Friday, January 19, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Series: Blood and Sand #1
Release date: January 16th 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:


The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared to take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

The story continues in Fire and Ash, coming in 2019 from Tor Teen.

*Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

After spotting Blood and Sand on Goodreads, I knew I just had to read it. While I haven't watched or read anything regarding Spartacus or Gladiators before, I do love female protagonists that are strong and more than capable of saving themselves when it comes down to it. And in the case of warrior princess Attia, she had all this and more, plus she was able to become vulnerable and compassionate beyond the tough exterior. 

I loved the two main characters from start. Both Attia and Xanthus had endured so much in their past and it made them real and even more interesting. It was also wonderful to see how much their adversity motivated them to rise to the top and face things head on and that more than anything else drew them closer and became a beautiful bond in the wake of all the chaos.

Romance aside, the overall setting and historical aspect of the story was magnificently executed and I applaud the author for her superb writing and the way in which she kept the novel so intriguing. From the fight scenes to the atmosphere outside of the arena, every moment was important and not once did the story feel dull or draggy. I enjoyed every bit of this thrilling tale and I cannot wait to read the second book. 

Speaking of follow-ups, the ending really broke me and left me with questions, and I'm nervous about what will happen next for each surviving character. I'm looking forward to finding out where their paths will lead and if Attia and Xanthus will have a happy ending once the people responsible for their suffering falls. 

In conclusion, Blood and Sand is quite a thrilling adventure that pulls you into the lives of two determined individuals fighting for love and justice in a time of brutality. I highly recommend reading this fantastic story.

C. V. WykAbout the Author
C.V. Wyk is the author of BLOOD AND SAND, debuting from Tor Teen in winter 2018. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Wyk now resides on the east coast along with a precocious mini poodle and demanding guinea pig. 

In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, hiking, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction.



Finished copies of the book will be provided by the publisher to 3 winners.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Series: The Smoke Thieves #1
Release date: May 1st 2018
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The beginning to an epic medieval fantasy trilogy, perfect for Game of Thrones fans. 

A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. 
A brave soldier turned traitor. 
A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. 
A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. 
A charming thief with no clue about his true identity. 

Their lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth about demon smoke intertwines all their fates. Welcome to The Smoke Thieves, a tangled web of political intrigue, shifting alliances, and forbidden love, in a world where sometimes no amount of magic can keep you safe.

Sally Green

About the Author
Sally Green lives in northwest England. She has had various jobs and even a profession, but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can’t stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn’t mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it’s raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less coffee. She is the author of the Half Bad Trilogy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Release date: January 2nd 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter...

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm still a bit iffy about this novel. I didn't really connect with the main character and was often confused by the story, but I did like the setting and the subject of mental illness and how it is viewed in this small and eerie community. But while the writing is good, it came off somewhat poetic in dialogues and I found myself constantly wondering why these people are talking like this and how it doesn't really fit the time in which the story is set. Unless it's just me and this is how people speak in Alaska? 

It's just a strange story, which I'm often drawn to, but with this one I feel like it could have been so much more. Whenever the atmosphere got tense, it would fizzle with not much resolve, and in the end it seems as though Corey left Lost Creek as confused as the moment she returned.  I would have loved for something to happen, some kind of change or awakening in this crazy community, but I guess every story can't end like that. Still, I wish there was...more. 

To conclude, Before I Let Go is certainly dark and intense and has an interesting premise. And while it didn't completely work for me, maybe I just didn't get the intention of the story and you might enjoy it more. So I still recommend giving it a read.

Marieke NijkampAbout the Author
Marieke Nijkamp a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She's the author of THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS and the forthcoming BEFORE I LET GO. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Release date: March 6th 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Tomi AdeyemiAbout the Author
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Whatever It Takes by Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker

Release date: December 4th 2017
Publisher: Pocket Star
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Bestselling author Tu-Shonda Whitaker has penned a witty and sizzling romance that will leave you begging for more.

India Parker has gotten to the point in her life where she accepts she will always be alone. All of that changes, however, when her best girlfriend asks her for help in catching her husband cheating on camera.

When India returns the camera, she comes across pictures of Devin, her friend’s twenty-three-year-old son. Only he’s not a boy anymore, and he wants to prove to India that he’s man enough for her.

*Publisher provided ebooks via Netgalley in exchange for honest review.

This was my first time reading anything by this author and I must say, I found this novella to be hilarious. While I never read books according to seasons, I was curious about this one more than the others that the publisher had emailed me and ended up liking it more. 

First of all, you can't go into this short story looking for a lot of depth to characters or something that will rock your emotions in a serious way. It was more on the humor and erotic side. Everything happened fast. Nothing was realistic, but it's definitely interesting. 

So the premise is about an older woman dating a younger man, and all the drama that comes with it. I don't know how I'd feel about my best friend having a relationship with my son, so I could understand why India would be apprehensive about telling Devin's mother. But the fact that they even went out to various public places wasn't exactly keeping things secret, so that had me rolling my eyes at her. As for Devin's mom, she was crazy. Sneaking around and watching her husband, trying to catch him in the act, that's messed up and if she's going to spend her life doing that then maybe she shouldn't be with him. The whole thing was just wild, but it made for an enjoyable read, to me. 

Of course, India had all these issues with dating Devin, as anyone would. Throughout the story, and even though it's already short, she kept bringing up all the reasons why they shouldn't be together. She worried about him wanting children because she felt that time was running out for her, and she feared he wouldn't want to settle down. She even allowed her insecurities to almost destroy what they were starting to have, but thankfully by the end, India was able to get over all that and just be with Devin.

Overall, like I said, it's not deep. Just a short and sexy novella that's warm for the cold weather, funny and light enough to not leave you feeling gloomy. Cute story, Ms. Whitaker.


Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker
About the Author
Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker is the award winning, Essence bestselling author of Flip Side of the Game and Game Over. 
She is also a contributing writer to the anthologies: Cream and Kiss The Year Goodbye. 
Whitaker was awarded the Ella Baker and W.E.B. Du Bois International Award for fiction writing. Her most recent title, The Ex Factor has been featured in several magazines such as Vibe Vixen and Romantic Times Book Review as one of the hottest, sensual, and humorous tales released this year. 
Whitaker lives in New Jersey with her husband and their children.

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