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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

#FearlessWomen Tour ~ Starless by Jacqueline Carey


Release date: June 12th 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel's Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.

I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man...

Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

~EXCERPT~


I glanced at Zariya and saw her flushed with anger and embarrassment, and suddenly I was angry, too; anger rising in me like Pahrkun’s wind. I looked for the spaces between that existed in this bickering exchange and drove words into them like a blade. “I do not answer to you, Your Majesties,” I said to both Adinah and Sanala in the coldest voice I could muster. “Not in this or any matter. I do not answer to anyone save Pahrkun the Scouring Wind.”

For the first time since I’d caught sight of Merabaht, I was not the one gaping.
“You dare!” Queen Adinah recovered first, striding forward to strike at my face with an open palm. I angled away from the blow, causing her to stumble. She drew in an outraged breath. “Guards!”
Captain Tarshim stepped forward, signaling to the others. As their gilded spears leveled at me, I braced myself and tried to gauge whether I could take out all four without bloodshed.
“No!” It was Sister Nizara who countermanded them in a forceful tone. “Mother, Anamuht is displeased with the House of the Ageless.  Will you worsen matters by incurring the outright wrath of the Sacred Twins?”
The guards stood down and I breathed more easily.
Queen Adinah summoned her dignity with an effort. “Because you are young and ignorant, I will forgive the offense you have given me today,” she said to me. “And I will tell you to choose wisely before you make enemies at court.”
I inclined my head to her.
She beckoned to a maidservant. “I will retire to my chambers for the midday rest.”
Following her lead, the others dispersed save for Sister Nizara, whom I saluted. “Thank you, Elder Sister.”
She frowned. “My mother is in the wrong, but there is merit to her advice . . .  Zariya, are you laughing?”
“No, sister,” Zariya said in a choked voice, her shoulders shaking. “I am trying very hard not to.”

About the Author


JACQUELINE CAREY is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology, postmodern fables "Santa Olivia" and "Saints Astray," and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series. Carey lives in western Michigan.





Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.” 

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories. 

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Series: The Villains #2
Release date: September 25th 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Pre-order: Amazon
Add to TBR: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions—V. E. Schwab returns with the thrilling follow-up to Vicious.

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

With Marcella's rise, new enmities create opportunity--and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.



V.E. Schwab
About the Author
VICTORIA (V.E.) SCHWAB is the author of the NYT bestselling Shades of Magic series, as well as a number of MG and YA novels, including This Savage Song. She has been called "the heir to Diana Wynne Jones." Her dynamic work has caught the attention of major TV and film studios. Schwab has a Masters degree in Art History from the University of Edinburgh. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, but frequents Edinburgh.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM





Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review & Blackout Poetry: Vicious by V.E. Schwab ~ #FearlessWomen

Series: The Villains #1
Re-elease Date: May 29th 2018
Publisher: Tor Teens
Purchase: Amazon


Synopsis:
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.


Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

*Publisher provided the ebook via Netgalley for the tour. My review is honest and without bias.



REVIEW

Vicious has great writing and a very interesting concept in regards to the whole extraordinary abilities and the type of person you come back as after the transition. I was undoubtedly intrigued from start to finish and am looking forward to the second book since a certain person wasn't dealt with in the way I would have liked.

Getting into main characters and how I feel about them. Victor and Eli both had savage ways, in my opinion. Eli, of course, was the bigger monster, weaponizing his beliefs and using God as justification to be judge and jury over other extraordinary individuals. If he felt that deeply about it then he should have started with himself. Even writing about him irks me. And it wasn't even like he was this great person in the beginning. Eli always came off as self-righteous and conceited. And the things Victor had detected in his personality from the moment they became roommates and friends, developed immensely when Eli became EO and started on a mission to kill the others. 

Speaking of Victor, he had some shady ways about him too. I think these guys crossed paths because both had something inside similar to the other. Victor also had a messed up head. He had jealous ways and definitely wanted to become EO because Eli had achieved that. And I feel that a lot of the hurt and betrayal he felt went back to a certain girl between them and how the whole thing played out after Eli turned him in. But in spite of being vicious at times, Victor still had better control of himself and in the end, he was nothing like Eli. Yes, Sydney's character became more interesting to him once he'd realized her abilities. But that changed quickly and even though he didn't show it much, it was obvious he cared for the girl. She was like family, just like Mitch and how they connected. But in Eli's case, he cared for no one. I doubt he ever truly considered Victor as a friend. The only reason he kept Serena around was due to the fact that he was unable to tear himself from her, and her ability helped his horrible mission. In the end, she definitely deserved what she got, but like I mentioned before, Eli's fall wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked.

So for my final thoughts: a very intriguing story with a few supernatural and scientific moments here and there. Characters weren't perfect. There wasn't a clear hero and no one was without complications. And although I did appreciate all the details involving the background for each character and the frequent back and forth between past and present, the overflow made me feel a tad overwhelmed and the switch could get confusing if you're not staying sharp. However, I knew I had to just look past those issues and understand that they were necessary to the story in order to better understand these individuals: who they were before all this and why they were like that now. Plus, the concept of EOs and how they came to have their abilities was the most interesting part and not really like anything you've seen in movies or read about more. That was unique in a sense and rather refreshing. It left me wanting to learn more, so I am curious as to what happens next after that ending.  



