Blog Tour: The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Hello there, bookworms and dragons! I’m so super excited to be posting today as part of the blog tour for The Chosen by Taran Matharu. I loved what I read of his Summoner series, so when I got the chance to read an early copy of the first book in his all new Contender series, I jumped at the chance. Keep reading for my full review! But first, what’s this book about? Well, I’m so happy you asked! Let’s have a look at the synopsis.

Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series.

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

.

My Review

As I said above, I was already really excited for The Chosen based on my enjoyment of Taran Matharu’s previous writing. But then I saw the cover and there are actual dinosaurs on it? Like, how many YA novels have dinosaurs? I can’t think of any. So I was doubly excited to dive into reading it, which I did in two sittings that would have been one if not for my own monsters. TW/CWs will be the the end of the post, so let’s dive right into my review!

The diverse cast characters are all fairly well developed. I especially loved getting to see an ownvoices Indian/mixed race rep that’s a bit different than what I’ve seen in other novels. It focuses less on the culture Cade’s family came from and more on his experience of the culture surrounding him outside of his parents’ influence. I really liked that, regardless of all of the things that happen to him, Cade still believes that people are innately good. We also get Yoshi, a Japanese American boy who does not appreciate your Mario Kart references, and Spex, a Brazilian American who could probably win Jeopardy. Sadly, there is also Finch. I have never so strongly wanted to slap someone in my entire life. To all the Finches out there: stop talking and keep your hands to yourself.

The world building is so incredibly lush and immersive. The story starts off at a “therapeutic” school (AKA military school), where Cade and the others have been sent for various reasons right up to and including murder. I could easily drop myself into the unknown location and walk around there. Though, honestly, I’d have to run because the world is hazardous to say the least. The rules of the world were intentionally held back through the story, little bits being shared as Cade stumbled upon them. I do love that mysteriously missing bits of history from Earth cropped up all over the world of the story, giving us fun little tidbits of information about them as Cade learned about them.

The Chosen is probably a good example of a plot-driven novel, I think. The story moves so fluidly that it’s hard to put down. As I said earlier, I would have finished it in a single sitting if left to my own devices. There’s so much action and that builds up to the epic action scene near the end… and, unfortunately, the huge cliffhanger. The story moves so well that I have to consider the novel unputdownable.

I enjoyed The Chosen so very much from beginning to (cliffhanger) end. The best way I can think of to describe it to those considering reading it is to say The Chosen is Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games. I’m already hyped up for the next book of the Contender series, but I’ll have to read more of Taran Matharu’s other writing to tide me over for it.

Overall, I rate The Chosen 3.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:

.

About the Author

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on Wattpad.com. The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

.

Want to see more awesome The Chosen content? Of course you do! How, you ask? Simply follow the tour via the schedule in this link.


Thank you to Taran Matharu for writing this incredible novel! Without you, we definitely wouldn’t be here.

Another thank you to Feiwel and Friends for allowing me the privilege of reading an early copy of The Chosen.

And, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing this blog tour and allowing me to be part of it! If you’re interested in how to become a tour host with the FFBC (and why wouldn’t you be??), click on their logo below!

TW/CWs:

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Grief
  • Blood
  • Mentions of slavery

As always, if you read The Contender and noticed TW/CWs that are not listed here, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this form.

Release Week Blitz: Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee

Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee

presented by Entangled Teen!

Grab your copy today!

“Edgy and smart with a sweet and sexy core.” —Rachel Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Eyes on Me

I should’ve kept my mouth shut.

But Wilmont Academy’s been living in the Dark Ages when it comes to sex ed, and someone had to take matters into her own hands. Well, I’m a kick-ass coder, so I created a totally anonymous, totally untraceable blog where teens can come to get real, honest, nothing-is-off-limits sex advice.

And holy hell, the site went viral—and we’re talking way beyond Wilmont—overnight. Who knew this town was so hard up?

Except now the school administration is trying to shut me down, and they’ve forced Dean—my coding crush, aka the hottest guy in school—to try to uncover who I am. If he discovers my secret, I’ll lose him forever. And thousands of teens who need real advice won’t have anyone to turn to.

Ask me anything…except how to make things right.

Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee
Publication Date:  May 7, 2019
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo


Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, the Grad Night series and the Love on the Edge series. She is a 1001 Dark Nights Discovery Author for 2017. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Tour: Nexus by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings

I really enjoyed Zenith by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings, so when the opportunity came for me to be part of this blog tour for the second book in The Androma Saga I jumped at the chance! Keep on reading this post for my full review and bookish soundtrack, and a giveaway! But first, let’s have a look what this gorgeous book is about!

