young Adults and this was the result:
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I had around 800+ followers at the time when I posted this poll, (now I’m at 940, yay!) but still I was a bit shocked that 17% said no. Now I feel like I need to clarify a few things about this blog post before diving into it. When I’m talking about including sex in Young Adult books, I think a lot of people would automatically think of what is written in a romance book or something written that is very sensual. The whole purpose of this blog post is not to have the written type of sex that is included in romance books, but to at least include sex in Young Adult books that is at least shows what the characters are doing. For example, I’ve read several Young Adult books that allude to the reader that characters indeed have sex, but instead of going into some sort of detail the section of the chapter ends and the characters wake up together in bed or holding each other somewhere etc. 

Which in my personal opinion, as a reader and an American is frustrating because in the United States including sex or explaining anything that deals with sex is an issue. If you’re not an American and you’re reading this blog post, let me explain: in the American school system its preferred by schools and families in general for students to learn abstinence over sex education. Growing up my school district had an outside group come into the school that was run by the local church and instead of teaching my fellow peers and I sex education, they told us to abstain from sex. This was in 5th-6th grade when I was 10-12 years old and we had several other meetings with this church group in 7th-8th grade. 

Flash forward to 9th grade where I was a Freshman in High School where I was finally in Health class that taught sex education, very little sex education actually. We were taught about sexual intercourse and the repercussions of having sex like sexual diseases and pregnancy. We were also taught the various stages of puberty in girls and boys, even though the various stages of puberty starting happening to us YEARS ago. 

Abstinence over sex education and not including sex in Young Adult books I think the two subjects have a lot of common and it adds up to the whole point of this blog post. That as a generation and Americans are not comfortable with sex. I don’t understand why people are not comfortable with sex, sex education, sex in books/Young Adult books. Sex is part of our lives and I really don’t understand why people are so against it.

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I came up with this blog post because someone made a comment about a book/book series I love and I’ll just say the book series, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Someone said that it was pushing the boundaries of a Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance genre as a book and series and I was just so confused. They continued to say that what was written in particularly A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas was too much like romance erotica and I was laughing very hard. Calling a book by like A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas erotic was a bit ridiculous, because honestly if you want to read something highly erotic you need to look up this book:
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This is just a teaser of Misadventures with a Professor by the fabulous Sierra Simone. She has written some of the most erotic and dirtiest romance books I have ever read in my life and I love them. I’m not going to include a sample of her writing but the teaser picture of her latest release above should give you a clue of exactly what erotica is. 

Calling A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas “too sexual” to be Young Adult is just asinine. For example, in romance books authors call certain parts of the human anatomy names that some may deem dirty or erotic. Maas not once uses those terms and honestly she censors a lot of things too. Not once in the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series does she overstep those boundaries, but you know for sure as you’re reading along with the books, you KNOW what the characters are doing. She does in a tasteful and meaningfully way! Bravo to Maas for describing what the characters are doing instead of trailing off to another page or skipping the encounter completely. 

Circling around to what I said earlier, I feel like people who don’t like seeing sex written in Young Adult books is because of several reasons: one, they are part of that generation where we were taught abstinence over sexual education. Or two they just aren’t comfortable with sex. I don’t think reading about sex should be taboo, for any age. Yes, there should be some boundaries with younger teens and kids reading but taking it out completely? No. Sex is part of our lives, it helps us not only create life but it also connects us to other human beings. Both real and fictional people. I think keeping it out of books, especially Young Adult books is not the right thing to do. 

Those are my thoughts with Sex in Young Adult books. What do you think about this subject? Do you agree that sex should be written in Young Adults books  or disagree? Why? I would love to hear your guys thoughts! 
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review

Review: The Lord of Stariel by A.J. Lancaster

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The Cover: The Lord of Stariel has a whimsical and magical cover which I really adore because it matches the mood of the book and characters. It’s simple and bright, overall a great cover to look at or to put on your bookshelf. 

Basics: The Lord of Stariel was released on November 1st 2018, is 318 pages long and is part of the Kindle Unlimited program. Genre wise The Lord of Stariel belongs to fantasy, young adult, fae world and romance.

DescriptionThe Lord of Stariel is dead. Long live the Lord of Stariel. Whoever that is. 

Everyone knows who the magical estate will choose for its next ruler. Or do they?  Will it be the lord’s eldest son, who he despised?  His favourite nephew, with the strongest magical land-sense?  His scandalous daughter, who ran away from home years ago to study illusion? 

Hetta knows it won’t be her, and she’s glad of it. Returning home for her father’s funeral, all Hetta has to do is survive the family drama and avoid entanglements with irritatingly attractive local men until the Choosing. Then she can leave.  But whoever Stariel chooses will have bigger problems than eccentric relatives to deal with. 

