ARC Review: King of Fools by Amanda Foody

KingofFoolsKing of Fools by Amanda Foody

Published by Inkyard Press on April 30, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 602 Format: eARC Source: NG

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Amanda Foody is back with the second book in The Shadow Game series and she’s ready to wreck you. King of Fools is a heavy hitting maze of politics, gangs, and lots of betrayal that will leave the reader bereft and yet clamoring for more. No one is safe and that means every single crafty character that the author has created is in some serious peril. *Cue heavy sobbing and wailing in the street.*

Enne takes on the mantle of Seance and starts her own street gang seeking wealth and vengeance. She’s learning to handle herself in the North Side while also holding onto the soft things she enjoys. Levi’s determination and ambition is on full display as he puts the people he cares about in the crossfire but he’s self aware enough to rue every poor choice and worry himself to sickness. And Jac, the best boy now with his own POV, is still a great friend while taking his own stand.

This book delves deeper into the streets of New Reynes exploring more of the underbelly of the city and the prominent players in society. From brutal casino owners to the rampant drug trade as well as upcoming elections and the lengths people will go to for power, the author truly weaves a wicked web of traps and tricks that ultimately keeps the reader guessing and turning pages at a rapid pace.

Overall Amanda Foody’s King of Fools was the best kind of gut punch there is even though I’m still emotionally compromised. The characters’ growth is tremendous especially where Levi, Enne, and Jac are concerned and I fell even more in love with all of them. With a riveting plot and a whole bunch of politics, this book takes the series to the next level and I totally recommend taking part in The Shadow Game.

Are you excited for King of Fools?

Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

LoveFromAtoZLove from A to Z by S.K. Ali

Published by Salaam Reads on April 30, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 352 Format: eARC Source: NG

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. 

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are. 

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. 

Then her path crosses with Adam’s. 

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. 

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. 

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. 

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting. 

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

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Mini Reviews: The Everlasting Rose & Queen’s Shadow

Today I’ve got my short thoughts on two March 5th releases. Check them out below!

TheEverlastingRoseThe Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Published by Freeform on March 5, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 344 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

3.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.

Picking up nearly right after the end of the first book, Camille faces hard choice after hard choice as she tries to stop Sophia. The magic and setting of this story still captured my imagination and even expanded its beauty and intricacy in this one. Camille’s journey is compelling and Clayton’s writing soars when it comes to descriptions. With that being said I did find the drastically different pacing off putting and it strained the emotional connection between characters as well as the reader. If you’ve read The Belles though, I definitely recommend picking up this conclusion.

QueensShadowQueen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston

Published by Disney Lucasfilm Press on March 5, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera

Pages: 345 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

The end of her reign is just the beginning…

When Padmé Amidala steps down from her position as Queen of Naboo, she is ready to set aside her title and return to life outside of the spotlight. But to her surprise, the new queen asks Padmé to continue serving their people – this time in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about the new role but cannot turn down the request, especially since, thanks to her dearest friend – and decoy – Sabé, she can be in two places at once. So while Padmé plunges into politics, Sabé sets off on a mission dear to Padmé’s heart.

On the glistening capital planet Coruscant, Padmé’s new Senate colleagues regard her with curiosity – and with suspicion for her role in ousting the previous chancellor. Posing as a merchant on Tatooine, Sabé has fewer resources than she thought and fewer options than she needs. 

Together with Padmé’s loyal handmaidens, Padmé and Sabé must navigate treacherous politics, adapt to constantly changing landscapes, and forge a new identity beyond the queen’s shadow.

Finally a book to rep Padmé! Exploring her transition from queen to senator, Johnston tackles the nuances of Padmé and her loyal handmaidens, giving insight into everything from her vocal choices to how she allied herself in the Galactic Senate. I was also fascinated by Sabé’s story line and the deep devotion each one of the handmaidens had for each other. While this is very light on the action and only gives us a few new plot threads to follow, I was totally invested in this book. Obviously a must read for Star Wars fans!

Have you read either of these two books? Interested?

Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

There'sSomethingAboutSweetieThere’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Published by Simon Pulse on May 14, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 384 Format: eARC Source: NG

5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

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Mini Reviews: On the Come Up & Two Can Keep a Secret

Today I’ve got two reviews for titles the high school book club I co-run is reading. Check out my thoughts below!

TwoCanKeepaSecretTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Published by Delacorte Press on January 8, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller

Pages: 336 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

This is my first Karen McManus and I’ve got to say I’m a little impressed. It’s got everything a good mystery/thriller should have with a carefully plotted mystery, suspenseful situations, and suspicious people. The compelling characters and the dynamics between them take this book to the next level though and I didn’t want to put it down. The ending too was super satisfying and yet super chilling at the same time. I totally recommend this for mystery/thriller fans!

onthecomeupOn the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Published by Balzer + Bray on February 5, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

Pages: 447 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

Angie Thomas does it again with another incredibly compelling and powerful book set in Garden Heights. She pours so much into these novels and seeing her tackle stereotypes and poverty while also sharing her love for rapping was pretty phenomenal. Bri was such a great character; passionate with a sharp mind as well as her super geek cred. The character dynamics stand out with both friendships and family fleshed out and on full display. Honestly her writing is just out of this world and everyone needs to read these books.

Have you read either of these books? Read the authors’ previous works?

Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

thedevouringgrayThe Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 2, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 368 Format: ARC Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

This ARC was received by my library department for marketing purposes. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

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Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

ACurseSoDarkandLonelyA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Published by Bloomsbury YA on January 29, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Retelling

Pages: 496 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Book Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

WhatifitsUsWhat If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Published by HarperTeen on October 9, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 437 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

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ARC Review: The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

ThePrincessandtheFangirlThe Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Published by Quirk Books on April 2, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 320 Format: eARC Source: NG

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

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ARC Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

WickedSaintsWicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Published by Wednesday Books on April 2, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 400 Format: eARC Source: NG

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

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