Saturday, July 28, 2018

Arc Review of Mirage by Somalia Daud

Mirage by Somaiya Daud
August 28, 2018
by Flatiron Books

Preorder book here:
Amazon Book Depository  Barnes and Noble Audible

Summary

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancĂ©, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.



*I want to thank both Somaiya Daud and Flatiron books for sending me this book for an honest review.*

Mirage is Somaiya Daud first book and I am so pleased with it. I did not expect loving it as much as I did. It was a mix of Fantasy and Sci-fi which are both my favorite genres. In this world we follow Amina who is ultimately the nicest and most caring person. She comes from poverty, where she has to work and fend for herself and her family. She is then thrown into this world of royalty, where she has to adjust into something she is not. She is kidnapped and taken to a palace where she meets a princess who looks just like her and is of the same age. The princess is cruel and hated by everyone in the realm, and now is looking for someone who can replace her. Amani is then told she needs to learn even single mannerism about the princess. She needs to basically become her. Amina plays the part so perfectly of being the princess and fools everyone in the process. 

I really enjoyed this book, especially for a day view it was so beautifully written. I loved how this story tackled a lot of oppression and evil rulers trying to conquer more than they should. Somaiya did such a great job of translating the traditions of this new world to us without be so overwhelming. I was able to adapt so fast to this world. Her writing was so beautiful and easily able to fall into. 

I really like the characters, I just wished there was more depth into them. For some reason I couldn't find much of a connection with them. There was some growth with the characters, but I felt like maybe we needed more of the in between where we see the growth falling through. The princess had such a big development and I wish we were able to see more of that, not just a few pages. Which is why I took a star off from the book.

I see what the author is putting forward an I can't wait to see how this world is going to build. It has so much potential and so much more we can see and learn from the characters. I'm so glad I picked up this book, and I do recommend if you're into sci-fi with a mix of fantasy. 


4★















Reign of Mist by Helen Scheurer Review


Reign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
September 13, 2018
by Talem Press
Preorder copy here:
Amazon




Summary
The realm’s darkest secret is out. The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents. On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust. But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does. Intriguing and action-packed, Reign of Mist is the second instalment in Helen Scheuerer’s epic YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles.
-Taken from Goodreads





       




Review
  
Reign of Mist is the Second installment to Heart of Mist and if you haven't read it yet, you must. So much is uncovered in this second book. So many twist and turns, the secrets revealed and all of the high impact action. Everything in this book was truly magnificent and incredible to read. I seriously fell in love with this series and was so happy that I had Reign of Mist in my hands, once I was done with Heart of Mist. Helen created such a beautiful and exciting story in this realm. I'm in love with all the characters and how they just interact with everything and everyone. The story is so full adventure, beautiful and gripping landscapes that make you wish you were there.

In this second book we again follow Bleak in her adventure of finding out secrets of her past. What actual happened in her former life and what came to be of her home. Bleak has transformed so much in this new book, her growth amazed me. When we first followed Bleak it was so hard for her not to only think about getting drunk or drinking or avoiding everyone. In this book she cared about how she was better of without a drink. How much clearer and coherent her thoughts were. We get to unravel so many secrets of Bleak past and what her role is in this upcoming war. We are also revealed what part Swinton plays in all of this, and all the juicy secrets he's been keeping to himself. 


In all honesty I did not like Swinton at all in Heart of Mist and even in the first half of Reign of mist. But, as soon as his world started to unravel and he had to make harsh and rash decisions. My heart went all towards him. We find out so much about his past and what his true fears are. Swinton and Fiore's friendship is so much fun to read. I love their bromance and how much they truly care for one another. Swinton finally after so long is able to reach out to Fiore about his pasta and his secrets. This opens up their relationship even more. Fiore though has yet to lay bare his secrets, which I am still sitting here patiently waiting.


My all time favorite POV Henri, I cannot amount to how much fangirling I did while reading her perspective. I just can't write in words how I love how badass she is. We get so much more of her relationship with Athene, which I love but can't approve of. Nope! not ever hahaha. 


Helen's writing is amazing, I flew through her words and didn't miss one. I wanted to savour and take in every single word. Her writing is so vivid, beautiful and very detailed, to the point that you can see yourself there. I found myself never looking away or fidget with my phone or something nearby. I wanted to fully cascade into this world. I cannot gush enough about Helen and her writing. I am going to be picking up her Novellas next. Guys there are like 6 novellas and I am dying inside. I cannot wait! OMG!