#1 New York Times bestselling authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings deliver the dazzling finale to the acclaimed Androma Saga, where stunning betrayals and devastating secrets send an embattled galaxy spiraling into the ultimate nightmare.

Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Androma Racella is no longer the powerful Bloody Baroness, but a fugitive ruthlessly hunted across the Mirabel Galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy through a mind-control toxin and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary.

Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom, to find a cure. Stranded with her unlikely ally, Dex, on the unforgiving ice planet of Solera, their plan to infiltrate a black-market city proves dangerously irresistible.

Back in Arcardius, Nor’s actions have opened Mirabel to invasion. As Andi’s crew fights to regain their freedom, Andi and Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before.

Only by saving their mortal enemy can the crew of the Marauder make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy—unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all.

.

.

My Review:

First of all, stare at this cover with me for a moment. 🤩 It’s so gorgeous, isn’t it?! Like I said before, I really enjoyed Zenith so I went into Nexus with some expectations on how it would be. I think I marked a TW/CW or two in Goodreads but, naturally, I’m not able to access them from the app. If you’ve read the book and noticed any TW/CWs that should be added, please let me know in the comments or via this form.

I was pretty excited to get back to my favourite space pirate girl gang! The characters didn’t get much development in this one, but I have to think that’s because this is the second book in a duology and definitely not a standalone. Gilly is still my fave with her red hair and fiery soul. Keep destroying things, girl!

Since most of the world was built up so well in Zenith, I wasn’t sure what to expect world building wise from Nexus. There are three world locations that are built up a bit more in this one and they’re all done in a way that’s incredibly immersive. I found myself having trouble pulling my mind out of them, which was both awesome and a little scary sometimes. Either way, the world building is definitely A++!

Nexus started a bit slowly and it was a little tough for me to get into at first. It did pick up around 1/4 of the way in, but I had to really make myself keep going until I got there. After that quarter, however, the story flowed relatively nicely straight through to the end, which wrapped up all the loose bits of story beautifully. There was one thing I was super disappointed about though: how little time on the page Androma, Lira, Breck, and Gilly got to spend together. The thing I liked most about Zenith was the amazing dynamic between Androma and her crew and that just wasn’t there for like 98% of this book.

I did really enjoy Nexus and I’m happy with where it left off, I just wish there was more page time for my space girl gang to be together in all their glory. I do enjoy Sasha Alsburg’s and Lindsay Cummings’s writing styles so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for their other work!

Overall, I rate Nexus 3.5 out of 5 bookworms. But don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads or preorder it to enjoy when it’s released on 7 May 2019! A few places you can reserve your copy from are…

.

Bookish Soundtrack:

There were so many great songs that came to mind while I was reading Nexus. Some of them weren’t on Spotify which… was disappointing. However, I’m still really happy with the end result. So, without further ado, here is the bookish soundtrack for Nexus for your listening pleasure! 🎧😊🎉

.

About the Authors:

Sasha Alsburg is the #1 NYT Bestselling Co-Author of ZENITH: The Androma Saga.

When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland she is making YouTube videos on her channel Abookutopia. She lives in Massachusetts with her dogs, Fraser and Fiona.

For her writing, she is represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary.

You can find Sasha on…

Website | Goodreads | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Lindsay Cummings is the #1 NYT Bestselling Co-Author of ZENITH, along with her duology, THE MURDER COMPLEX from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, and the MG trilogy THE BALANCE KEEPERS, from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. She is represented by Pete Knapp at Park Literary in NYC.

Lindsay deals with chronic fatigue, writes full time from her home in the deep woods in North Texas, and loves to chat with fellow book nerds. Lindsay created the #booknerdigans hashtag.

She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. You can follow Lindsay on Twitter @authorlindsayc or on Instagram @authorlindsaycummings

You can find Lindsay on…

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

.

Giveaway

Yay you made it to the giveaway! On this tour, you have the chance to win a finished copy of Nexus by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings! This giveaway is for bookworms in the US. (Sorry, international friends!) The giveaway will run from 1st May through 15th May 2019.

.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

.

Want to see more awesome content and have more chances to win? Of course you do! All you have to do is follow the tour. How? Simply follow this link! 😁


Thank you so much to Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings for creating this series and with it my favorite space pirate girl gang! 💖

Thank you to Inkyard Press for allowing me to have an early copy of Nexus to review and create a bookish soundtrack around!

