Book Review: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

OurDarkDuetOur Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Published by Greenwillow Books on June 13, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal

Pages: 510 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?


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SST Tour Interview: Mackenzi Lee & The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

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Today on the blog, Mackenzi Lee, author of the upcoming release The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, is here to talk writing, favorites, and so much more. First check out all the details on her new book below!


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Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Expected on June 27, 2017

Goodreads

My Review

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Pre Order

~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~


Interview

What is your go to reward for hitting a deadline?

Depends on the deadline. My deadline rewards have ranged from French fries with dinner to a Kate Spade handbag I’d been coveting for years.  

Do you edit while writing or wait until the end?

I try so hard to wait until I’m done with a draft before I go back and start editing. I’m a firm believer that all a first draft has to do is exist as words on the page, and if I go back and read and edit what I’ve written, I get very self conscious about how bad my writing is and how far I have to go. It stunts my ability to draft.

What are some of your favorite books at the moment?

Oh gosh. I’ve been obsessed with The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery for a year, which is a nonfiction book that made me fall in love with octopuses. Turns out, they are basically the most amazing creatures on the planet. I am also aggressively enamored with Landline by Rainbow Rowell, which I read in one fell swoop on a plane and cried my eyes out over.

How do you spend your free time? Any hobbies?

Many! I love to bake, play the piano and the ukulele, draw and handletter, travel, see theater, watch Star Wars, and drink Diet Coke.

Favorite genre to read?

Historical–I am aggressively predictable.

Favorite foods?

Vanilla soft serve ice cream.

Favorite travel destinations?

I sort of designed Monty, Percy, and Felicity’s itinerary in the book around my favorite places I’ve traveled. Venice and Barcelona are my two favorite cities in the world, though I just went to Amsterdam as research for another book and fell pretty hard.

Thanks so much Mackenzi for answering my questions! Continue reading

Book Review: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

NotYourSidekickNot Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Published by Duet Books on September 8, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Superheroes

Pages: 283 Format: Paperback Source: Library

3.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.


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Highly Anticipated Titles ~ July 2017

Highly Anticipated Titles is a monthly feature showcasing some of the book releases I’m most excited for each month. Thankfully July isn’t too heavy on the releases but I’ve got five solid titles I’m super excited to read. One of which I’ve been waiting for since graduating college. Check them out below!


perf5.500x8.500.inddThe Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova

Published by Keymaster Press

Expected on July 11, 2017

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy

Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.

Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.


libraryoffatesThe Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Published by Razorbill

Expected on July 18, 2017

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?


EndsoftheWorldThe Ends of the World by Maggie Hall

Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Expected on July 18, 2017

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery

The Circle is hers.

But Avery West has lost everything else: her mother, the family she’d just found, and the one boy she trusted. In their place are unfathomable power, a staged relationship that makes her question every real feeling she’s ever had, and a mission to find the cure to the virus that’s made her own blood a weapon.

Then disaster strikes, turning Avery, Stellan, Jack, and Elodie into the most wanted people in the world. To clear their names and the growing rift between the families of the Circle before the world dissolves into World War Three, they’ll have to make a desperate, dangerous final race for Alexander the Great’s tomb. What they will find inside will mean the world’s salvation—or destruction.

Avery will have to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice—for the world, for family, and for love—in this thrilling conclusion to the Conspiracy of Us series.


DaughteroftheBurningCityDaughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Published by Harlequin Teen

Expected on July 25, 2017

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, LGBTQIA+

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.


ThePaintedQueenThe Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters & Joan Hess

Published by HarperLuxe

Expected on July 25, 2017

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Historical

Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’ bestselling, beloved mystery series.

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—”Murder”—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: “Judas.” Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson—Where were you?”—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.


Are any of these releases on your radar? Excited for other titles coming out in July?

Let me know in the comments below!

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite “Unlikeable” Protagonists

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey (Gingerreadslainey on Youtube) as a way for book reviewers and lovers to share their love of lists every Wednesday. Check out the Goodreads group.

  1. Kaz Brekker
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. Kelsea Raleigh
  4. Koschei
  5. Bellamy Blake

This week’s Top 5 is all about those unlikable protagonists you cannot help but love. First up is of course Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. This criminal prodigy is pretty much awful but he totally has my heart. Next is Britain’s notorious sociopath, Sherlock Holmes (especially the Benedict Cumberbatch version), who I really shouldn’t care for but totally do. Kelsea Raleigh from The Queen of the Tearling makes this list as she’s hard to relate too but I still enjoy her story. Koschei definitely makes an appearance and everyone should read Catherynne Valente’s Deathless to experience him. Last but not least is Bellamy Blake whose up and down character arc has still endeared him to the masses.

Who are your favorite unlikable protagonists? Did any of ours match up?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

Summer Stacks ~ Seasonal TBR

Summer officially starts tomorrow and I’ve got a very long list of books I want to get to in the upcoming months. Thankfully I’ve got a vacation starting soon and some time to relax and read, read, read! Check out my summer stacks below!

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First up are all the library books I’ve checked out recently. Working there makes it hard to pass things up on the shelves so I’ve got a nice little pile to get into. Hopefully I can knock these out and give my library card a rest.

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Now this stack are my priority purchased TBR. There’s just so many releases this year that I haven’t been able to keep up with them all. Plus I’ve got plenty of other titles I’ve purchased that are sitting sadly on the shelf waiting for me. The real quandary is how many of these books should I bring on vacation.

Any recommendations on what to pick up first?

Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

WhenDimpleMetRishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Published by Simon Pulse on May 30, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 380 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


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