Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TTT: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of Early 2016 (That I Haven't Read)


I've seen this meme on a lot of blogs and decided to join in. This meme was created by The Broke and Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new topic that involves a list of ten books. 

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For the First Half of 2016 (That I Haven't Read)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie ARC Review


E-ARC, 288 pages
Published by Flux
Publication Date: February 8th, 2016
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Brittany's Book-Themed Chats! #BBTC




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto ARC Review

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Format: Paperback ARC
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pub. Date: Feburary 2nd, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015


I've seen this meme on a lot of blogs and decided to join in. This meme was created by The Broke and Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new topic that involves a list of ten books. 

This week's topic: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015


Friday, December 11, 2015

Twelve Days of Bookmas!



All year, I have been collecting books from different events I've attended and had them signed to give them away to all of you this holiday season! Each day on this blog post starting Sunday, December 13, there will be a new Rafflecopter giveaway for either a signed hardcover or set!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood ARC Review


Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood 
Paperback ARC, 301 pages
Published by Running Press Teens,
an imprint of Running Press Books Publishers
Publication Date: December 8th, 2015
Pre-Order It: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren's life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Friday, December 4, 2015

November Wrap-Up



It was a pretty hectic month here for the gals of Brittany's Book Rambles. Then again, it usually is when it comes to the holiday season. 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard ARC Review + Giveaway

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard
Paperback ARC, 440 pages
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace ARC Review


Paperback ARC, 358 pages
Published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
Pre-order It: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye Manuscript Review Worshipping


Format: Uncorrected Manuscript, 388 pages
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bluescreen by Dan Wells ARC Review

Bluescreen by Dan Wells
Format: Paperback ARC, 335 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16th, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.

Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.

Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh


My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Monday, November 9, 2015

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson Review + Twitter Chat with a Giveaway


I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Format: Hardcover, 371 pages
Publisher: Dial Books/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: September 16th 2014
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig ARC Review


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Format: Paperback ARC, 454 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pre-Order Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fire Falling by Elise Kova Release Tour: Interview + Giveaway






Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Ruined by Amy Tintera

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel


I've seen this meme on a lot of blogs and decided to join in. This meme was created by The Broke and Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new topic that involves a list of ten books. 

This week's topic: Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel 


1) Heidi Heilig


Brittany: I'm extremely amazed at Heidi's imagination come to life in her book The Girl From Everywhere. It's a really magical book that reminds me so much of Studio Ghibli. I'm really excited to find out what is Nixie's next adventure!


2) Lucy Keating


Brittany: You guys should know by know how much I looooooove this book. Since reading it, I haven't let it be far from me so I can fall back into all of my favorite moments. It's such a beautiful story that's well-written and witty.


3) Renee Ahdieh


Brittany: I was completely blown away by The Wrath & The Dawn and I'm dying to get my hands on the sequel. The world-building, the characters, with a unique spin on a fairy tale? What more could you ask for?


4) Sabaa Tahir


Brittany: I was just a giant ball of feels after reading An Ember in The Ashes. I read it in one sitting, and around 2AM when I finished I just sat clutching the book to my chest and rocking back and forth. This was back before we had a sequel confirmed! I would have just died if we were left with that ending. BUT all is right in the world because we get a sequel in 2016! 



5) Victoria Aveyard


Brittany: Red Queen flew off the pages into a symphony of feels that I was not prepared to handle. It was one of the few books that I could imagine without putting a lot of effort, the writing just paints everything perfectly in your mind. I don't expect any less from Glass Sword and pretty much anything else Aveyard might write in the future.


6) Michael Jensen & David Powers King


Brittany: Woven was a very unexpected fun read. All I knew before reading it was how a close-minded publisher dropped this amazing book. Honestly, it was their loss and Scholastic's gain. That being said, these two can count on me to be reading all of their future work.


7) Kim Leggitt


Brittany: Kim Leggitt has made me wonder if I should give the horror genre (at least in YA) another go. Anyone who can do that to a wimp like me, is pretty amazing.



8) Kathy MacMillan


Brittany: Kathy MacMillan really knows how to build a culture and a world, and I really loved the setting in Sword and Verse. I'm very curious about what other worlds MacMillan has in store for all of us!