And, last but not least, thank you so much to the FFBC for allowing me to be a host on this tour! If you’re interested in being an FFBC host (and why wouldn’t you??) click on their logo below! 😁

Blog Tour: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! It seems like Wicked Saints is high up on everyone’s TBR right now. Also, the premise is right up my alley. So, when I got an email inviting me to apply for this blog tour, I jumped at the chance! Keep on reading for my full review, and an excerpt from the book itself! But first, let’s have a look at what the book’s about.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devistatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

 

My Review

Given that Wicked Saints is at the top of everyone’s TBR and was being spoken highly of by those with ARCs they had already read, I definitely went into reading it with high hopes. Before we dive into the review, I did note a few TW/CWs so let’s get them out of the way.

  • Blood
  • Torture
  • Death
  • Attempted rape
  • Psychological abuse
  • Self harm (recurring, but not linked to MI)

The characters, especially the point-of-view characters, were developed so-so. I feel like this book is partially about secrets and that spilled over into the character development just a little, but I feel like I could have a conversation with most of them even if I couldn’t occupy their headspace. I especially loved Nadya because she is flawed and she knows it and she’s just trying to do her best. She’s so incredibly HUMAN it’s perfect. I need more characters who are like that.

The world the characters and story inhabit is built up rather nicely. It was a bit confusing at first because it’s based around a magic system I haven’t seen before but it made better sense as the story progressed and developed the rules of the world naturally. I will say that I probably might have avoided the book had I realized self harm would be so central to the world building, but I can also understand why it works well in this particular setting.

The story itself is complex and beautifully told. It is slow-going a bit at the beginning but by about 1/3 in, I had trouble putting the novel down. There’s one problem after another that keeps you on the edge of your seat and biting your fingernails, needing to know what comes next. And how was I rewarded for all my sleepless nights and work break chapter stealing? The plot twist to end all plot twists. Wow, I did not see that one coming! I should have because COME ON but… sigh. I did not and it was glorious and I may have screeched when I read it, scaring several coworkers.

The ending (post plot twist recovery, of course) was great. It gave me some of the closure I needed from this story while also lining up a few loose ends (some much larger than others) to be covered in the next two books of the trilogy. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel like a cliffhanger at all, likely because the biggest threads were tied off by the end. Emily A. Duncan has definitely got my attention.

Overall, I rate Wicked Saints 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself. A few places you can order your copy from are…

About the Author

Emily A. Duncan.jpeg
EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Excerpt

4

N A D E Z H D A

L A P T E V A

 

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

It’s certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few seconds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he refused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, Myesta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was impossible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Marzenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads, a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of figures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tightened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms became clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow silently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glowing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.

Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for anything.

She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness. Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

Find the rest,” Marzenya hissed. “Kill them all.” Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to communicate with them…

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi assassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.

Blog Tour: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

I loved Roshani Chokshi’s writing SO MUCH in The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes that when the opportunity to be part of the blog tour for Star-Touched Stories presented itself, I knew I absolutely HAD to be part of it! Keep reading for my full review of this collection of short stories! But first, the synopsis!

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gabri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

My Review

I was really excited to be getting to see the world and characters I fell in love with while reading The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes, while also getting to know a few different characters and seeing a little bit more of the magical world I fell in love with. I hadn’t read any of Roshani Chokshi’s shorter writings, so I was excited to see what she would do with the different writing style required for shorter work.

The characters in all three of the stories were all developed enough to allow me to imagine them, but the smaller details are not there. Someone who hasn’t read the novels these stories are set in the world of might not be able to fully grasp the characters personalities or appearances, but as an accompanying novella collection, I think it works really well. I especially loved the second story, Poison and Gold, for the view of Aasha it offers that we didn’t fully get to see in A Crown of Wishes. I loved seeing the ‘after’ for her. In the last story, Rose and Sword, getting to know Gauri’s granddaughter a little made me both proud and sad, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The stories are set in both Bharat-Jain and the Otherworld. The stories are also all set in different periods of time in these worlds that aren’t seen in either of the attached novels, which I especially enjoyed. Death and Light is set in the Otherworld long before the beginning of The Star-Touched Queen, Poison and Gold is set in Bharat-Jain just after the end of A Crown of Wishes, and Rose and Sword is set some decades after the end of A Crown of Wishes in both Bharat-Jain and what I can only assume is Death’s domain. They’re all developed nicely for the story lengths, but I don’t think someone who hasn’t read the two accompanying novels will be able to appreciate the worlds quite so much as someone who has.