~BLACKOUT POETRY~




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VICTORIA (V.E.) SCHWAB is the author of the NYT bestselling Shades of Magic series, as well as a number of MG and YA novels, including This Savage Song. She has been called "the heir to Diana Wynne Jones." Her dynamic work has caught the attention of major TV and film studios. Schwab has a Masters degree in Art History from the University of Edinburgh. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, but frequents Edinburgh. 





Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.” 

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories. 

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Release date: May 15th 2018
Publisher: Crown BFYR | Penguin Random House
Purchase: Amazon


Synopsis via Goodreads:
Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star. 

Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light.

*Publisher provided physical ARC in exchange for an honest review.


My So-Called Bollywood Life certainly lived up to its title. This is a really cute, light, and entertaining story that you may enjoy if you're not bothered by a lot of Bollywood movie references, astrology, and prophecies, or some high school drama. In my case, I went in expecting these things from reading the blurb, but I just felt that some of the drama (especially toward the end) could have been left out. And I did have to slow down my reading pace quite often when movies and actors came up. Those things aside, I still liked the story.

Winnie's character is one you could describe as passionate, not only about her culture and the incredible collection of movies she owns, but she genuinely loves the arts and already has an idea of what she wants in life. But when it comes to her romantic life, she's unsure as to whether she should trust in this prophesied destiny or make her own path based solely on her heart. She spends the majority of the story trying not to completely dwell on this prediction, and while I strongly feel that we all make our destiny in life and shouldn't rely on astrology, you can't tell people to disregard their beliefs no matter how you feel about it. Winnie's friends encouraged her to trust in her feelings and not consider the prophecy too much, and even though she tried, in the end, she just couldn't rid herself of something she believed in since she was a child. 

What I like most about the story is how celebrated the Indian culture is within this community and the different types of food mentioned. Some are familiar to me and some new. Either way, it made me drool whenever Winnie and her family ate together. Her parents were interesting characters in their own way too, and it was enlightening seeing how they were with Winnie and how much they valued their culture and traditions. 

I also like Dev and the fact that Winnie didn't linger on Raj. She stuck to her decision to staying apart and she never went back on that. Loved that she gave things a shot with Dev and encouraged him to take things slow with her. It irked me at times whenever she brought up the prophecy around him, but again, her feelings were understandable because it's her belief. And even though I'd already figured out that part long before it came up, I still would have liked for Dev to be honest from the get-go, especially knowing who Winnie was and how she spent her whole life thinking about the Pandit's prediction. Then again, I could understand his reasons behind it.

Overall, I like the writing, the characters, and how light and easy the story is. Again, not a fan of the bit of drama that happened toward the end, but it still made for an entertaining read. 




Nisha SharmaAbout the Author
Nisha Sharma grew up on Bollywood movies, eighties classics, and romance novels, so it comes as no surprise that her first novel, My So-Called Bollywood Life, features all three. 
Nisha credits her father for her multiple graduate degrees, and her mother for her love of Shah Rukh Khan and Jane Austen. She lives in Pennsylvania with her cat Lizzie Bennett and her dog Nancey Drew. 





Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Release date: May 1st 2018
Publisher: Hogarth
Purchase: Amazon


Synopsis via Goodreads:

An original, imaginative, and hilarious debut novel about love, anxiety, and sea creatures, from the author of So Sad Today.

Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for thirteen years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika's home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety -- not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound's easy affection. 

Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship--and Lucy's understanding of what love should look like--take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

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



This was...different, and while as a Pisces myself I could relate to some characteristics depicted, other forms of behavior were obviously individual and just had me utterly baffled. 

I definitely see how Lucy had mental issues with her thought process and inappropriate actions. She was looking for something that not even she knew what that was, and for a moment there she truly believed she'd found it with a mythical creature. That part of the story was the craziest and the things they did during intimacy had me cringing. Plus the way it ended had me a little confused, in the sense that certain things weren't clearly explained and I needed to understand more about Theo. 

Also, I hated how Lucy treated Dominic. I honestly felt disgusted with her and would have liked for her to face some kind of retribution. But oh well, the story wasn't about that, I guess, and at least she was showing signs of growth towards the end.

Overall, this was a tough one for me to get through and I'm still iffy about my feelings toward the story. All I can say is that it was just really different, crazy, but all in all great writing.



About the Author
melissa broderMelissa Broder is the author of four poetry collections, including LAST SEXT (Tin House, 2016), and the essay collection SO SAD TODAY (Grand Central, 2016). THE PISCES is her first novel.
Broder writes the So Sad Today column for VICE, the horoscopes for Lenny Letter, and the Beauty and Death column at Elle.com. Her poems appear in POETRY, The Iowa Review, Tin House, Guernica, Fence, The Missouri Review, Denver Quarterly, et al. She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for poetry.
Broder received her BA from Tufts University and her MFA from City College of New York. She lives in Los Angeles.





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