9) Nicola Yoon 



Nikki: Everything, Everything has completely changed my mind about contemporaries! Nicola Yoon is a great writer, and I would love to read anything else written by her. Her prose, dialogue, style—I need more!


10) Brianna Shrum


Nikki: It's really hard to find a good fairy tale retelling, but I love this one! It managed to be original, despite being a retelling, and had everything I was looking for. Another book by Brianna Shrum? Yes, please!



What Sophomore Novels are you looking forward to?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October Wrap-up!



We hope that all of you had a Happy Halloween! This is our first wrap-up post but we're really excited to share everything we've done this month with all of you. 

Books Brittany has read and/or reviewed:




Sword and Verse by Kathy Macmillan 3.5/5 Stars (review + giveaway)

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan 5/5 Stars (Review)

Dreamology by Lucy Keating 5/5 Stars (review + giveaway)

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke 4/5 Stars (Mini Review + Wicked Reads!)

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (review + giveaway coming soon!)

Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch (review coming soon!)

Brittany: October was crazy busy for me and I didn't get to read as much as I wanted to, but hopefully November will be different =)


~ ~ ~

Books Nikki's read and/or reviewed:



The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium #2) by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare 2/5 Stars (Review)

Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (re-read)

Percy Jacson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (re-read)

Soundless by Richelle Mead

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Nightfall by Jake Halpern

Nikki: I've been really busy with school, but hopefully I can get more posts up this month xD. I actually have reviews written for all of these books, but they're still in the process of being edited. To be fair, my reviews are edited by both of my co-bloggers, who are *ahem* hard to please.


~ ~ ~

Features & Blog Tours:




Illuminae Blog Tour 5/5 Stars (Review + Giveaway)

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke 4/5 Stars (Mini Review + Wicked Reads!)

BBCP Project: From Screen to Page

~ ~ ~


Waiting On Wednesdays:



The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

~ ~ ~

Top Ten Tuesdays:




Ten Bookish Habits That I Need To Quit

~ ~ ~


Personal:



NYC Comic Con Recap

Family trip to Quebec City (Coming soon!)


How many books did you guys read this month? Did you do anything really fun? How was your Halloween?



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins


My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Synopsis: Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.

First of all, I have heard AMAZING things about Wendy Higgin's Sweet Evil series though I haven't picked it up yet. I was instantly drawn to this book by its cover because it's so entrancing! It just looks so mysterious and has this "come hither" look. Is it just me? After I read the synopsis and saw that it's inspired by a Grimm Brother's Tale with brooding leading male, I immediately added this to my TBR.

Info about the Author:


Bio: Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NY Times bestselling author of the SWEET EVIL series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology THE GREAT HUNT, and her independently published Irish Fantasy SEE ME.

After earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until achieving her dream job as a full-time writer.

Wendy lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband, daughter, son, and little doggie Rue.

Connect with Wendy: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook | Goodreads |

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wicked Reads: Mini Review of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys + Halloween Must-Reads & Twitter Sweepstakes



We've finally reached the week of Halloween! I know all of you are looking for spooky reads to get you in the mood and I've got some suggestions here for you!

4/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published by Dial Books, 
an imprint of Penguin Group
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis: A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:

Stefan Bachmann, Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, A. G. Howard, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Danielle Paige, Carrie Ryan, Megan Shepherd, Nova Ren Suma, McCormick Templeman, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Cat Winters

Mini Review: I don't usually reach for Horror stories, but my co-bloggers and I really enjoyed reading these stories to one another. Though since none of us are very knowledgeable about the Horror genre, we definitely felt like we misunderstood a few of the stories. Nova Ren Suma's The Birds of Azalea Street and McCormick Templeman's A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow in particular. There was definitely some missing piece we needed to fully understand these. Our favorite stories are what I could call Revenge Stories or stories of Divine Intervention lol. It was a lot of fun reading this book and it's perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit. 

Our Favorite Stories:

Fat Girl with a Knife by Jonathan Maberry. We never realized that horror could be this funny.

The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu. A super creepy read with an oddly satisfying conclusion.

Sleepless by Jay Kristoff. This was awesome! This is the kind of horror I can read over and over again with an extremely satisfying and revengeful ending.