Winged, beautifully deadly problems.  For the first time in centuries, the fae are returning to the Mortal Realm, and only the Lord of Stariel can keep the estate safe. In theory.  The Lord of Stariel is the first book in the Stariel series. If you like your fantasy mixed with romance, served with a side of mystery, and garnished with statistically improbable quantities of attractive people, you’ve come to the right place!
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Overall thoughts:  The Lord of Stariel, A.J. Lancaster’s debut novel, I believe she went above and beyond my expectations. She paints a beautifully well done opening book to a series, with an engaging plot and kick butt characters that immediately grabbed my attention. As a fantasy book lover I was very impressed and I think any fantasy or fae book lover would really enjoy reading The Lord of Stariel. 

Hetta is a great leading lady: strong, smart and has a great sense of humor. She is someone that every little girl would read about and look up to, but also aim to be like. The story was very interesting and honestly my own issue with the entire book was that it was a little slow in the beginning but overall very enjoyable. 

Hetta has been gone from home for quite awhile and when the death of a family member happens, she comes home and everything changes. She embarks on quite a journey, surviving her distant family and the sudden arrival of fae to the mortal realm. 

A.J. Lancaster should be very proud of her debut novel and I look whatever to her future works, especially the next book in this series! 

Couple Chemistry Rating: 5/5 Shells
5 shells

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My Rating: 5/5 Shells
5 shells

Buy The Lord of Stariel:
***Available for FREE in Kindle Unlimited***
Amazon
Paperback
Barnes & Nobles
Add to Goodreads

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About the Author:
 A.J. Lancaster is fantasy writer of the whimsical rather than grimdark variety. She wrote her first novel some years ago at the age of 13* and still hasn’t managed to kick the habit. Her favourite authors include Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Georgette Heyer, and Naomi Novik.

She lives in windy Wellington, New Zealand, with two ridiculous cats and many novelty mugs. She is new to indie publishing – but is working on publishing books. She is currently working on a fantasy quartet (the Stariel Series), which plan to be published in 2018.

Follow A.J:
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review

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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The Cover: The Cruel Prince’s cover is beautiful but besides the crown (and I guess the thorns?) I don’t think there is anything special about this cover. It’s pretty and simple but that’s it. 

Basics: The Cruel Prince was released on January 2nd, 2018, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and is 385 pages long. Genre wise The Cruel Prince belongs to Fantasy, Young Adult and Romance. 

Description: Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
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Overall thoughts: So this is my second time reading The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I had heard about the book in early January 2018 and right as I was about purchase a copy, I received The Cruel Prince from my January 2018 Owlcrate subscription! I was so excited because it was like the universe was on my side and leading me to a new great book! Or so I thought. 

I hated The Cruel Prince the first time I read it, severely. Nine months later, I wanted to give it another try. Here are some of the reasons I had issues with The Cruel Prince in the first place: One, the whole trope where the leading male bullies and is mean to the heroine but somehow they fall for each other drives me up the WALL. Bullying is a very, very sore subject for me because I was bullied throughout High School and experienced it first hand. So I’m sure that you can understand why I think it is absolutely ridiculous that Cardan bullied Jude horribly and in awful ways and halfway through the book he is apparently in love with her. It would make sense if Cardan and Jude were under the age of ten, but they are not and I just find their whole relationship is ridiculous and super unrealistic.  

My other issue I struggled with was the pace of the book and how the book ended. A few chapters in everything was at a slow pace, in the middle things picked up and while reading the end of the book everything happened so fast I thought my head was spinning! It actually reminded me of when Oprah used to hand out gifts, “You get a car! And you get a card!” but for The Cruel Prince it was like “and you find out this piece of information! With this big plot twist! And add another plot twist!” My head was literally spinning with information, information overload basically. Those issues aside, the second time reading it I found that I liked The Cruel Prince a lot better. 

The story is very compelling and whimsical, with enough twists and turns of the plot to keep you interested. You might need to make a list of everything going on to tie everything together at the end but it’s still good nonetheless. I still don’t really like or understand Cardan and Jude’s relationship but maybe that could change in the next book when it comes out in January 2019. Overall I think I’m just too picky sometimes when it comes to books and with The Cruel Prince I have learned that each book deserves a second chance. 