The stories themselves flow very well. Roshani’s poetic prose jumps off the page and pushes the story along at a nearly perfect pace from beginning to end. I went into the collection hoping her writing would shine as much in short story format as it does in novel format and she did not disappoint me at all! Everything flows perfectly and makes sense, though I’m not sure if that’s because I read both of the attached novels already and have a good understanding of the characters and the world they exist in or if it’s because of how clear the story is written here.

Either way, I truly loved reading this collection of stories and I’m so glad to have been given the opportunity to read them before their release date, though there is already a spot on my shelf waiting for them when I can get my hands on a physical copy. This is definitely one I will recommend to anyone who loved Roshani Chokshi’s other work or anyone who simply loves short stories with lyrical prose.

Overall, I rate Star-Touched Stories 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and get your hands on a copy to enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:

About the Author

Roshani Chokshi CREDIT Aman Sharma.jpg

 

ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Art Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

 

 

 

Thank you so much to Roshani Chokshi for writing these amazing short stories and for allowing me the privilege of reading a digital galley of them before their release!

Another thank you to St. Martin’s press for allowing me the privilege of participating in this blog tour!

Blog Tour: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I’m super excited to be able to participate in the blog tour for Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga. Keep reading for a few of my favourite quotes, my full review, and a giveaway! The premise of this one is what really made me want to read it, so let’s have a look at what this book is about.

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

 

Yeah how could I not want to read that? Exactly. It was a bit difficult to select my favourite excerpts for this one, but I managed to narrow it down. Keeping in mind, of course, that these are all from the digital galley so they might change in the finished edition.

 

Favourite Excerpts

7%

For I am a powerful weapon in the Royal Arsenal.

 

83%

“I dont know how Love… happens.”

Her shoulders relaxed a little, and she stared off into the distance, as if lost in a memory. “That’s the thing. It just does. No reason at all. Or maybe it’s all the reasons.”

Kiss of the Royal.jpeg

My Review

While it did take me a couple days to read through this one (*shakes fist at adulting in general*), I was constantly wondering about it even when I wasn’t able to be reading it. I don’t remember any specific TW/CWs so we’ll just dive right in. If you’ve read Kiss of the Royal and noted TW/CWs please let me know in the comments and I’ll update this post. 🙂

The characters were all pretty interesting and unique. I did find myself really disliking Ivy for the first half of the book, but I’m going out on a limb and saying it was probably meant to be that way. Her entire world is practically flipped onto its head so clinging to the core beliefs she’s grown up with is to be expected. I did like Zach right from the beginning, though. He’s sincere and sweet and so sarcastic and I need for him to be protected.

The world took a little getting used to. The locations were described well enough to be visualized, though I did have some trouble fully immersing myself. I could, at least, see the characters in their surroundings. The thing that took the most getting used to was the belief and hierarchy system. At the beginning, it seemed almost like I was expected to already understand the way things work hierarchy-wise. There is a bit of explanation of this a few chapters in, but until then I was a bit confused. After that explanation, though, everything comes a bit more smoothly in terms of world building.

As I said before, the premise of the story is what made me really want to read it. It felt a bit forced in the beginning, but once the flow of the story started going (around chapter 2 or 3) it really flowed well. There were a couple of twists and turns in the story, though I think they were mostly the type of plot twists that are meant for the characters and not the reader. I did have some trouble putting this down in places, leading to one too many “one more chapter” nights with work the next day. Also, some of my favourite words to be able to say together in a review: slow burn romance.

I do feel a bit confused by one very specific aspect of the ending, though it could possibly just be Lindsey Duga leading a possible sequel? I’ll keep an eye out for anyone else with similar questions, but I can’t specify anything here without ruining like 80% of the book. I did really enjoy this novel and I look forward to seeing what Lindsey Duga comes out with next!

Overall, I rate Kiss of the Royal 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Get your hands on a copy when it’s released on 3 July 2018 and enjoy it for yourself. Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads too! A few places you can preorder your copy from are:

About the Author

Lindsey Duga.jpeg

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

 

Giveaway

You made it! The end of the post!! Just kidding. Obviously a blog tour this awesome has to have an equally awesome giveaway attached, right? Right! The winner of this giveaway will win one (1) finished copy of Kiss Of The Royal by Lindsey Duga! 😀 This giveaway is US ONLY. Sorry, international bookworms and dragons!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Want more chances to win? Follow the tour! You can find the full tour schedule here.

 

Thank you so much to Lindsey Duga for writing such a creative and unique story. You are a rockstar!