Other Spooky Reads suggestions:

Synopsis: Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Brittany's Full Review of Blood & Salt


~ ~ ~



Synopsis: It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? 

Brittany's Full Review of The Accident Season

~ ~ ~


Synopsis: The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

Nikki's Review to come soon!


~ ~ ~


TWITTER SWEEPSTAKES!

Penguin Teen is hosting a sweepstakes called #TwitterGhostStory which is a week long event starting today (Oct 26th) that ends on Halloween, Oct 31st, where you write a spooky story in 140 characters or less using the #TwitterGhostStory hashtag. There will even be a lot of Penguin authors participating, so be sure to check out the hashtag and enter your own story for a chance to win a prize pack of the Wicked Reads featured titles!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan ARC Review + Giveaway

3.5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
paperback ARC, 378 pages
Published by HarperTeen,
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: January 19, 2016

Synopsis: Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.
Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

Sword and Verse reads exactly how I want historical fiction novels to read. There is a lot of information, a very detailed setting, but with twists that change the original story. I don't think that Sword and Verse is actually a historical fiction, but I really wish that more books from that genre were more like this one. Sword and Verse would have benefited from being broken up into two books so that MacMillan would have had more time and space to develop the plot and the characters. The pacing of the book goes from to slow to BAM—you've advanced months or even years forward in time. At times, it worked and during other times, it didn't. I really like Raisa and Mati's relationship, and I especially loved how much faith Mati had in Raisa, despite everything she put him through. However, I have to say that I found Raisa to be really frustrating at times; there may have been a few instances when I wanted to shake her a bit haha. All in all, it was an interesting read, but it would have been better if some of it's plot devices were expanded upon. 



Strengths/Likes:

1) I really liked how the religious aspects tied into the plot. They wasn't obnoxiously in your face but well incorporated into the culture of the society. It really added to the foundation of the plot and immersed you into the world that MacMillan created. 

2) I totally ship Raisa and Mati. You can see their love brewing from a mile away. No matter what was happening in the plot, I was rooting for them. Even at the times where Raisa found herself doubting their relationship—I BELIEVED.



3) Sword and Verse reads like a historical fiction novel and I really enjoyed that. The plot and the setting reminded me of Ancient Egypt, especially in regards to how the government was run and the description of the tombs.

Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) The pacing of the book to be pretty odd at times. There were sections where I felt that it was moving by slowly and then suddenly the plot would advance rapidly almost out of nowhere. 

2) This book would have been better off as a duology because the plot and the character relationships could have been better developed. Sword and Verse covers the story of Raisa and Mati from when they are little kids until they are young adults and that's a lot of time to cover. MacMillan was successful in how much information and detail she was able to put into the plot, but if given more time and space for a sequel, I think that the story would have benefited from it.  

3) At times, I didn't really understand certain characters' personalities or motives. Even though you get to know Raisa and Mati as Sword and Verse progresses, they sometimes do really out-of-character things that just don't add up. For example, Mati is a very level-headed and loving character, but randomly he had outbursts that didn't make sense or go along with what I thought I knew of the character. 


4) I wish there was more dialogue between the characters. There are long sections of prose which are well-written but I think more dialogue would have developed the character's relationships more. 


Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) "Don't you like it?" Mati asked. "I know it isn't anything special—

"I love it," I whispered quickly. I came so close to telling him about my father then, but I was afraid to—or maybe I didn't want to remind him how different we were. 

Mati drew me closer and kissed my neck. "Tell Laiyonea you found it on the beach," he said, his words buzzing against my skin. "No one will know what it really is but us."

"What is it really?" I asked carefully. My skin seemed to dance up away from my bones, waiting his answer. 

He looked right into my eyes. I very nearly melted away into nothing. "It means you're mine, and I'm yours, Raisa. It means I love you."

2) I froze, then turned on my side so that he couldn't see my face, but I was still within the circle of his arms. "You cared for her," I said to the dim library.

"Yes, of course I—Raisa, don't be ridiculous." He kissed my neck, working his way up to my ear, and when he got there he whispered, "I never have loved, and I never will love, anyone the way I love you." He pushed himself up and faced me, as though to make sure I believed him. I did. No one could doubt his fervent tone. It lit me on fire and made me forget what we were talking about, so that when he flopped back down and went on, it took me a moment to follow.

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