Couple Chemistry Rating: 3/5 Shells
3 shell
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Favorite Quotes: “If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”  -Jude

“Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.” 
-Cardan 

“Father, I am what you made me. I’ve become your daughter after all.” -Jude

My Rating: 4/5 Shells
4 stars

Buy The Cruel Prince:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Nobles
iBooks
Kobo
Goodreads

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About the Author: Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

Follow Holly:
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****I do not claim these images as my own, images & artwork were found on Google & do not belong to me but to their owners***

release blitz

Release Blitz: A Date For Hannah by Callie Henry

A Date for Hannah is Live! Special Release Day Pricing of Only $0.99
Fans of Hallmark movies and sweet stories of first love will adore Callie Henry’s new series!

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Blurb: High-schooler, Hannah, has always been self-conscious about her weight, so when hottie swimmer, Liam, pays her extra attention at her sister’s wedding, she has a hard time trusting his interest. Throughout the evening, Liam’s charm wins her over, until they’re falling hard for each other. But the next day, Hannah learns something that may ruin it all.

*****

All stories in the LIFE (Love is for Everyone) series portray true-to-life, teen-aged characters, with real personalities and common issues, who experience the lightning bolt of first love in their own, individual ways!

Amazon (US): http://a.co/32DzPbY
Amazon (UK): http://amzn.eu/1DkEegQ
Amazon (CA): http://a.co/hSOvujr
Amazon (AU): https://amzn.to/2KRwd8Z
iBooks: https://apple.co/2u1CIjb
Nook: https://bit.ly/2KWKfX4
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2udfpCj

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Celebrate the Release and  join the amazing party happening in Katy’s Ladies
There will tons of fun, games, and giveaways!  Join Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212507205594592/?ref=br_rs

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About the Author: Callie Henry is the YA pen name of New York Times bestselling contemporary romance author, Katy Regnery. 

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

Keep in Touch: http://www.katyregnery.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatyRegnery

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KatyRegnery
Instagram: @katyregnery

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review

Review: Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch by Serena Valentino

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The Cover: I really love this cover especially for a retelling according to the villain’s side of the story. Everyone knows The Little Mermaid and Ursula is one of the most iconic villains ever and I really like this cover. What I also really loved about Poor Unfortunate Soul was the fact that when you remove the cover sleeve, the cover becomes Ursula’s human counterpart, Vanessa. 

Basics: Poor Unfortunate Soul was released on July 26th 2016, published by Disney Press and is 208 pages long. It is the the third book in the Villans trilogy. Genre wise Poor Unfortunate Soul belongs to Young Adult and Fantasy. 

Description: The third novel in Serena Valentino’s (Fairest of All, Beast Within) “VILLAINS” trilogy, featuring the story of the Little Mermaid from the perspective of the sea witch Ursula.
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Overall thoughts: I am a huge Disney fan! Since I was little I loved everything Disney and it’s no surprise that I adore The Little Mermaid! Considering the basis of this blog’s design is based off beachy style! I was in Barnes & Nobles several months ago when I saw on one of the display shelves that Disney Published and author Serena Valentino teamed up to write books based off Disney villain’s points of views. I immediately grabbed Ursula’s book, Poor Unfortunate Soul. I just finished reading it recently and I was completely blown away! 

I’ve read a lot of difference versions of retellings of fairy-tales but not like this! I like reading from different types of perspectives: good guy, bad guy, etc. There’s always two sides to a story and Poor Unfortunate Soul definitely tells you Ursula’s side of the story and then some! Valentino adds some other interesting details in Poor Unfortunate Soul that literally had me pausing my reading and saying, “Wait…what?!” 

Ursula is still herself in this book and she is definitely evil too, but Valentino adds more depth to the sea witch and she actually made me feel bad for her. Seriously. Overall Poor Unfortunate Soul is any fantasy, fairy tale, Disney lover’s dream. It is part of Valentino’s Villain’s trilogy series and can be read as a standalone but I feel like the reader would understand the book and series better if they had read the other books in the series, which I plan on doing very soon! 

My Rating: 5/5 Shells
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Buy Poor Unfortunate Soul:
**Available for FREE in Kindle Unlimited**

Amazon
Barnes & Nobles
iBooks
Kobo
Audible
Goodreads

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About the Author: Serena Valentino is best known for weaving tales that combine mythos and guile with her work on the comic book series GloomCookie and Nightmares & Fairy Tales, and her best selling Disney Villain Novels which have earned her critical acclaim for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty and extraordinary female protagonists.

Her Disney Villain novel series would be best enjoyed if read in this order: Fairest of All: The Story of the Wicked Queen,  The Beast Within: The Story of Belle’s Prince, Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch,  and Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy. Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch will be released in August 2018, and the Odd Sisters book will be released in Summer 2019.

Serena lives in New Orleans with her dog Gozer, and a very tiny kitty named Momma.

Follow Serena:
Website http://www.serenavalentino.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SerenaValentino

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