Thank you also to Entangled Teen for allowing me to read a digital galley of this novel before its release date.

Finally, a big thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me the privilege of participating in this tour!

header sml

Blog Tour: The Outcast by Taran Matharu

BLOG TOUR_preview

Hey, bookworms! I am so excited to be able to participate in the blog tour for The Outcast by Taran Matharu, the prequel to his best selling Summoner Series! Keep reading for my full review and a giveaway! But first, let’s see what this book is about.

Enter an immersive world where the chosen few have the ability to summon demons…

Arcturus is just an orphaned stable boy when he discovers he has the ability to summon demons from another world. He is sent to Vocans Academy where the lost arts of summoning, spell craft and demonology are taught to the noble children of the Empire. As the first commoner gifted with this ability, his discovery challenges the nobility and the powers that be and Arcturus soon makes enemies. With no one but his demon Sacharissa by his side, Arcturus must prove himself as a worthy Summoner…

Set before the events of SUMMONER: The Novice this is the perfect introduction to the New York Times bestselling SUMMONER series.

 

book cover_preview.jpeg

My Review

I’ve been curious about this series for a while, so when the chance came up to read an arc of the prequel novel for this tour I had to take it. I tried not to have expectations going in because I hadn’t heard much about the series. I don’t recall any specific TW/CWs needed so let’s just jump right into the review, shall we?

The characters were all really well-developed. I really felt like I could have had a conversation with any of them, though I would have avoided talking with quite a few. I really enjoyed reading from Arcturus’s point of view of the whole thing. It made a few of the plot twists harder to spot coming. I also really like Sacha and she is the best demon companion ever. However, she also has her moments where I need her to just sit still and not endanger Arcturus.

The. World. Building. Is. Gorgeous. From the very first sentence, I was able to drop myself into the world Taran Matharu has created. There are still a couple questions I have about it, but I kinda feel like they’ll likely be answered by the other novels? I feel like this is a common thing that happens when a prequel is written after the series, but I’m so here for this world that I’m willing to overlook the holes and judge after I’ve read the other three books.

The story itself flows really well. It doesn’t ever sit still or grow stagnant even a little, but goes back and forth nicely between “I wonder what happens next” and “I can’t put this down!” I also like how Arcturus’s perspective changes the story from what it would have been if it was just the nobles involved in the adventure. His perspective as someone who was raised as a commoner really shifted the story for the better.

If this novel is an example of what I should expect from Taran Matharu’s writing, I definitely need to read more of his books! Thankfully, there’s a trilogy all set up and ready for me to pick up. 😉 I really enjoyed this one and I hope I’ll be able to dig into the rest of the series soon.

Overall, I rate The Outcast 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Get your hands on a copy and enjoy it for yourself. A few places you can order your copy from are:

 

About the Author

7979840_preview.jpegTaran Matharu is a New York Times bestselling author. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for reading at a very early age. His love for stories developed into a desire to create his own during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.

Thanks to Wattpad.com and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.

After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

 

The Giveaway

So, I’ve seen some good giveaways on blog tours, but WOW this one is great! This giveaway is for US and Canada residing bookworms only. Sorry, international bookworms! One lucky winner will receive one set of the entire The Summoner series by Taran Matharu!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

series_preview.png

Good luck! Want more chances to win and more awesome The Outcast related posts? Follow the tour! You can find the whole tour schedule here.

 

That’s it for this one, bookworms. Thank you so much to Taran Matharu for writing such a wonderfully addicting novel and allowing me the chance to read it before it’s officially published. Another thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me to participate in this lovely tour.

header sml

Blog Tour: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

The instant I received the email about this blog tour, I knew I had to be on it! I’m so super excited to be able to participate! Keep on reading this post for my full review and a giveaway! But first, let’s have a look at what this gorgeous book is about!

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

 

I’m sure you understand why I needed to be part of this tour now, right? 😀

book cover_preview.png

My Review

I’ve had Ace of Shades on my TBR list since Katie started ranting about how excited she was to read it. I was so excited to be able to read a digital galley of the book for this tour! I’m also glad that I decided to wait a few days before thinking about how to write this review after having read it because I made the mistake of reading reviews on Goodreads before formulating my own review. Now that I’ve had a few days to process both the book and their reviews of it, I feel like I’m more capable of fully expressing my thoughts and opinions on it. Here’s hoping I’m right!

The characters were all relatively well developed. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Enne and her thought processes, but they were all laid out well enough that she was quite three-dimensional and easy enough to imagine as a real person. I liked the occasional switch to other character points of view while still maintaining Enne as the main point of view character. It allowed for a greater development of some of the characters that we might not have gotten from only her perspective.