Make sure to pick up Heart of Mist and the rest of this series, I highly recommend.


5


Monday, July 9, 2018

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller


Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Source Book Fire
Purchase book here:
Amazon|Goodreads|Book Depository|indigo
Summary:
I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.


Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

-Taken from goodreads





Sal is a gender fluid character who auditioned to be the queens assassin. Not only is she an assassin but she's also a thief. She has other plans other than being the queens assassin, she wants to find everyone involved in a killing in Nacea. This book was released on August 29th and is now available for purchase. Links will be left down below.

These assassins are super cool with their mask's, it made me want one of my own. I'm really happy with the fact that a lot of YA books are now representing the LGBTQ+ community. I was happy to see that Sal's character was represented in that community without it being hinted in a big way to the reader. As if saying here it is, what you wanted a gender fluid character. The author was able to include all of this is a real subtle way. Making me as a reader very happy.

 I really enjoyed the writing in this book it flowed well. It was not super hard to follow, it was fairly easy to read.The characters were easy to get a long with too and the fact the main character is gender fluid made it more interesting. As I have said before. 

I really can't wait to see what the rest of the series entails. I know I will enjoy it. 

*thank you so much netgally for providing a copy of this book*



Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer

Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
Talem Press
Purchase here:
amazon
Synopsis:
In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power. Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers. The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated. Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.
- Taken from Goodread

I just want to start off by saying; I did not expect to lovethis book as much as I did. My friend Jen from @abookishpeach told me about this book last year, and I never picked it up. I finally did when I joined the blog tour for the second book Reign of Mist and OMG guys! I should have picked it up sooner! Thank you to Helen Scheuerer for including me in her Blog tour.

Our main character Bleak has always been invisible. More likely learned to be invisible, she hides from herself and everyone around her. Bleak lost everything important to her, and now she’s left with her berating thoughts and her addiction to alcohol. After losing everyone and everything she has loved, she has no one to confine her secrets in. Especially the one big secret that can get her caught by the king, or even worse killed. Bleak grew up in a world where people like her feared for their selves. They were hated by everyone and were put to death. They were thrown into this dangerous Mist that has surrounded most of the land. We follow Bleak as she is sentenced to present herself to the king, for being a criminal.

Just to say it again, I loved this book. It differed from so many young adult fantasies. It dealt with alcohol abuse, which you don’t see at all lately. I felt like it was handled well in this particular book, especially knowing why Bleak was so addicted to it. Another reason was there is no actual love interest with the main character. There are some hits for potential lovers, but none that can be actually confirmed. Finally, I love this magical world Helen has created. That fact that there’s a deadly Mist that can kill any living person is pretty crazy. 

I really loved the characters in this book. I loved Bleak because even if she was an alcoholic and hated everything and herself sometimes, she still managed to grow so much. She still cared for everyone around her as well. Even if she did not want to show how much, deep down she empathized with everyone.  We are introduced and also follow a few other characters such as, Swinton and Henri. I love Henri, I think I love her so much more than I love Bleak. She’s that bad ass female characters you wish you were. In the scene when her and the other females from her kindred I felt so excited and giddy. They remind me so much of The Valkyries for some reason. They remind of how badass the Valkeries are and how much they want to protect and care for each other. If you do no know who the Valkyries are, this is for you. 

A valkyrie (pronounced “VAL-ker-ee”; Old Norse valkyrja, plural valkyrjur, “choosers of the fallen”) is a female helping spirit of the god Odin. The modern image of the valkyries as elegant, noble maidens bearing dead heroes to Valhalla is largely accurate for what it is, but a highly selective portrayal that exaggerates their pleasant qualities. To some extent, this tendency toward sanitization is present even in the later Old Norse sources, which focus on their love affairs with human men and their assisting Odin in transporting his favorites among those slain in battle to Valhalla, where they will fight by his side during Ragnarok.

Overall, I loved this book. Helen did such an amazing job at writing out this world. I felt like I was gripped into this world as soon as I started reading. It was fast paced, full of witty banter and also really heart breaking scenes. If you enjoyed Fallen Kingdoms Series or The Remnant Chronicles I feel like you’ll really enjoy this book.