Ace of Shades is set in the North side of the City of Sin, where street gangs and mafia families rule. The world was built up really well to the point of being immersive. Amanda Foody obviously took great care in building up the rules of the world without being blatantly obvious about it because I was able to fully understand them without realizing I had learned them.

The plot itself was interesting, though it did start off slightly slower than I was anticipating. I was having trouble wanting to read a digital book when I picked it up, so the fact that it took about two chapters to pick up was irritating to me at the time. In retrospect, that seems a bit unreasonable but there you have it.

The story kept me hooked from that point on though and I ended up staying awake and finished reading it around 1:30AM, which was horrible when I was at work the next day. There were beautiful plot twists and the ending wrapped up at least most of the loose ends while leaving enough room for the next book in the series to start from. Not quite a cliffhanger but not fully satisfying either.

One thing I saw a lot of in other people’s reviews was that the cast and world were too similar to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and I feel like I should address that here. I can say that while there are definite similarities, I feel like Ace of Shades stands on its own very well. While I don’t feel like seeing the similarities between the two novels is a reach, I can say that it’s likely just genre similarities. It’s a perfect example of “If you liked this, read that.” So, honestly, if you enjoyed Six of Crows, Ace of Shades is definitely a series you’ll want to pick up.

I really did enjoy reading this novel though. I definitely understand the hype surrounding Amanda Foody’s writing because her style flows really well. If I’m being completely honest, I’m already ready to preorder the next book in the series. I can’t wait to read more of this world and these characters!

Overall, I rate Ace of Shades 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:

 

About the Author

15269309_preview.jpeg

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.

DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY is her first novel. Her second, ACE OF SHADES, will follow in April 2018.

Giveaway

As promised, this lovely blog tour includes a giveaway! You could win one of five (5) finished copies of Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody! Note: This giveaway is for US and Canada only. (Sorry, international bookworms!) The giveaway ends on April 19th, so enter while you can!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 

Follow the Tour

Want to see more fun posts and have more chances to win? Follow the tour where! You can find the full tour schedule here.

 

Thank you so much to Amanda Foody for writing such an intriguing novel and for allowing me to read it for this tour!

Another huge thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me the privilege of participating in this blog tour!

Keep living one page at a time!

header sml

Blog Tour: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Oh my gosh! Happy book birthday to S. Jae-Jones!! I’m super excited to be able to participate in the blog tour for Shadowsong! I devoured the first book in this series, Wintersong, in a single day and when I got the opportunity to be part of the blog tour for this sequel, I jumped at the chance! (You can check out my full review of Wintersong here if you’d like, but you might want to wait until after this post!) Stick around through this post for a few of my favourite excerpts, my full review of Shadowsong, and an awesome giveaway! But first, let’s have a look at what Shadowsong is about!

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?

 

With a Goodreads synopsis like that, how could I not be psyched to read it?! (Yes, that was rhetorical. I was beyond psyched to read it.)

 

Favourite Excerpts:

These excerpts are taken from the digital galley and may be changed in the finished publication.

 

11%

The ring was a symbol of the Goblin King’s power, but more than that, it was a promise that his love was greater than the old laws. One could not place a price on a promise.

 

21%

There was a part of me that wished I could confess and confide everything to her. How I hadn’t played or composed in an age because I was unable to face the enormous effort it would take to sit, to work, to labor. Because whenever I worked on my magnum opus, I felt another’s presence beside me–his touch, his his, his caress. Because I was afraid she wouldn’t believe me; or worse, that she would.

 

54%

I had tried so long and so hard to move on that I was afraid of returning to the places where his ghost still lingered. To return to the Goblin Grove would be returning to a self I had outgrown, trying to tuck who I had become back into the seams of another girl.

 

bc_preview.jpeg

My Review:

I was so incredibly excited when I was asked to do a review of Shadowsong for the tour. Having recently read Wintersong (my review can be found here) and LOVING it, I wanted to get my hands on Shadowsong as soon as possible. I was hoping for something as overwhelming and epic as Wintersong was and not only was I not let down, but it blew my expectations away. Before we continue, I do want to go ahead and let y’all know that there are spoilers in this review for Wintersong.

I do need to mention that there was one secondary theme in the story that is aro/ace-misic. I don’t think it’s something S. Jae-Jones did on purpose and it might or might not have been run past a sensitivity reader. While reading it, I came across a single line that felt like it crawled under my skin and made this theme clear, but I thought I might have been over-reacting or over-thinking it. But then when a friend, who is also on the tour, came to me about that same line, I knew I had to include this tw/cw in my review just in case. I’m not going to put the line here just in case it’s spoily, but if you’d like for me to send it to you privately I would be more than happy to. On to the rest of the review!

The characters of Shadowsong are mostly those who we got to know in Wintersong with a few new and sinister additions. I really like how the character arc of Leisl went in this one because she is allowed to be uncertain while still trying to hold it together. Each character is given enough development to be realistic enough to converse with, though there were a couple I would as soon stay away from. They were all really well done and largely individual, save for a few of the secondary characters who we didn’t see as much and, thus, didn’t need to know as well.

I do want to go back to Leisl’s arc specifically really quick because her arc in Shadowsong gave me something I didn’t recognize until I started writing this review. At the beginning of Shadowsong, Leisl is still reeling from having to leave behind Der Erlkönig in order to stay alive. She’s unable to compose because each time she plays, she’s mentally thrown back into the Underworld. This, in some small way, made me feel like Leisl’s arc is decent representation for PTSD.

She was forced to leave behind the man she loves to be trapped in an eternal prison to continue living and working on a piece of music that is not only mainly about their relationship but that they worked on so closely together up until that point. She tries holding it together and putting on a good face, and she believes she is doing a decent job of it until she’s disillusioned of that belief. Music and composing are such huge parts of who she is that suppressing the need to compose pushes her further into her depressive state. And yet, when she does compose, it’s clear that it triggers a deepening of that depressive state as well. I just really enjoyed seeing this play out in the story, no matter how subtly it was done.

Shadowsong is set in a few different places because there are more than one point-of-view and they travel a bit. The Underworld didn’t receive as much world building as it did in Wintersong, but as this is a sequel I don’t feel like it really needed it. I was still able to picture the world and understand the way it functions from reading Wintersong. In Leisl’s home in the small town of Bavaria, we didn’t get much development either because, again, it was developed thoroughly in Wintersong. If its been a while since you read it a re-read wouldn’t be out of order and might help with this.

The two locations that received the most world building were Vienna and Snovin. Vienna is a bustling city, which is not what Leisl and her family are used to, having come from a small town inn. Snovin is an estate with a dark and magical background. Of all the places in this story, Snovin is probably my favourite. It’s the first place since the Goblin Grove and the Underworld that we get to see a good bit of magic but it was a bit twisted, which became clearer as the story revealed the backstory of the estate.

The story itself was so incredibly elaborate that it almost dares you to put it down, which is, of course, impossible. From beginning to end, there is something happening or something learned about the characters and their arcs. It flowed relatively well and everything came together so nicely at the end. Reading Shadowsong was basically eight hours of having my heart torn out, set on fire, and then replaced again. Burn, rinse, repeat. The ending of Shadowsong was so incredibly bittersweet and all loose plot lines were closed up so neatly.

The only thing that kept this from being a single sitting was the fact that I’ve had to work almost every day, a fact that I was still not prepared to let get in the way of me reading this digital galley. Late into the night, on the way to work (bus sickness be damned), on my breaks, and on my lunch break, I was deep in the world of Shadowsong and refused to come out. My coworker, who insisted I read Wintersong in the first place, only encouraged this, understanding when my only response to “how is it so far?” was “I HURT.” Shadowsong could easily be the finale of a duology, but I’m not sure I’m ready to let go. I look forward to reading more of S. Jae-Jones’ work in the future!

Overall, I rate Shadowsong 4 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Get your hands on a copy and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:

 

About the Author

13414088_preview.jpeg

S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the NYT bestselling author of Wintersong.

Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for ten years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.

 

Giveaway

Didn’t I say there would be a giveaway? Congratulations! You made it! One lucky reader will win:

  • One (1) finished copy of Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

This giveaway is US Only! Sorry, international bookworms!!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 

Follow The Tour

Would you like to see more reviews and creative content while increasing your chances of winning the giveaway prize? Wish granted! Check out the other stops on the blog tour and you can have these things and more. You can find the full tour schedule here.

 

Thank you SO MUCH to S. Jae-Jones for writing Shadowsong. It’s such a brilliant novel and gift to the YA/NA Fantasy community and you are such a rockstar!

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me to be part of this tour!

And, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to Wednesday Books for the gift of being able to read Shadowsong before its publication date. And also, obviously, for recognizing S. Jae-Jones’ ridiculous amount of talent and publishing her in the first place!