Favorite Quotes

“We have to play to the strengths we were given.”

“It was both liberating and crushingly desolate.”
“No one deserved to feel unsafe in their own skin for someone else’s pleasure.” 

“The past has a way of showing us the right path. Inevitably, the same mistakes were made once before, and to know this is great power.”


About the Author



Born
Sydney, Australia 
Website

Twitter

Genre


Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Heart of Mist is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It explores themes of identity, belonging, loyalty, addiction, loss, and responsibility.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.

Helen is now a full-time author living by the beach.


One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Purchase your own copy
Kindle Amazon Book Depository



Synopsis:


Following up on the events of Three Dark Crowns, Blake brings the queen triplets to their fates as they fight for their lives. While the teen queens deal with suitors and advisors, they must also grapple with the reality of their tasks in killing one another for the ultimate throne. When Katharine seems to gather strength, Mirabella and Arisonoe must determine whether they can work together or if they even should. The author takes the cursed sisters to new exciting heights with a driving plot. A continued detailed development of characters carves out unexpected alliances with Blake's careful manipulation. Readers will appreciate the epic payoff of the first novel in this second installment. The present-tense style throughout underlines the drama of the plot. The large cast of characters may seem overwhelming at times, but each is characterized skillfully. Though Blake describes some violence, the gore is minimal, making this appropriate for a broad range of ages. VERDICT Dark indeed, and exploring themes of loyalty, this is a thrilling sequel with everything from action to romance to entice readers. A strong purchase for YA fantasy shelves.—Abby Hargreaves, D.C. Public Library

I cannot begin to explain how much I am loving this series. Kendare Blake’s writing amazes me, it flows so well and it captures you the minute you start reading. I love the fact that I’m never skipping over sentences or seem bored while reading over details. I’m always engaged and enjoying what I’m reading. The writing kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The anticipation of what will happen next had me flipping the page continuously without stopping. 

With the queens I’ll start by saying that Arsinoe, for some reason has always been my favorite. I’m guessing it’s because she’s the least favorable. The one everyone likes least and wishes dead. I grew to loving her character the fact that even if she’s out down throughout the whole story, she’s grown so much. I love how much she cares for her family, and friends. I love that she has never given up even though she was the weakest of the three and the most likely to end up dead.

“No matter how far I go, I'm still your person. We stand together now.” 

― Kendare Blake, One Dark Throne

Mirabella is my second favorite, she also has always cared for her other sister s and never wanted to really harm them. She also cares about the people around her and tries to protect them. She uses her gifts for good and it to take advantage of anyone. 

Katherine on the other hand, has never been my favorite. But she became sort of my favorite bitch queen. Arsinoe is still my favorite even so, but Katherine won m my heart over with her vengeance and will to murder. Even in In Three Dark Crowns I always felt like there was something lacking from her. I felt like I wanted to skip over her narrative all the time. In One Dark Thrown she’s grown into a darker person, seeking only revenge. The reason which is revealed in this book, after her fall in the pit. Even so, I feel like it adds such a good twist to the story. It makes me anticipate the next one even more. 

“But everyone knows that the Breccia Domain is more than an empty hole in the earth. Who knows what happened to the queens who were thrown down into the dark? Into the heart of the island, where the Goddess’s eye is always open. Who knows how she kept those queens or what she turned them into” 
― Kendare Blake, One Dark Throne

Jules is such a mysterious character full of twist and turns and plot twist. We’ve yet to learn so much more from her family, to uncover all of their hidden secrets. Which I hope will be answered in the next book. She has become as important as the three queens, and the book wouldn’t be where it’s at if she was not in it. 

For the most part, I loved this book as a whole. Everything about to the short fight scenes, to the love scenes and all the bitching from Katherine. I can’t wait to read more on these characters. I can’t wait to read more of Kendare Blake’s writing. 

5 out of 5 stars all around. 

The May Queen  by Patrick Axford Paperback ,  564 pages Published 2018 by Independent Purchase  here: Amazon Summary A bo...

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Any books that are reviewed on this site are either gifted to me, won in a giveaway, or purchased. All reviews are honest, and are not swayed by anything. I will note if the books have been gifted or won. Pictures have been taken off of Goodreads or somewhere else if said otherwise. Said pictures are not mine, and I do not hold ownership over them unless stated otherwise.

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