That’s all for this post, bookworms. Keep living one page at a time!

Blog Tour: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Happy Friday, bookworms! I am so excited to be finishing off this week by being able to participate in this awesome blog tour for American Panda by Gloria Chao! Stick around through this post for my favourite excerpts from the book, my full review, and a giveaway! But first, let’s have a look at what American Panda is about.

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

I’m sure you can see why I absolutely had to be part of this blog tour after reading that synopsis from Goodreads! Now that we know what it’s about, let’s dig into a few of my favourite excerpts.

 

Favourite Excerpts:

These excerpts are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy the publisher sent me and they might change in the finished copy.

5%

“Honesty is sometimes misconstrued as rudeness, which is probably why its so rare.”

 

23%

“What is this place?” I asked, my lips turning up into the grin reserved for after-midnight spoonfuls of Nutella.

“Whatever we want it to be.”

“A place to dream,” I answered immediately. And for a moment I let my dance-studio pre-prima-ballerina dreams back in. Let myself enjoy that I was in this secret garden between lectures and that maybe, just maybe, it was okay to enjoy Darren’s company for a few brief moments.

 

51%

I liked to personify the Porter Room because he had become such an integral part of my life, and when I danced, it was like I was conversing with Mr. Porter about my thoughts and emotions. When I stomped my anger into his tiles, he supported me, vibrated with me, and told me, I got you. When I dragged my feet, sweeping them across the floor to paint my sadness into the linoleum, he had absorbed my pain and told me it would be okay

My Review:

I was really excited to be able to receive a digital galley of this book because it’s one I’ve really been looking forward to reading. It was not even a little disappointing! It was a bit different from what I was expecting, but that didn’t stop it from being thoroughly enjoyable, something made crystal clear by the fact that I read it in a single day and stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to finish it.

The characters are all really well developed and three dimensional. I felt like I could easily have had a conversation with any of them. There was also something to each character that I don’t get to see much in YA: a high level of complexity. Much of the time while reading YA, the characters aren’t quite as they appear with friends often being revealed later as villains and vice versa. With American Panda, the characters aren’t quite as they appear at first… they’re so much more. We’re given a first impression of the character which is then built upon instead of turned away from later. I really enjoyed that.

The story is set in Massachusetts, going back and forth between MIT’s campus and Boston. Each location was described with just enough detail that I was able to fill in any gaps with my imagination and put myself into the places where the characters found themselves. The world building itself is so tied into the plot that it’s hard for me even now to separate the two.

When I saw YA Contemporary and a cute girl on the cover, I figured American Panda would be a light, fluffy read. It. Was. Not. Throughout the novel, I got a window into part of what Mei calls “Chinese Politics,” which is both incredibly complicated and incredibly overlooked in western society. I had to remove what I typed here because I accidentally included a spoiler but… part of an ongoing theme throughout the story reiterated the fact that Asian people are not interchangeable, which is something I would definitely LOVE to see more in media.

While I generally don’t mention the Author’s Note or Acknowledgements in my reviews, the Author’s Note at the end of American Panda really struck a chord for me. I read this novel as a white American woman and LOVED it. But… the whole time I was reading it and learning the different aspects of Mei’s experience I couldn’t help thinking “Someone out there is having this experience. Someone out there is Mei. This is so important. They need this. They deserve this.” So seeing the Author’s Note at the end after having thought this for the majority of the book was as perfect as the book itself.

Overall, I rate American Panda 5 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Preorder your copy to receive it when it’s released on 6 February 2018 and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to order your copy from are:

 

About the Author:

Gloria Chao.jpg

Gloria Chao is an MIT grad turned dentist turned writer. AMERICAN PANDA is her debut novel, coming out February 6, 2018 from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.

Gloria currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband, for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for cooperative board games, Dance Dance Revolution, or soup dumplings. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out.

Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at gloriachao.wordpress.com and find her on Twitter @gloriacchao.

 

Giveaway

As promised, there is a giveaway at the end of the tunnel! Err–blog post! One lucky bookworm will win a finished copy of American Panda by Gloria Chao!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 

Follow the Tour!

Want to see more fun and creative posts on the American Panda Blog Tour and maybe get yourself extra chances to win? Well, of course you do! Here’s the full tour schedule so you can visit all the other wonderful blogs on the tour!

A HUGE thank you to Gloria Chao for writing this book. You are such an amazing and wonderful author and I really can not wait to see what you write next!

Thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me the privilege of participating in the blog tour for as wonderful a novel as American Panda and for the digital galley of the book.